The Pragmatic Marketing framework and the Product Owner position

According to the Pragmatic Marketing framework these are the Skills and Responsibilities attributed to those functions usually associated with the Product Owner position. 


Articulate and prioritize personas and their problems so that the appropriate products can be built.

• Articulate and prioritize problems that solutions should be built for
• Build an effective relationship and team between product and development
• Serve as a checkpoint along the way to provide context and clarification to development
• Technical and product-specific acumen
• Written and verbal communications
• Deep market knowledge and understanding of personas and their problems
• Understanding of design best practices

Use Scenarios

Illustrate market problems in a “story” that puts the problem in context. Use scenarios are one component of requirements.
• Illustrate market problems in a way that puts the problem in context
• Create problem-based requirements
• Document and provide context on how the problem shows up in a day in the life of the user
• Ability to gather market data and then do detailed, independent analysis
• Data synthesis
• Ability to provide context in a way that is easily relatable to various audiences
• Storytelling
• Clear and concise writing

Stakeholder Communications

Manage proactive communications with relevant stakeholders from strategy through execution.

• Manage proactive communications with relevant stakeholders from strategy through execution
• Provide relevant, timely and easily consumable updates to all internal and external audiences
• Define key metrics and goals related to project progress and success
• Measure and report on progress toward metrics and goals
• Understanding of roadmap, release plan and project plan
• Written and verbal communications
• Ability to delegate and work well with project management resources
• Ability to manage resources up, down and sideways

Some thoughts on elevator pitch (if it is a long ride)

I was more realized during my years of helping users discover/extract the value in the product/service they bought, as a Solution Specialist. For several years this also extended to pre-sale activities as Sales Engineer.

Most of my recommendations on Linkedin make evident my attention/care to customers needs.

I like project work… not managing, but executing something useful for the customer.

Achieving comes out of doing… I don’t mind my CV is of a doer… More than of an achiever. So what?!

One of my unique selling points lies in the overlap between diverse competencies: IT, information management, business analysis, and pharmaceutical mindset.

Recently I’ve performed in Product Manager/Owner roles. I loved it but, as far as I know, it only attracts me if the product has a relation to my other areas of competence.

In large projects, I’m more than happy to take a PM position for a sub-feature or a specific layer of a very large product.

Anyway, PM is a set of interconnected roles and responsibilities, of which I can take full ownership of some and contribute to almost all.

In the end, my greatest strength (all my life) is my ability and willingness to learn: I started publishing notes on the specialized press for Pharmacovigilance just three years after my first work in that area. PIPA invited me to facilitate a training session in 2016… 

Product Manager vs. Product Owner in the context of mature Product Mngt. organizations

This is the traditional view of Product Management from Pragmatic Marketing

Three domains are highlighted with circles: Strategic Management, Marketing and Technical Management. 

Every function must exist on a Product organization

Each of these functions must have one or more R and a single A in terms of Responsibility assignment matrix

It has been my own view that I fall on the Technical Product Managemnr domain; I usually have A and/or R on these functions.

As PM is a leadership position within the Product organization, I would expect to be as C or I  in all functions of the RACI matrix of the Product organization. In some instances, the definition and analysis of User Personas and Buyer Personas may also fall as R or A, on the shoulder of the PM. 

The PO, which is a SCRUM construct, has a subset of the Tech PM. On many organizations, it is clear that PM should act as PO on the context of the development team practicing SCRUM. This subset of functions may be open for discussion, but I do not want to discuss that here.

However, some organizations, contract directly to the position of PO, which may indicate that the other tech functions are orphaned, or under the Strategic management. This may be the best configuration when you have multiple product layers; for instance: Content product, Front End product and API product (I experienced this many times at Elsevier, and yes I advocate that the API use of a product must have its own product team. I saw, also at Elsevier, a single functionality have its own Product Manager: the export function on Scopus (Yes, a manager for a button). 

At a certain point in the Job Interview you must scope what are going to be the Product Functions “assumed” to fall under Product Owner, where he is to be Accountable and/or sole Responsible, as well as what will be the KPI’s on each one. 

It would also be preferable, once this is cleared that the Informed and Consulted for each other function be discussed… most important of which is the Roadmap function.

It is important to note that these are the responsibilities from the POV of the Product organization. The SCRUM POV also has to be delivered by the PO. The overlap of responsibilities according to both POV’s is not a perfect match. 

Source: and

A note on my academic path…

My education, at least the formal one, planned from 2003 onward, has three pillars:

Information, Computing and Management.

During of one of the earliest classes in POSI the basic triangle on the diagram above, was presented and discussed.

I noticed, immediately, the way it translated my intentions, plan and vision of the world, so I adopted it.

The diagram also demonstrates a concept that is dear to me, and is the foundation of the POSI degree: there is no exclusive relation between computing and business rules. The relation occurs only through the information needs of the business.

