Product Manager vs. Product Owner

Product Manager vs. Product Owner

产品经理VS.产品负责人

All too often I run into companies that have resigned themselves to having two different people covering the product role.

我经常会遇到一些公司一直在委托他们自己让两类不同的人去担负品的职责。

Usually the way they split it is they have one person responsible for interacting with customers and stakeholders (which they often call the product manager), and another to interact with the development team and manage the backlog (which they usually call the product owner).

按照这种方法,他们分成一类人负责同客户和利益相关者有关系(他们经常称为产品经理),另一类人同开发团队和事务管理有关系(他们通常称为产品负责人)。

The reasoning is typically because they don’t have someone with either the skills or the time required to commit to covering both.

典型的原因是因为他们没有人具备担负这两种角色所需的技能或者时间。

There are many “product managers” that are not technical enough to effectively engage with the developers, yet management hopes to utilize them. And there are many “product owners” that show no inclination or ability to get out of the building and interact with customers, yet management knows this is critical.

有许多“产品经理”不具备足够的技术去有效地和开发人员接洽,然而管理层不希望这样。同样,也有许多“产品负责人”表现出缺乏兴趣或者能力去和客户交流,然而管理层知道这是重要的。

As appealing as this strategy may sound, I want to use this article to try to explain why this approach typically yields very weak product and little innovation.

这种策略或许听起来是吸引人的,但是我想用这篇文章努力去说明为什么这种方法会产生出非常劣势的产品和很少的创新。

I have written earlier that this approach has two common negative consequences. This first is that there is no clear owner (neither person takes responsibility for the product), and the second is a common lack of respect or understanding between the two (the “product manager” doesn’t appreciate the technical complexities, and the “product owner” doesn’t appreciate the customer’s pain).

我在早期写到过这种方法有两个普遍消极的结果。第一个是没有清晰的负责人(没有人为产品担负职责),第二个是在这两者之间普遍缺乏尊重或者理解(“产品经理”不会鉴别技术的复杂性,“产品负责人”不会理解客户的痛苦)。

However, this approach has an even more fundamental issue as well:

然而,这种方法有一个更为根本的问题:

In order to make the many hundreds of large and small decisions a product owner makes every week, he needs to have deep understanding of the customers. Deep customer knowledge is what informs the decisions. It is actually the main thing a capable product owner brings to the party and it is what distinguishes him from the others on the team.

产品负责人每个星期为了制定成百上千大大小小的决策,他需要对客户有深刻的理解。深厚的客户知识产生策。这事实上就是一个有能力的产品负责人带给团队主要的事情,并且也使其区别于团队的其他人。

Similarly, when interacting with customers and identifying problems and opportunities, it is the knowledge of the technology and what is possible that informs the discussions and the potential solutions. This is what distinguishes a product person from other roles such as marketing, user research or sales, and why it’s essential that the product person has the direct customer interaction.

同样,当和客户交流、定义问题和机会的时候,技术和什么是可能的知识会产生讨论和潜在的解决方案。这也使一个产品人区分于其它的角色,例如营销、用户调研或者销售,这也是为什么一个产品人应该直接和客户交流的本质所在。

It is precisely this combination of deep customer understanding with the ability to apply technology to solve customer problems that enables a strong product person.

深厚的客户知识同有能力应用技术去解决客户问题知识的组合能够产生一个强大的产品人。

I know this doesn’t make it any easier to find people that are willing and able to do both, but I do hope that more company leaders come to understand how essential it is to find product people that can cover both aspects of the role.

我知道找到一个能同时搞定这些工作的人并不容易,但是我希望更多的公司领导逐步明白如找到一个能担负这两种角色的产品人是多么的关键。

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