PM is not a CEO: Why Does This Topic Provoke Doubts?

There is a notion that product managers should behave like CEOs to be effective and look like leaders.

Actually, some product managers have the power to make decisions for their product like CEOs. Others can do their best but leave the decisions for top management.

The author of the article on has worked in many software companies and knows the truth – he has never seen a product manager having the final authority to make critical product decisions like CEOs. Here are some extracts from the post:

The statement that PMs lead by “influence” and not “authority” is true and it indicates that PMs are not CEOs.

No team member in a company reports directly to a product manager, unlike the CEO.

Product managers, as well as CEO, have to work with every external and internal issue that touches their product, including the issues connected with customers,  partners, industry analysts, executives, marketers, legal, support team, etc.

The goal of a product manager is to gather a 360-degree view of the environment the product needs to succeed. That is why PMs become experts in all questions related to their products: info about product performance, competitors, customer support issues, sales, and so on.

As the result, the product manager becomes the central figure in ensuring that the right info is communicated to the right people.

As well as the CEO, PM is having the latest and complete product information. It gives the influential authority to influence the cross-functional team and in guiding to make the right decisions.

You can argue that even CEOs do not make all the decisions. However, CEO has the authority to make a “my way or the highway” decision which product managers never do.

What do you think about this topic?

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