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Product Owner & Product Manager: Role & Responsibilities

~14 minutes read

Table Of Contents

In an Agile organization, the Product Owner is responsible for prioritizing and overseeing the work of the Development Team to ensure the organization is getting as much value as possible from the team's Agile work. The product owner can be seen as an agile project management leader in product development. Once they receive the high-level goals and plans from product management, the product owners translate this strategy into stories and other individual tasks for the product backlog. Thus, Product Owners act as a bridge between the strategic and tactical plans of the product.

What is a Product Owner or Product Manager (POPM) in the SAFe Framework?

While agile principles are a natural fit for smaller development teams, larger organizations sometimes struggle to implement these principles at scale. As a company's internal staff and project scale increases, it can become quite difficult to remain adaptable and flexible. This is where SAFe comes into play. It takes the guiding principles behind agility and translates them into the work of teams and organizations at the enterprise level.

SAFe POPM helps streamline the product development flow and ensures programs are executed to drive continued value creation. According to the Scaled Agile Framework, a product owner is part of the agile team responsible for explaining stories and prioritizing the backlog team to optimize program execution priorities. Additionally, a Product Owner will maintain the technical and conceptual integrity of any feature or component for the team.

A person taking on the role of Product Owner plays an important role in increasing the value of products and ensuring that the stories meet the needs of the users. This is a key role for any organization transitioning to agile. This person will support each member of the agile team. The Scaled Agile Framework also ensures that this role has important relationships outside of the local team, such as B. Business owners, customers, the product management team, and other stakeholders.


Why is it important to be a product owner?

Product ownership is important because it acts as the accountable force for the development team and the customer's interests during the development phase. The closer the end product is to customer specifications, the fewer corrections are needed to the product, which saves time and money most importantly. Product owners work closely with the customer and development team to meet everyone's needs and provide support.

In short, Product Ownership contributes to team integrity by assigning key roles in each project and creating project roadmaps for the team to follow. This gives each part of the team direction and improves the overall development process.

What are the responsibilities of the SAFe Product Owner (PO)?

The SAFe Product Owner's tasks are different areas of responsibility than the Scrum Product Owner. The Scaled Agile Framework has classified the responsibilities of Product Owners as follows:

  1. Preparation and participation in program extension planning: Product owners are members of extended product management teams in organizations. Therefore, they are heavily involved in backlog improvement and program increment (PI) planning preparation. Before the planning event, product owners ensure the team backlog is kept up to date. They also review and contribute to the program's vision, content presentations, and roadmap. During the event, Product Owners identify the stories and provide the necessary explanations to support the team in their story predictions. All Agile team members, including product owners, will work together to set team PI goals for an outstanding program boost.
  2. Running the iteration: When it's time to run the iteration, product owners have many responsibilities to handle. Some of them are:
    • Keep the team backlog updated
    • Planning iteration
    • Implementation of behavioral development
    • Story Acceptance
    • Understand enabler work
    • Attend the team retrospective and demo
  3. Program Execution: When it comes to program execution, the SAFe Product Owner role is instrumental in creating system demos for value stream and program engagement. During each program increment, the product owner must link the dependencies to other POs in the organization.
  4. Review and Adaptation: During the workshops, one of the SAFe Product Owner's responsibilities is to work across teams to explain improvement stories and put them into practice. Here the Product Owner plays a key role in producing the demonstration of the PI System for program stakeholders

Product Manager (PM) in the SAFe Framework

Safe Product Managers are key to the successful implementation of SAFe. You are responsible for setting product strategy, and understanding what customers want and what to prioritize. They also facilitate the cross-functional collaboration needed to keep everyone on track with one goal.

Coordinating the efforts of multiple agile teams is the foundation of SAFe product development. In addition, SAFe provides additional structure and reliability that help teams synchronize their planning around predictable release cycles. On top of that, SAFe offers specific guidelines for each level of an organization - from teams to programs to portfolios. There are organizations that provide the tools to commit to a strategy and ongoing work. A complete SAFe configuration includes four layers: Team, Program, Portfolio, and Value Stream. So product management works at the program level. By approaching these different levels of teams and collaboration, Agile organizations can plan and execute in a cross-functional and coordinated manner.

