Product Manager vs Product Owner based on INSPIRED.

INSIPRED by Marty Cagan is one of the books about which I think as an about very good printed blog. It is filled with ideas and introductions to workshops. Every single topic is explained in a nutshell. Marty Cagan spent only a couple of pages on such wide topics as Story Mapping, OKR technique or any product discovery technique. This book not for no reason is named INSPIRED and not EXPLAINED.

Put the product team upfront.

The author very strongly points out that strong product teams can actually deliver more and better quality products. We can read the most important principles of Strong Product Teams.

First of all, such a team should be the correct size and should be composed of correct people, who cooperate willingly. They ideally are colocated. Moreover, such a team should be empowered, accountable and autonomous.

Don’t mistake a product manager with a product owner.

We find out to clearly distinguish the product manager with the product owner role. The product owner is defined as a backlog administrator when the product manager is a role with wider responsibilities. However, it is said very strongly, that:

“In product companies, it is critical that the product manager also be the product owner.”

Marty Cagan – INSPIRED

Still, the product manager needs a wider spectrum of information and do a lot more than what is defined for instance in The Scrum Guide. Clearly, because the role of a product owner is a part of being a successful product manager it requires more skill.

Skills most importantly needed for a product manager are:

  1. Computer programming knowledge. It doesn’t matter if it comes from a developer background or from finishing course. The clue is that such knowledge will dramatically expand one’s horizons.
  2. Basic knowledge about accounting and finances. Obviously – the good product manager needs to know both – the language of the developers and the language of the business.

Beyond distinguishing PO with PM, we also get a brief introduction to differences between CIO, CTO, COO, Head of Product and much more.

Share thoughts.

Try very hard to put ideas into someone’s else head. The book briefly covers all topics from defining a vision through product evangelism to confronting a product with clients. Also, it is not said directly but I believe that introducing 6 successful people from IT industry Marty Cagan wanted us to be inspired by them.

Personally, I highly recommend reading this book for anyone that is anyhow involved in product development.

1 thought on “Product Manager vs Product Owner based on INSPIRED.

  1. Jovana Reply

    Great article, short and to the point. In our startup one person performs both role of a product manager and a product owner, but it will be interesting to see how this setup will perform once the company starts scaling. I’ve been researching this topic for some time now working on a product management framework with my team maybe you’ll find some interesting points there as well.

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