TL;DR: can an agency (i.e. the supplier) effectively provide the role and services of a product manager to their clients?
Short story long :) We are a mobile app development agency in central Europe with around 30 employees and we aim to define and sell this new service to our clients. I'm unsure if the person on our side should be called a product manager. It's more like a product consultant/product assistant. But I'll try to describe that person's role.
First, our vision is to get out of the subordination to our clients and have a stronger influence and impact on the products we build for them. This product manager should be a valuable partner and a trusted advisor to the clients.
The problem we identify in many projects is that they miss key answers that the product owner usually answers (like Why are we building this? Who will benefit from this? What is its value?). Our current model is:
Our Dev-team <- Our Project Manager <-> The Client
A newly suggested model is to insert one more role:
Our Dev-team <- Our Project Manager <- Our "Product Manager" <-> The Client
This new role is supposed to be the analyst of the client's ideas to avoid implementing anything the client comes up with. However, the clients believe they have their own PMs or POs (but in fact, a lot of times those people are not dedicated to that role, thus they do only part of that job). On the other hand, we do not want any "clash of PMs" :)
My question, in more detail, is:
- Can an agency provide such a product manager without a conflict of interests?
- Is there an established name for that role that fits the description?
- What could possibly be the key role and responsibilities of this person (while not conflicting with the client's role)?
- What experience or training would that person need to be qualified for this role?
Can you tell from your experience?