One of the corollaries of graphic above is: most ICT managers are DATA managers, not INFORMATION managers. It is not the same thing! I know, because I have both degrees.

Other tenants that come out the POSI worldview:

  • Applications Architecture  support the fulfillment of the information needs of a business.
  • The information needs are expressed in terms of Information Architecture, the Business needs are expressed by the Business Architecture.
  • Never should IT systems dictate what information Business can have or not.
  • Is there alignment all around? Does Business have the Information it needs? Is all information available used by Business? Is the Process Automation , provided by Applications, efficient?  Do Applications support the Business processes? Is all information supported by applications? Do application enable an efficient management of the information available, avoiding redundancy, incoherence? Does coherence require on purpose programming?
  • Information Architecture + Application Architecture = Technological Architecture (dictate Technological Infrastructure)
  • Are the technologies used adequate to the needs of Applications, Business and Information? Are the technologies used adequate to the relations (gathering , communication , display, etc) between Applications, Business and Information?

Being Happy at Work

Looking back to 2017, I’dd like to quote, extensively, from :  “Being Happy at Work Matters” – Harvard Business Review, November 14, 2014

To be fully engaged and happy, virtually everyone tells us they want three things:

1 A meaningful vision of the future:

When people talked with our research team about what was working or not in their organizations, and what helped or hindered them the most, they talked about vision. People want to be able to see the future and know how they fit in. And, as we know from our work with Richard Boyatzis on intentional change, people learn and change when they have a personal vision that is linked to an organizational vision. Sadly, far too many leaders don’t paint a very compelling vision of the future, they don’t try to link it to people’s personal visions, and they don’t communicate well. And they lose people as a result.

2 A sense of purpose:

People want to feel as if their work matters, and that their contributions help to achieve something really important. And except for those at the tippy top, shareholder value isn’t a meaningful goal that excites and engages them. They want to know that they — and their organizations — are doing something big that matters to other people.

3 Great relationships: 

We know that people join an organization and leave a boss. A dissonant relationship with one’s boss is downright painful. So too are bad relationships with colleagues. Leaders, managers, and employees have all told us that close, trusting and supportive relationships are hugely important to their state of mind — and their willingness contribute to a team.

Added up, brain science and our organizational research are in fact debunking the old myths: emotions matter a lot at work. Happiness is important.

To be fully engaged, people need vision, meaning, purpose, and resonant relationships.

It’s on individuals to find ways to live our values at work and build great relationships. And it’s on leaders to create an environment where people can thrive. It’s simple and it’s practical: if you want an engaged workforce, pay attention to how you create a vision, link people’s work to your company’s larger purpose, and reward people who resonate with others.

Annie McKee

The highlights are mine.

Stupid questions in job interviews (2 of many)

Whats the best Invention ever?

Answer from my heart: Writing

What’s the worst invention ever?

Answer from my heart: Organized Religion

Incidentally, the two, together, create and sustain the core of the Judeo-Christian culture, prevalent in almost all world!

In real life I always end up answering “Bicycle” on the first question and, just to destroy the rest of the interviewers day, “the habit of crucifying dogs maintained by the Romans (Supplicia canum) .” on the second.

Oh, the pains of an unframed classical education !

Webinar: Best practices for validating literature monitoring searches

Webinar registrationIn the context of literature monitoring for adverse reactions to medicinal products (EMA GVP Module VI), a reasonable number of Market Authorization Holders have no ready answer to justify why they use each search formula for each specific product when Audit or Inspection time comes: in fact the search formula, responsible for all the inbound traffic in the Literature Monitoring process is, many times, not validated, or regularly reviewed. How does one create a “good” PV search formula for Literature Monitoring and validate it? By “good” we understand: a formula where you can justify, to an auditor or inspector, why do you use it instead of any other -one-.

In this webinar, I will discuss the process of (re-)validation of the search formulas used for literature monitoring in the context of EMA’s GVP Module VI. This will enable you to create and fine tune the search formula and, when needed, present evidence, to an auditor or inspector, on each search formula fitness for purpose.

Please register at

If we think of Documentation as a SPRINT deliverable, can we indeed have Agile and CSV?

Question on a LinkedIn group:

V model for Agile?

Life Science industry is using traditional V model for CSV. Should this model be changed for Agile based development, testing and validation.
I believe we should be able to use the user stories instead URS as the basis of V model. Please share your thought. Thanks

PJ Singh, PMP
Co-Founder & Director – Quality, Compliance, Validation, and Technology Integration

I’ve found out, during my tenure as Scrum PO for a GxP regulated product, that if you have a documentation resource, usually a Business Analyst, embedded in the SCRUM team, constantly making sure that there is documentation alignment between URS and User Stories, and make the documentation part of the Definition of Done, you can have a very strong alignment between V model and Agile practices.

I’m willing to propose and defend that, for implementing CSV while practicing Agile, one needs to have Documentation as a SPRINT deliverable.