The Three Roles of Product

Titles are a mess. What one company calls a product manager, another calls a product owner. And another calls a product marketing manager.

In one coaching session, the product leaders were assigning responsibilities based on the skills of the individual employees on their team. “Bob is good at win-loss analysis so win-loss should be owned by product management.”

(Actually, win-loss analysis tells you less about the product and more about the buying process, so win-loss should be in product marketing.)

That said, defining product roles is a challenge for most organizations. And the Quartz Open Framework can help.

The Quartz Open Framework defines six phases of defining and delivering products. From discovering problems to solve through describing those problems to both the technical and customer-facing teams, to delivering the product to market with effective launch strategies.

Each color-code pair of stages requires a different skillset. Discover and Commit phases require a business orientation. Describe and Create phases require a technical skillset. Deliver and Connect need a marketing skillset.

Because it’s so hard to find one person with these skills, organizations often have one or more people dedicated to each of these phases, ideally in the same department or at least with aligned goals.