I work for a multinational IT consultancy firm that has a number of 'software assets' that it sells and develops for its clients. I started with the company straight out of University in a software testing position on a team implementing a solution using one of these assets. In the year I was in that role, I became very familiar with the workings of the system, much more so than the other testers. I was offered a product owner role on one of the development teams and took it.

My question is "where do I go from here?". I am currently working as a product owner now, but I would like to know what are the future career options from this role. I have been looking online and there isn't really a whole lot of info there. What should I be doing to achieve the next step, and what would that next step be with my experience?

  • 1
    @MarkC.Wallace I'm ambivalent about this one, because the Product Owner role is part of the Scrum project management process. There are other problems with the post in terms of subjectivity and polling, but the topicality seems okay to me. Just my $0.02, and I think reasonable people can differ on this one with equal justification. Regardless, the post needs some editing to avoid eventual closure.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    May 9, 2014 at 3:08
  • I edited this to eliminate the polling. Also, this could possibly be on topic on The Workplace. However, the vast majority of experience related to this may very well sit here on this site. If someone thinks we need to clarify this, please start a Project Management Meta discussion. Hope this helps.
    – jmort253
    Jun 22, 2014 at 22:51

3 Answers 3


Job titles mean whatever an organization wants them to mean. However, in my experience a Product Owner (or, in less agile environments, a Product Manager) is often responsible for a single product or a closely-related suite of products.

Advancement within Product Management is generally into managing a portfolio of products. In some companies, a Product Portfolio Manager or Program Manager role might be considered a step up.

In my personal experience, I've also seen people move from product ownership roles into sales or marketing leadership positions. This may or may not be a typical career progression, but it certainly happens.

Having said all that, there's also something to be said for staying with a given role but expanding your scope. For example, you might consider becoming a Product Owner on a larger project, or within a larger company. One doesn't necessarily have to change job titles to experience career growth.

Good luck!

  • Thanks for your reply. One of my major concerns is that I'm more interested in the 'technical' side of things, rather than the business aspect. I'm in no way interested in sales or marketing for example. Given your response, do you think that I should be looking away from the Product Owner role? Looking to move back into a position where progression would lead to more technical roles? The only other career path I would be willing to pursue would be in management.
    – adohertyd
    May 8, 2014 at 9:52
  • @adohertyd Career advice about what you should do in your particular circumstances is off-topic here. We can certainly try to answer questions about various career paths related to the project management field, but only you can decide what interests you, or what path you want to follow.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    May 8, 2014 at 14:53
  • "One doesn't necessarily have to change job titles to experience career growth." Very true! I can say as a developer I feel I've grown tremendously, and I'm not really even sure I have a title.
    – jmort253
    Jun 22, 2014 at 22:52

According to the Scaled Agile Framework, a Product Owner reports into a Product Manager. Therefore, the logical career progression from a Product Owner is to become a Product Manager.

It gets a bit tricky after that. In software/IT companies, the hierarchy usually is Product Manager > Product Director > Product VP > CPO (Chief Product Officer). This hierarchy can be further sub-divided into "Associate Director", "Senior VP", etc. However, in other industries, where Agile is not very well understood, the Product Manager position usually roles up into more general management positions.


My best advice here is that you discuss your career aspirations with your manager and with your company. They were pleased with your rapid performance and offered you one promotion. In time, they should have another one in store.

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