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2019-01-23 07:45 -0800
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The work of product management

From Escaping the Build Trap by Melissa Perri:

Product managers ultimately play a few key roles, but one of the most important ones is being able to marry the business goals with the customer goals to achieve value. Good product managers are able to figure out how to achieve goals for the business by creating or optimizing products, all with a view toward solving actual customer problems. This is a very important skill set.

When you look at the role of the product owner in most Scrum literature, the three responsibilities of the position include the following:

  • Define the product backlog and create actionable user stories for the development teams.
  • Groom and prioritize the work in the backlog.
  • Accept the completed user stories to make sure the work fulfills the criteria.

These are the functions that are focused on and taught in the shorter product owner trainings, usually over a day or two. Although Scrum has a lot of information on the processes and rituals of what to do as a product owner, it leaves lots of questions unanswered and these questions are important for creating successful products:

  • How do we determine value?
  • How do we measure the success of our products in the market?
  • How do we make sure we are building the right thing?
  • How do we price and package our product?
  • How do we bring our product to market?
  • What makes sense to build versus buy?
  • How can we integrate with third-party software to enter new markets?

Product ownership is just a piece of product management. A good product manager is taught how to prioritize work against clear, outcome-oriented goals, to define and discover real customer and business value, and to determine what processes are needed to reduce the uncertainty about the product’s success in the market.