What are the tasks of the SAFe Product Manager (PM)?

SAFe Product Managers guide product strategies that are technically feasible and meet customer needs to achieve business goals. You will also identify market-driven solutions and lead a product team to deliver them. The roles and responsibilities of the Safe Product Manager include:

  • Definition of the product vision: Product managers research customer data, market trends, competitive analysis, product viability, and feasibility information, among other things. They use their research to create a product vision that delights their customers and delivers a high return on investment. Product managers also need to convince stakeholders to go along with the vision. It also takes on the task of listening to the team's feedback and ensuring that all team members understand the rationale behind the product vision and ensure alignment on that.
  • Understanding user needs and producing solutions: The best product managers are in constant dialogue with customers. They try to dig deeper to understand the user experience and unmet customer needs that could become the basis for new features or products in the future. When product managers understand user needs, they can better articulate and represent them to the team.
  • Strengthen product teams: Product managers are team leaders who strive to bring out the best in each product team. You take the necessary initiatives to keep the team's motivation at the highest level.
  • Product status monitoring: Product managers often lead product team meetings to understand how deployment is progressing and anticipate roadblocks. They communicate with organizational stakeholders about delivery updates and changes in the roadmap. They also perform time and resource analysis.

How to become a SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager POPM?

With the POPM certification, SAFe product owners/product managers gain the necessary expertise to jointly achieve the best possible result for both the customer and the business. The easiest way to get the SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager POPM certification is to complete the course at accredited institutes with proven success. With the necessary knowledge and equipment from this course, the Scaled Agile exam can be successfully completed and a big step towards a dream career can be taken.

With the course, participants learn what the role of the product owner and product manager looks like in everyday life. You will learn how to collaborate with teams and business stakeholders, write stories, design, prioritize, build, test, and deliver products with higher productivity and quality.

Success criteria for the SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager POPM exam

  • Time limit: 90 minutes
  • Number of questions: 45
  • Format: Multiple Choice (one or 2-3 answers)
  • New regulation for POPM 5.1: The number of answer options has been reduced. For questions with only one answer, it was reduced from four to three. For multiple-choice questions with multiple possible answers, the options have been reduced from five to four answers.

Product Owner in the Scrum Framework

Along with the Scrum Master, the Product Owner is one of the roles in the Scrum Team. It is the person who, during the development phase of a product, ensures that the product value is increased by a maximum. He is also responsible for the entire development team.

There may be differences between each Scrum team and individual as organizations determine how this is to be done. However, the Product Owner is responsible for managing the Product Backlog and does not share this responsibility with any other Scrum member.

In Scrum, the Product Owner is also responsible for the effective management of the Product Backlog, including:

  • Clearly articulates the items of the product backlog.
  • Drives agile transformation in companies
  • Prioritizes the items in the product worklist by business units according to business value.
  • Maximizes the quality that the development team brings out of the product backlog as they work.
  • Ensures that the Product Backlog is publicly accessible, ensures transparent management. Lists what will happen next and what Scrum teams should handle.
  • Allows the development team to understand as much as possible of the work that is in the product backlog.

The product owner can produce the items listed himself or commission the development team to do so. The responsibility always lies with the product owner. The product owner is a maximum of one person because more than one person cannot own the product. Also, the Product Owner can reflect the desires of a community, however, it is solely the Product Owner's responsibility to change the priority of items in the Product Backlog.

If the community wants to change the priority, they should contact the product owner. It is important that team members respect the product owner's decisions so that the product owner can maximize the product. Those who want to see the product owner's decisions and the priorities of the work list can see the content and order.

What is a Product Backlog?

The Product Backlog is a list of all the features, requirements, enhancements, and fixes that makeup changes to a product. The product owner is responsible for the content, availability, and organization of the product backlog. All work done by the development team must be in the product backlog.

A product can only have one product backlog at a time. The product backlog is constantly evolving. Product Backlog items have a definition, order, estimated size, and value. Product Backlog items are listed to best achieve goals and tasks.

