I started my product manager career in the Pharmaceutical Industry 20 years ago. It was all about product development, clinical trials, long lead times to market, developing modelling for regulatory approval, intense competition to bring new drugs to market, market research, vision and strategy and business forecasting. 

When I first moved into the IT industry 15 years ago, there wasn’t a product manager role and product management wasn’t well understood, it was all about projects. So, I became a project manager. I found projects were driven by plans focused on process compliance rather than value. When I started to hear about agile and this role called  Product Owner in Scrum, I was excited. 

The domain of Agile Product Management, looks at the holistic picture of what it takes from ideation to delivering value to customers. 

Using agile as a base for product management makes sense as the Product Owner’s accountability is all about value and ensuring that the people doing the work understand the business goals and product vision. The key is to bring stakeholders and developers together with a shared understand around purpose and value for customers. To be effective the Product Owner also needs to explore the wider product management area and needs to go beyond Scrum. 

Scrum covers initial development, evolving and sustaining a product however areas not covered by Scrum are also important. Portfolio, marketing, strategy, pricing and more are needed. A Product Owner therefore needs to have one foot in the door optimising the Product Backlog for the Scrum team and the other foot understanding the customer, market and vision. This is what makes it such an incredibly challenging and rewarding role.

For more info and to read the full article please check out my blog post – Product management – Why a product owner needs to go beyond Scrum

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