When an organization starts using Scrum, it runs into tough questions. One question that is particularly challenging is:

Is the Scrum Master the Agile Project Manager?

What if you consider that it is not the right question to ask?

Scrum is about product management, not project management. A more useful consideration is that the Product Owner is the Agile Product Manager. Indeed, the Product owner is responsible for the ultimate direction and success of the product.

The job of the Product Owner is like the typical product manager’s job with an added focus on maximizing value, delivering just-in time, and optimizing the return on investment. The Product Owner maximizes value by collaborating with the Team and customers, by leveraging the entire Scrum Team and also by simplifying product absorption. The faster and more often the release, the faster and more often the creation of value. Where traditional Product Management using the waterfall will typically delay the realization of value, the Product Owner uses Scrum to maximize the flow of value and eliminate waste.

Like the traditional product manager, the Product Owner is responsible for many things, from market analysis and strategic product planning to release planning and sustaining the product. None of this matters though, until the product is actually released. Agile Product Managers, a.k.a Product Owners, help their organization quickly seize market opportunities while controlling risk. That is what agility is about from a business standpoint.