Differences between Product Manager, Product Owner y Project Manager

The profile of the Product Manager is increasingly demanded by companies, in addition to the fact that the vast majority of these are looking for a profile that is highly oriented to the digital environment. As a Digital Business School, we have been observing that many of the students that have shown interest to the Master in Digital Product Management belong to professions with roles such as Project Managers or Product Owners who need to orient their profession towards the digital environment. So, in this post we are going to talk about what are these small differences between Product Manager, Product Owner and Project Manager and why the Digital Product Management profile is emerging more and more.

What is a Product Manager?

To understand the differences between Product Manager, Product Owner and Project Manager, we will first go to the profile that is being most requested due to the market need and yes, that is Product Manager. This position is known as «the CEO of the product», is the person in charge of focusing all the energy on it. Understand about Design Thinking and therefore, apply it to develop the entire strategic line of the product. It aims to get the maximum profitability to the product and align it with the company’s policy and marketing plan.

What is a Product Owner?

Unlike the Product Manager figure, which is started to arise around the 80s with the need to focus efforts on improving products that were not working, which of them needs to be differentiated from the competition or by the emerging software development market, The product owner arises from the implementation of the SCRUM methodology, at the end of the 90s. This profile is responsible for the representation of the brand before the implementation team. It is characterized by thinking tactically according to the market and customer needs. It represents the gear between user and brand and does it through the SCRUM methodology.

And now you wonder… but the Product Manager can also work with Agile methodologies (SCRUM) right? And you are right. Both profiles can overlap in their functions, so they depend on the need of each company and especially its size. If we talk about a small company or an initial Startup, the ideal is to have a Product Manager that is responsible for focusing efforts on the product while if we have a large company, multinational type, we can find different lines within different products, so a Product Owner will be responsible for intervening in large teams and with extensive work to lead those products and as we have said, to give voice to the user.

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What is a Project Manager?

The Project Manager is the person responsible for managing and coordinating the projects that exist in a company. Its skills depend on organization and coordination. They are usually the ones who make the decisions, coordinate the times in each phase of the process, control them and optimize both internal and external resources. You can also take care of the budget to optimize costs and ensure good development management. This profile has to have a good communication with all the teams and know how to simplify so that all the steps can be perfected in a concise and clear way.

Is the Digital Product Manager profile emerging from these 3?

Given the small differences between Product Manager, Project Manager and Product Owner. Its fair to wonder why the figure of the Digital Product Manager is emerging more and more?

While it is true that more and more companies concentrate their efforts on the product, making this the main focus to then plan all other scenarios (marketing, sales, R&D…). Given so much competition and constant technological development, the most successful companies today are those that have proven to have a product capable of being disruptive and breaking with existing markets. But … which products are we talking about? We talk about products such as Spotify, Glovo, Cabify… that is: digital products.
Given this need and the need for a profile that can boost a product, the position of Product Manager is reformulated towards that of Digital Product Manager. In addition, this can lead the functions of a Product Owner, as long as the company is initial or as we know “Startup”. These needed professionals with extensive skills and above all: with digital notions. Because as we know, the future is digital. So, if you are interested in knowing more about this profile, we invite you to take a look at the Bootcamp Master for your preparation in which in a few weeks you can become a Professional Digital Product Manager.

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