Project Manager vs Product Owner

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Feb 02, 2022

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Do you often ponder on project manager vs product owner and want to increase your knowledge and know what role is best suited for you? Well, if you are in this dilemma, then a good thing that you have landed on this page. Before making the decision for these roles, you need to know these roles individually and then make the comparison in them. So to help you out in this, we are going to explain all about the PM & PO in this article and this will help you work better in the project in any organization. First, we will focus on understanding the varied roles and work duties of both the PO as well as the PM, and then we will discuss the areas where these two differ. This will be very helpful for your pmp training.

Project Manager in the Team

In a sense, this term is very broad. A project manager is a leader who not only ensures that the project is delivered on time while maintaining the budget of cost and resources but also helps and motivates the people in the team. They are very crucial for the success of the projects. The role of a project manager is there from the start of the project to the ending line. There are straightforward plans and strategies which are defined for the project along with goal setting and delivery timeline for the project. There are various tasks and work in the project that fall on the shoulders of the project manager. They are responsible for various things in the project and some of these are mentioned below:

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Planning and organizing

One of the major tasks of the PM in the project  is to organize things in the project and come up with the perfect plan on how the goals can be delivered.  There are various aspects that are needed to be taken into account like the blueprint of the plan, the communication style, the cost and resource management, and following up as well as the maintenance in the project.


The main role of the project manager is to have the best management in the team. This will include cost and time management along with taking care of the right resource allocation within the team. They are responsible for making sure that the project is right on track. Not only this but risk management is also needed to be included and should be taken care of. Being on the schedule is very important and the role of a project manager is to find the bottlenecks and have the strategies to overcome them to avoid the delay in the delivery.

Quality management

Also, the project manager is responsible for delivering a good quality product and maintaining that throughout the project life cycle. Finding the best resources and distributing them as per the requirement is very much necessary. With time management and good resource allocation, the quality of the product can be maintained.

Reports and Documents

There are various reports and documents that have information related to the project and teams. They are maintained by the project manager and can be used whenever needed in the future. These could be the scope planning, the cost and budget, and other documents which can be referenced when needed in the project. In pmp training online, you can go through these responsibilities.

Product Owner in the team

Indeed this role is new and this is more prominent in use for software development mainly in agile projects. There are more jobs that are getting created as more and more companies are adopting the agile framework. The product owner is the leader who is responsible for increasing the product quality that is being developed by the software development team.  There are various roles and duties that come under them and those are mentioned below:

Managing the product backlog

This is indeed one of the most important roles of the scrum product owner. The product owner is responsible for clearing the product backlog which is basically the work items for the development team in the project. The list of do-to items is continuously updated and this is maintained by the product owner and it is made sure that the outcomes are coming out of this. The tasks are being prioritized for the development team to work on.

Vision teller

The product owner acts as the middle part between the stakeholders and the team working on the product. There are various scopes and visions for the product and this is being understood by the product owner and then with the help of the development team in the project, the final product is being delivered. They set up the goal and the product quality expectation for the team and then work with the team to achieve that vision and keep them motivated as well.

Works with client’s need

Along with working with the team to work on the product in the project, the product owner also takes care of the client’s needs and expectations. They have the knowledge of the market and with their communication skills; they anticipate what the client needs and how the team can make sure of delivering that on time. They understand their demands and make sure that the team is also on the same page.

Regularly evaluating the progress

As the project is following the agile and scrum framework, there will be iterations and it is the role of the product owner to evaluate each of the iterations and make sure that the development process is being carried out efficiently. The product owner will make sure that the team is right on track. He also makes decisions related to the performance of the team and if other resources are needed or not. Overall, he maintains the process and makes sure that things are done in an efficient way.

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Difference Between the Project Manager and Product Owner

Well, now you know the role of project manager and product owner; it will be easier for you to find the difference between product owner and project manager. As both the roles are very crucial for the project and they are involved in important decision-making in the team, there are various differences between these roles. We are going to mention some of them below for you.

Decision Making

Both roles are needed for decision-making. But the PO is responsible for making the decision related to the product on which they are working. This is based on the communications, feedback from the clients, and the development as well as the stakeholders. Whereas the project manager, who is not the owner of the product, has limited access to these kinds of decisions! They mostly rely on the analysis for the decision like reports and various analytics.

Product vision

The product owner who owns the products will help the team in understating the product vision and work with them to give the best quality product. But the project manager will act as the curator for that vision and will represent the customer and their needs to the team. This is one of the main differences between the product owner and the project manager.


Indeed communication is needed in the team, but the way the project manager and product owner use these tools can vary. The product owner who is working in the software development team has better access to the communication with the team and will meet with them from sprint to sprint. The feedback can be given using communication which will help in delivering the product in an efficient way. Communication and collaboration play a vital role for the product owner. On the other hand, the project manager does not rely on communication. Here things are straightforward and streamlined.  They can interact and get involved with the team as per their management style.

Mundane activities

If we talk about day to day activities of both the product owner and the project manager, the PO will be responsible for making sure that the product is of high value and there is a clear picture of the product backlog in the team. The project manager will make sure that the team is working towards the goals and vision set for the project. They will maintain the resources, tools, and costs for the project and make sure that the timely delivery of products is possible.


This article gives a very clear picture of the difference between project managers and product owner. If you want to know which one is better than the answer is- Both. They both have their sense of responsibility and role in the project. They are very strong pillars for a successful project and their presence will help the team to deliver the best work in the project. If you also wish to have a career in this and want to choose between these two roles, then you should weigh in your aspirations, your current role, and how you want to proceed in this.

You can come across the best training for cspo certification from Staragile, where you will not only gain theoretical knowledge about project management but also have practical knowledge from the best professionals working in the same field. Therefore, enroll is the best cspo certification course and give wings to your career and move ahead!

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