Differences between a Product Manager vs. Product Development Manager

Recently, I was given a job offer for a Product Manager position, but after further discussion with the hiring manager, I learned that the position is actually known internally as a PDM. The task will be more concerned with delivering the best solution for an existing effort rather than defining a problem that needs to be solved. I’ve been informed that I’ll be working on the deployment of MFA for users and that it will be my responsibility to direct engineering and UX in a way that optimises the user experience.

How do a Product Development Manager and a Product Manager differ from one another, I wonder? It would be beneficial to list both advantages and disadvantages.

Thanks in advance


Both of these roles have been performed by me.

Actually, I became a PM as a result of my PDM position.

A PDM is an older, pre-agile title that is comparable to a Product Owner.

You are in charge of a product’s development and modifications. You collaborate with a product manager who establishes the strategy, obtains money, creates the forecast, and does other tasks. You carry out the idea, develop it, and provide it to them to manage the P&L.

As a PDM, I collaborated with numerous PMs and served as their delegate on a number of concurrent product development initiatives. To complete them, the BA and I collaborated with the project manager or program manager.

This allows the PM to concentrate on strategy and P&L while ensuring that the development team receives prompt feedback and comments from a senior product resource who is assigned to the project.

It’s a terrific role, I learned a ton from it, and moving on to a full product manager role following this was VERY simple. I held a BA before this.


@MatthewShun, Would you say that your comment applies in the exact same way if the role PDM is “Product Delivery Manager”?

Thanks a lot!

(Asking because I’m a Program Manager wanting to move to Product Management, and in the current climate it’s quite difficult, however I may have a Product Delivery Manager interview coming up soon)


@cathryncui, In some cases, the titles are interchangeable, but it’s really down to the responsibilities and KPIs.


The roles of a Product Development Manager and a Product Manager can vary depending on the organization and industry. However, here are some general differences between the two roles:

Product Development Manager:

  1. Focus: A Product Development Manager primarily focuses on the development and execution of new products or services within an organization.
  2. Lifecycle management: They oversee the entire product development lifecycle, from idea generation and concept development to product launch and post-launch activities.
  3. Cross-functional coordination: They collaborate with various departments such as engineering, design, marketing, and manufacturing to ensure smooth execution of the product development process.
  4. Technical expertise: Product Development Managers often possess a strong technical background and are involved in the technical aspects of product design, prototyping, and testing.
  5. Project management: They are responsible for managing the project timelines, resources, and budgets associated with product development initiatives.

Product Manager:

  1. Market and customer focus: A Product Manager primarily focuses on understanding market needs and customer requirements to develop products that meet those needs.
  2. Strategy and vision: They define the product strategy, roadmap, and vision, aligning it with the company’s overall goals and objectives.
  3. Market research: Product Managers conduct market research, competitive analysis, and gather customer feedback to identify product opportunities and make data-driven decisions.
  4. Stakeholder management: They collaborate with various stakeholders, including sales, marketing, engineering, and customer support teams, to ensure successful product development, launch, and ongoing support.
  5. Product lifecycle management: Product Managers are involved in the entire product lifecycle, from ideation to end-of-life, including product enhancements, feature prioritization, and product retirement decisions.
  6. Go-to-market strategy: They work closely with marketing and sales teams to develop effective go-to-market strategies, positioning, pricing, and promotion plans for the product.

It’s worth noting that in some organizations, the terms “Product Development Manager” and “Product Manager” may be used interchangeably or have overlapping responsibilities. The specific job titles and responsibilities can vary, so it’s important to refer to the job descriptions and requirements provided by each organization to understand the nuances of each role.


You are correct. In some contexts, the term “Product Development Manager” (PDM) can indeed refer to a role that is similar to a Product Owner in Agile methodologies. This usage is more prevalent in organizations that have adopted Agile frameworks such as Scrum.

In Agile development, the Product Owner is responsible for representing the interests of the stakeholders, prioritizing product backlog items, and ensuring the team builds the right product that delivers value to customers. They work closely with the development team, providing them with clear and prioritized requirements, and make decisions on behalf of the stakeholders.

Similarly, a Product Development Manager in this context may have similar responsibilities to a Product Owner. They may be responsible for managing the product backlog, defining and prioritizing user stories, and working closely with the development team to ensure successful product development.

The specific terminology and roles can vary across organizations, so it’s important to consider the context in which these titles are used. Agile methodologies have introduced new roles and responsibilities, and in some cases, older titles like Product Development Manager have been adapted or aligned with these Agile practices.


Is it correct to say that the PDM (delivery manager) first accepts the product manager’s vision, oversees forecasts, prepares cases, and negotiates the final scope or MVP-like deliverables given constraints?

