What activities have you seen Product Owners do?

Question here - in an organization that has both Product Managers and Product Owners, what activities have you seen POs do, other than managing the backlog, participating in all scrum activities, and reporting on sprint results?

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Couple of good articles:

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I think the easy answer is don’t work for those companies - this is an obvious anti-pattern. No strong product company works this way.

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@JesusRojas, Tell me more please.

@AhmadBashir, I get the general responsibilities division, it’s just that it looks like not much work for a PO, especially if working with only one team.
Wondering if you’ve seen an extension of these capabilities in companies that have both roles.

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Haha, lots to unpack, TLDR is that product role shouldn’t be split, it requires both strategic and tactical decisions every day.
But in short - if you look a the product career ladder at any company that we would consider good or strong at product, none of them have a role called product owner.

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@JesusRojas, As someone who has been both, I disagree. It is difficult to be both roles and still maintain a 40-hourish-work week and sanity. It’s especially difficult to be both roles and have the bandwidth to support your team AND stakeholders AND customers.
PM has a longer, strategic roadmap outlook, whereas PO is working with on the immediate needs. PO’s still own the responsibility of discovery and should be working with customers to execute on the roadmap built by the PM.

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“execute on a roadmap built by someone else”… also an anti-pattern :wink:
Personal experience aside, I’m just saying that if you look at strong product companies, they never use the split model PO/PM.

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if a PO is simply writing stories (i.e. writing what the PM tells them to without actually talking to customers and collaborating with a dev/UX team to find appropriate solution), participating in agile, and reporting up, that’s not a PO. That’s a tech writer.

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So as a product person, if you want to get better at your job, you are unlikely to do so at those companies.

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It’s hard to articulate an entire dissertation on this via slack, but obviously it’s not black and white like you try to say here. it’s more of a venn diagram.

i appreciate your viewpoint, but i still disagree. i have been at both types of companies and i have found that the PM/PO model is significantly more efficient and productive.

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@Samantha, yeah at the surface level the PO’s work looks light but deep in the tactical is all of the hard work it takes to bring a feature to the market… working with research, design, engineering, QA, writing Jira tickets…

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A PO and PM should be close partners. They share some responsibilities but there is a continuum that cannot be completed by an entire person. If you have a single person doing both jobs, you risk not dedicating enough time to the beginning and end of that product discovery/development process.

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At the end of the day in the simplest terms someone has to be strategic and long term focused and someone has to be boots on the ground tactically focused. This typically is denoted by level of seniority…Director of product may be more focused on strategy, PMF, etc. while the product manger may be focused on getting the work that ladders up to the strategy done. There is overlap as @Nathan mentioned and everyone should always have the best intentions to ship quality product that solves customer and business needs. If you try to do it all you get into a world where something has to give in terms of quality.

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@Ahmad, Agree, it can be called different things at diff companies. But the responsibilities should be divided in some sense so you’re not overwhelming a single person and not dedicating enough time to your customers.

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Great discussion. Thx everyone! @AhmadBashir, @JesusRojas & @NathanEndicott