Product Backlog items that rank higher are usually clearer and more detailed. More than one Scrum team can work on the same product. In this case, a single Product Backlog is used and the Product Backlog items can be grouped. During the improvement process, the product owner and the development team work together. The Scrum Team alone decides when and how improvements are made.

In Scrum, the relationship between the Product Owner to the Development Team is as follows:

  1. Is responsible for maximizing the value of the product proposed by the development team.
  2. Controls the development of the project and takes the end-user perspective.
  3. Ensures communication between the development team and the customer.
  4. For the Product Owner to be successful, the organization he works for must respect his decisions and offer autonomy.
  5. The product owner needs to know the product market and constantly collect new information about the market in order to increase the value of the product.
  6. The Product Owner is not only responsible for the development and introduction of the product, but also for the maintenance and operating costs of the product.

What is the development team?

The Development Team is a community of professionals responsible for maintaining the "Done" description of an item in the backlog at the end of the short term and representing a portion of it that is made available. Short-term feedback meetings at the end of the sprint require a piece of product that meets the definition of "Done". Only the Scrum Team members on the Development Team can develop the product in the Product Backlog. The characteristic skills that every developer should have are usually quite extensive and can vary depending on the work area.

However, the following responsibilities always remain with the developers:

➢ Sprint backlog, i. H. Creating a plan for the sprint
➢ Convey qualities by adhering to the “Definition of Done”
➢ Daily adjustment of their plans to the sprint goal
➢ Hold each other accountable as professionals.

How does one become a Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO I)?

The Professional Scrum Product Owner is the core foundation for Product Ownership. In order to become a PSPO, it is necessary to successfully complete the exam administered by and receive a Scrum Product Owner Certification. The easiest way to get this certificate is to attend a course offered by an accredited institute.

In such courses, participants learn how to apply the Scrum framework to maximize the value delivered with a product. Because being a professional product owner involves more than writing requirements or managing a product backlog. With this course, Product Owners will also gain a solid understanding of all aspects of product management who wish to create value from their products.


Success Criteria for the Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO I) Exam

The PSPO I exam consists of 80 multiple-choice questions. In order to be successful, 85% of 80 questions must be achieved, i.e. at least 68 correct answers. The exam time is only 60 minutes. If the internet connection is interrupted, the exam time will continue. Therefore, it is very important to take the exam in a place where you have an internet connection.

  • Time limit: 60 minutes
  • Number of questions: 80
  • Pass result: 85%
  • Format: multiple choice, multiple answers, true/false

Differences between Product Owner and Product Manager

A product manager defines the direction of the product through research, vision setting, alignment, and prioritization. While the product owner works more closely with the development team to execute it according to the goals that the product manager helps to define.

When a team doesn't adhere to a specific agile practice outlined in the Agile Manifesto, a product manager's job can be clouded. If the team is not implementing agile, the product manager can take on other roles.

Product Manager Product Owner

Manages the entire product lifecycle and product roadmap. He works with:

➢ Internal stakeholders: Engineering, Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, Legal, Leadership, and Board Members.

➢ External stakeholders: customers, end users, and partners.

Supports the development team in prioritizing the product backlog and creating user stories. He works with:

➢ Internal stakeholders: developers, designers, and technical managers.

Helps to define the product vision. Helps teams work towards a shared vision.
Outlines exactly what success should look like. Outlines the plan for success.
Works on a conceptual level Works on a conceptual level. Participates in daily activities.



In summary, both the product owner and the product manager play important roles in agile projects. The product owner is responsible for defining and prioritizing the requirements, while the product manager keeps an eye on the entire product life cycle.

If you are interested in learning more about the Product Owner and Product Manager roles, we recommend our Scaled Agile Framework page where we offer various SAFe courses including our SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager course. Here you will learn everything you need to know to become a successful product owner or product manager.

And if you're also interested in improving your knowledge and skills in other areas of the IT industry, check out our "Academy" page. There you will find a variety of training courses and certifications that can help you achieve your career goals. We are sure that you will find the right course with us!


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