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How does the role of a Product Owner relate to the role of a Software Product Manager?

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Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V.


In the Scrum Guide, the Product Owner (PO) is defined as being accountable for maximizing the value of the product they are responsible for. Thus, a Product Owner shares many responsibilities with a Software Product Manager (SPM), who is defined as a role governing the creation of the highest possible value to the business from the product. Despite the vast popularity of Scrum and other software development methods based on it, the role of a Product Owner has not received much academic research yet. This study contributes to the literature by assessing the similarities and differences between Product Owners and Software Product Managers using exploratory semi-structured interviews with 16 Agile software professionals. The study shows that the concept of product value is not always evident to Product Owners responsible for maximizing it. In addition, we identify five Product Owner Scenarios. Depending on the Product Owner Scenario, Product Owners’ responsibilities overlap to a varying degree with Software Product Manager’s responsibilities defined in the ISPMA SPM framework. Overall, further work is required to clarify the role and responsibilities of a Product Owner in various types of real-life organisations.


Toikkanen, Timo; Hyrynsalmi, Sami; Paasivaara, Maria (2023): How does the role of a Product Owner relate to the role of a Software Product Manager?. 1st International Conference on Software Product Management 2023. DOI: 10.18420/icspm2023-007. Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V.. ISSN: 1617-5468. ISBN: 978-3-88579-728-9