Do you think it’s correct to say that the PDM (delivery manager) starts with the product manager’s vision, develops cases, handles forecasting, and negotiates the final scope or MVP-like deliverables given the constraints?
delivery obligations.

In a nutshell, what power should a programme manager with the title have when working on a product team with a product manager regarding product deliverables and/or user insight? I’m unsure of what I have power over and how much I should be familiar with the product outside of the dev team’s good case acceptance criteria and context definition. Thanks


@RohitKumar, The product manager owns the business case, associated forecast, desired vision vs market need, etc.

The product development manager executes on it, builds it, launches it, and hands it back, until asked to enhance it again.


The role of a Program Manager (not to be confused with Product Development Manager or Product Manager) in a product team can vary depending on the organization and the specific project. However, in general, a Program Manager is responsible for overseeing the successful delivery of multiple projects or initiatives within a program.

Regarding the authority and responsibilities of a Program Manager working in a product team alongside a Product Manager, it’s important to clarify the specific dynamics and expectations set within your organization. However, here are some general considerations:

  • Alignment with the Product Manager’s vision: As a Program Manager, you should collaborate closely with the Product Manager to understand their vision and the strategic goals of the product. Your role is to ensure that the projects and initiatives within the program are aligned with the overall product strategy.

  • Case creation and scope management: Depending on the organization, it is possible that as a Program Manager, you may be involved in creating business cases or defining project scopes. This would typically be done in close collaboration with the Product Manager and other stakeholders. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the customer and user needs, as well as any constraints or limitations.

  • Forecasting and resource management: As a Program Manager, you may be responsible for forecasting and managing resources across multiple projects within the program. This includes considering the availability and allocation of team members, budgeting, and scheduling.

  • Negotiating deliverables and trade-offs: Given constraints such as time, resources, and budget, a Program Manager may be involved in negotiating with stakeholders, including the Product Manager, to determine the final scope or minimum viable product (MVP) for a project or initiative. This is typically done to ensure that the program goals can be achieved within the given constraints.

  • Authority and knowledge: The level of authority and product knowledge required for a Program Manager can vary. While having a good understanding of the product, its users, and the market can be beneficial, it may not be the primary focus of your role. Program Managers often have a broader view and are responsible for managing the overall program, including coordinating and aligning multiple projects and stakeholders.

To clarify your specific authority and responsibilities, it would be best to consult with your organization’s management, the Product Manager, and any other relevant stakeholders. They can provide you with clear guidance on the expectations and boundaries of your role within the product team.


Differs from org to org but I generally see a lot more “Product Development Managers” working on hardware and “product managers” working on software. That’s not to say it’s always the case, but if I hear “Product Development Manager,” I assume they’re working on something hardware related.


@Nathanendicott, Thats interesting. In the hardware space from my experience, product managers are more PMMs.


Greetings on the offer! What is your background? According to initial feedback, product management is more creative since it identifies a consumer painpoint to address, as opposed to what is being offered, which is more implementation-based and the problem appears to have already been scoped out.


@DanCoelho, Thank you!. My background is being a PM in the semiconductor space. I’m making the switch because the space is driven by specifications and customer requirements vs that creative problem solving that software PMs have.

Would you say that creative user pain point identification can exist in lower levels in an org? I was under the impression that would only exist in higher leveling. This role I was told was leveled at P3. Can that creative problem solving still exist within the implementation role?


Product development manager likely is working with engineering on solution and requirements. This role will not be involved in pricing, go to market, product strategy, business case etc.

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Yes, you’re correct. In many organizations, the role of a Product Development Manager is typically more focused on the technical aspects of product development and may not be involved in pricing, go-to-market strategy, product strategy, or business case development. The primary responsibilities of a Product Development Manager usually revolve around working closely with the engineering team to define and implement the technical requirements of the product.

Their involvement may include activities such as:

Translating product requirements: The Product Development Manager works with the Product Manager or other stakeholders to understand the product requirements and translate them into technical specifications that the engineering team can work with.

Collaborating with engineering: They closely collaborate with the engineering team to ensure the product is developed according to the defined requirements and technical specifications. This includes overseeing the development process, coordinating resources, and managing project timelines.

Technical expertise: A Product Development Manager typically possesses a strong technical background and is responsible for evaluating the feasibility and viability of different technical solutions. They work closely with the engineering team to ensure the product is technically sound and meets quality standards.

Testing and quality assurance: They may oversee or participate in the testing and quality assurance processes to ensure the product meets the desired functionality and performance standards.

While the Product Development Manager may not be directly involved in pricing, go-to-market strategy, or business case development, they often work in collaboration with other roles, such as Product Managers, Marketing Managers, or Business Development Managers, who are responsible for these areas. The Product Development Manager’s focus is primarily on the technical implementation and execution of the product.

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