Product Organization Roles


These are the typical roles in the technology product companies:

  • Product Manager Vs Product Marketing: Product Manager helps to put the product on the shelf and Product Marketing helps to take the product off the shelf
  • Product Manager Vs Project Manager: Product Manager defines the ‘What’ of the products, and Project Manager defines the ‘how’ of the products
  • Product Marketing Manager Vs Marketing Manager: Product Marketing Manager listens and talks to the ‘market’ of the product, and Marketing Manager listens and talks to the ‘customers’ of the market
  • Product Manager Vs Program Manager: Product Manager defines the ‘strategy’ of the products through its life cycle and Program Manager defines the ‘execution’ of the product strategy
  • Product Manager Vs Engineering Manager: Product Manager manages the product as an individual contributor, and Engineering Manager manages the people and other resources
  • Product Manager Vs Business Analyst: Product Manager gathers requirements for the ‘market’ and helps to build the product, and Business Analyst gathers requirement of users or one company to build product for that company. Another difference is that Product Manager manages the requirements for a product company, and Business Analyst manages the requirements for a service company
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2 thoughts on “Product Organization Roles

  1. Thank you for this post. It amazes me how confused most organizations are about the differences between these roles (go read job listings for these roles if you don’t believe me). Even posts to this group often fall under roles other than that of product management, such as that of product marketing management (PMM); but that’s ok I guess, as there is often overlap between the two.

    My only contention with this list is the definition of Project Manager as being the role that defines the “how”. IMO “how” relates to implementation, thus is in the domain of engineering, i.e a chief architect, or even a Program Manager (as Microsoft uses the term). From what I’ve seen Project Management has more to do with resource allocation, project lifecycle, and schedule planning and tracking than in determining the “how” to the “what”.

    Those are my thoughts anyway. Thanks again for this post.

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    • You are absolutely right. Each company defines the roles in high-tech companies as the way they want. In fact, at my current company, my title is Product Marketing Manager, but I wear at least 3 hats regularly, and almost write my job descriptions on a daily basis. The newer/ the smaller the company it is, more chaotic it has been for me in my experience. So, defining roles at a higher level saying, managing the resources and tools to build the products as a project manager, and managing the requirements and specifications of the product as a product manager may be a better way to hire people.

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