Marty Cagan writing about Product vs Feature teams:
In an empowered product team, the product manager is explicitly responsible for ensuring value and viability; the designer is responsible for ensuring usability; and the tech lead is responsible for ensuring feasibility. The team does this by truly collaborating in an intense, give and take, in order to discover a solution that work for all of us.
When I talk and write about how tough it is to be a true product manager of an empowered product team, it’s precisely because it is so hard to ensure value and viability. If you think it’s easy to do this, please read this.
The lack of giving up control and delegating to your product team is probably the biggest reason I see very few product empowered teams.
Feature teams are set up similarly, but with a stark difference:
However, in a feature team, you still (hopefully) have a designer to ensure usability, and you have engineers to ensure feasibility, but, and this is critical to understand: the value and business viability are the responsibility of the stakeholder or executive that requested the feature on the roadmap.
If they say they need you to build feature x, then they believe feature x will deliver some amount of value, and they believe that feature x is something that is viable for the business.
Whichever way you see it; they both are squads but the differences run deep, but I’ll leave you with that I think is the most important
Let’s start with the role of the product manager. In an empowered product team, where the product manager needs to ensure value and viability, deep knowledge of the customer, the data, the industry and especially your business (sales, marketing, finance, support, legal, etc.) is absolutely non-negotiable and essential.
Yet in a feature team, that knowledge is (at best) dispersed among the stakeholders.
Controversial topic but an essential read.