Should the product manager and product owner be the same person?

I recently read the question on the difference between the product manager and product owner on Quora and ended up sharing my opinion – at length. So I’ve decided to publish it here for posterity. Needless to say, there are other answers and other opinions, all equally valid.

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35: Product management skills to pay the bills

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned as a product manager.

So you want to become a product manager?  Good for you!  But how do you know you’re ready to move into a product management job?  Here are some suggestions to start you on the right track.

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What you should expect when recruiting a product manager

or: What makes a good product manager?

After my slightly frivolous post last time, I wanted to follow up with a more practical article intended for people wanting to hire a product manager and, by the same token, those of you wanting to step into that role.

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Product managers make GREAT dinner guests

Now that I’ve started up a product management consultancy, I’ve found myself having to explain a bit more often what a product manager actually is.  There are, of course, eminently more articulate and relevant descriptions available of what being a product manager means.  But as it’s a Monday and we’re all in need of more frivolity in our lives, I’ve concluded that product managers would make excellent dinner guests.  Here’s why:

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Hello. I’m new.

I remember once starting a product manager job where it took me two hours to establish where my desk was.  It took me that time to break the protracted conversation between my well-intentioned manager and two colleagues.

When I eventually found my desk, I had to resort to stealing paper from printers to take down the notes about what my product was (conclusion: not entirely clear), what my purpose was (conclusion: look busy, make yourself useful) and what people expected of me (conclusion: ????).

On the plus side, I gained a valuable insight into how NOT to manage a new starter.  Fast forward a few years and here I am with a new product manager about to join my team.  Here are three basic lessons I’ve learned, so that hopefully you won’t be the subject of a similar blog post some time down the line.

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