November 30


Leadership hack – the role of Product Owner

In my previous leadership post, I discussed the role of the Chief Product Officer.

In this post, I want to focus on product leadership at the team level.  There is much discussion over the what a product owner or product manager does, and if there are differences between the two.    While there are many perspectives and frameworks, I have found the book Product Leadership best articulates how I think about people who lead products and product teams.

Product leaders are different from normal business managers, in that they are responsible for co-creating key Agile artefacts with their team and the wider business.  For example:

  • Principles – what values guide the product or the team, e.g., “keep customer inertia”
  • Product vision – what to the team will build e.g., “1000 songs in my pocket”
  • Product strategy – how the product will fulfil the vision, for example,  key features/actions e.g., import, store, easily access and play music
  • Product roadmap – what order these main features will be delivered (based on value, usability and feasibility)


While this is not a universal answer it has helped me as it shows what product leaders do.   I now use the term ‘Product Leader’, and have furthered Martin’s thinking which what B ‘Product Leaders’ should be good at:

  1. Make great decisions 
  2. Get things done
  3. Are great leaders


I have curated a list of books, articles and website that have really helped me.   I hope they help you too.


Useful book reviews for product owners:

Useful links for product owners: