Once a product is mature and the product roadmap is filled up with valuable product iterations, it’s likely that the CPO will be keen to find out how some of the most valuable customer problems can be delivered sooner.

Having to balance customer problems, marketing, technology improvements, technical debt, regulatory, security, bugs and dev ops requirements with only one development team would make this extremely difficult, as there’s little room to work on all of these different types of work concurrently eg. customer problems concurrently with the more technical driven requirements.

To work on different sets of requirements concurrently, the product would need to scale which would involve adding additional product development teams to the product line. With more development teams working on the product would also require additional firepower from the technical architect and product manager role if delivery is to remain efficient and ROI positive.

An example of how you can scale the product manager role across multiple development teams who are working on the same product line:

Chief Product Officer (CPO)

  • Responsible for ensuring that the Product Managers are handling their product lines effectively
  • Handling the high level product strategy across all product lines

Senior Product Manager / Lead Product Manager of the Product Line

  • Market analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Customer analysis
  • Trends
  • Product line strategy
  • Product Vision
  • Product Roadmap
  • Backlog prioritisation
  • Epic / feature scoping
  • Backlog grooming
  • Sprint planning

Product Manager / Associate Product Manager working with the Development Team

  • Contributing to the product vision and roadmap
  • Customer analysis
  • Epic breakdown
  • Requirement workshops
  • User story definition
  • Detailed acceptance criteria
  • Backlog grooming
  • Sprint planning
  • Acceptance of user stories
  • Retrospectives
  • Daily stand-up

The Associate Product Manager could also be referred to as Feature Product Manager, Junior Product Manager, Product Executive or Business Analyst.

In order for the Senior/Lead Product Manager to be able to focus on the product vision, prioritisation of the product backlog and product strategy to ensure the product remains competitive, it’s important that when adding additional development teams to the product that they get additional product manager support to help them out with the more tactical day to day activities, as you can see from the split in tasks above – Product Line Managers handling more strategic tasks especially prioritisation in all instances and the Associate Product Manager handles more tactical tasks.

Spreading a product manager too thin with little support could result in a lack of focus on both product strategy and getting product backlog items delivered in an efficient way.

Comments
  1. There is a reason why it is called the Product Owner. The Product Owner is one person. In this case the Product Owner is the Chief Product Owner. I prefer calling everyone else in your chart as product managers instead. So the managers work for the owner. It doesn’t confuse people.

    Like

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