Dealing with companies that have no product roles at all

My friend in Europe working in highly technical fields: automation, drones, agtech, chemtech, sensors etc. He regularly get calls from headhunter if he would like to join a company as project manager or senior technical project manager and on asking if they have a Product or strategic role, the answer is: We have some PO for the software else project manager for delivery and sales/business dev teams on the strategy business side.

What am I missing? He wants to be a product manager for software or hardware in those companies but it seems the role is « too new »? Any idea how to approach it while he seem to limit my option wanting to stay in product.


The differences between PO/PM aren’t always that clear, at my current company PO is actually a more senior role with broader responsibilities.

In my old position, PO/PM were almost indistinguishable and they ended up doing pretty much the same things. I’d consider the PO role more closely, at the very least it’ll be a nice place to transition from.


You are looking at traditionally large technology companies which deals with both hardware and software. These companies are predominantly engineering centric and lack the product mindset. However with the onset of software revolution they do realize that they need to digitize their offerings and move into something like Iot software. Best shot would to take a PO role within the software arm of such companies. But mind you, such companies implement agile by the book and you may not be having all the responsibilities of a PM. PO by definition is a scrum role. Transformation of such heavy engineering centric companies to a product centric company will still take some time. Or it may not happen completely at all because their unique selling proposition is the cutting edge technology they innovate. A compelling bath breaking technology does not need to be tranformed into a sexy product to sell. It will anways sell if the proposition is too strong

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Yes, but while looking at those profiles these are university grads and they report into the Technical Project Manager. Thats why abit hesitant…

You have a good point. Clearly arriculated thanks.

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