As product people—product managers and product owners—we usually don’t hold any positional power. Unlike a line manager, we cannot reward people by offering a pay rise or bonus, for instance. We cannot tell people what to do either, as the development team members and stakeholders don’t report to us. This puts us in a challenging position: We must lead others to achieve product success but we cannot leverage traditional management instruments. Luckily, there are other power sources you can tap into to boost your leadership, as I explain in this article.
Applying the product owner role can be challenging, as no two products are the same. While products and projects vary, I have found two common ways to employ the role: Asking the customer or a customer proxy such as a product manager to take on the product owner role. This post discusses when which option is more appropriate.