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The product workers: Product owners as lateral managers

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The product workers: Product owners as lateral managers

Is the product owner a lateral manager? As a product owner, do you also have leadership responsibility? And if so, how does it present itself? In this episode, product engineers Tim Klein and Dominique Winter first clarify the question of what is meant by lateral leadership and whether as a product owner you fundamentally have a leadership role. Companies live this in very different ways and it often depends on the reputation and understanding of the role that the product owner is given in the context of product development.


Whether a product owner can act as a lateral manager in the company often depends on the understanding of hierarchy within the organization. The challenge then lies in taking on (substantial) leadership without formal power. For product owners, leadership then primarily refers to the product and to leadership in the sense of the Scrum team’s targeted alignment with the product vision and product goals.

A crucial question is also how the stakeholders behave towards the product owner role or whether they accept a product owner as a lateral manager.

The two product workers also discuss where lateral guidance may not help or may even be harmful. The episode concludes with a summary of the advantages of lateral leadership as a product owner.

The topic was a request from the listeners and the product workers are always happy to receive topic suggestions.

These consequences are referred to in the conversation:

And there were these literature recommendations:

The current edition of the podcast is also available on the Produktwerker blog: “Product Owner as a lateral manager”.

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The organizers will judge on March 12th and 13th, 2024 in Cologne dpunkt.verlag and iX die Product Owner Days on site for the first time. In addition to over 20 lectures on agile product management, three workshops will take place the day before.

Workshops on March 11th:


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