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It has happened several times that I needed to spend quite some time and effort to explain my role as a manager that manages a team around 10 people. My team builds a webapp for outside customers. My role combines a role of product manager with a role of software architect (and manage the people). I have final say for both product and technical decisions:

  1. The product role is similar to the product owner in scrum: I get requirement from my customers; I manage the product backlog, decide the priorities, In a word I decide the product roadmap.

  2. The architect role is to make the most important technical decisions. For example, I decide which tech stack for frond-end & back-end.

Scrum uses the term product owner so people who are familiar with scrum sometimes will response with "But scrum doesn't suggest PO touch the technical side". Other times people will response with "So you are a technical/development manager. But should you work on product side?"

"The Manager's Path" use the term "engineering manager". But I feel "engineering manager" can't convey my role too. In way I think product owner is a good name because I indeed own the product, every bit of it. And to delegate and work with the team is the key to do both roles right.

So is there an easy way to explain my role? Is there a a well established name?

Right now I sometime say I am the Product Owner as scrum defines plus technical manager. AND I will further emphasize that I have enough scrum experience to say what I mean here.

--- update ---

I came across this answer on quora, described the similar role at amazon too (the answer was in 2011), not sure it is still relevant.

On some teams, there are no Product Managers, and the Dev Manager owns both the product/business and the technology. We call these people "Single Threaded Leaders", though their formal role description might be Dev Manager.

This article used the title "Technical Product Manager" and mentioned the advantage I said,

Their experience helps them avoid the pitfalls of requesting things that are infeasible or too large of an ask for the allotted development cycle.

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  • Don't use "Product CTO". It's too strange. Mar 15 at 6:53
  • The term for a business, technical and people manager is "seriously overworked". There is a reason those are different roles. Most frameworks have at least two people on it, whether you call them SM/PO or PM/BA doesn't really matter, it's 80 hours of work per week.
    – nvoigt
    Mar 15 at 8:04
  • @nvoigt yes but you may check my other question here softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/423303/… Yes it is exhausting. But delegate is the key, I only make decision others can make. Mar 15 at 8:20
  • might be time to deploy the dreaded dash ... "Product Manager-Architect" ?? You can save readers few syllables with "PM-Architect". If you have people reporting to you it leaves that out -- you would have to go full-on word salad to express it all accurately.
    – Pete W
    Mar 15 at 13:05
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I don't think there is a single name for it, simply because it's too much work for a single person in traditional companies. You mentioned you are working in a startup, so I guess being constantly understaffed and having to make do comes with the territory though.

I would not use the title "Product Owner" because it's tightly coupled to the Scrum methodology that you do not use. You may use Scrum as a buzzword in your company, but you said yourself that you do not follow it's basic rules. People that actually implement Scrum will consider that a major red flag, probably worse than not having Scrum experience at all.

On the other hand, if you are looking to apply to companies who use Scrum as a buzzword only with little regard to it's actual rules, that might be very welcome.

It's up to you to tailor your resume to the actual company you apply to.

Product Manager and Technical Director would be the titles you are looking for in a traditional context. In a startup, it might be normal to wear multiple hats at the same time. Just list both.

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    every startup I know claims they use scrum, mine includes. How they use scrum is another story. Mar 15 at 8:53
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    Well, yours doesn't. So I would not advertise it. If you called yourself a "Product Owner/Software Architect" and claimed "Scrum Experience" when in fact you did not do Scrum, that might be more damaging to your next application than just calling yourself a Product Manager/Technical Director.
    – nvoigt
    Mar 15 at 8:55
  • That I can't agree. Check my question here softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/410482/… apparently this question is quite popular. Mar 15 at 8:57
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    You can do what you want. If someone told me they were PO and made technical decisions overriding the team, that would be a major red flag for me as a Scrum fan, but other companies that use Scrum in name only might be delighted. The question is whether you apply for a job in a Scrum team or a job that uses Scrum as a buzzword with complete disregard of it's actual meaning.
    – nvoigt
    Mar 15 at 9:24
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    And you can see I am not a scrum fan per se. I take scrum a practical/pragmatic view. But thanks for answer my questions (both) and took time to discuss with me. Mar 15 at 9:30
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If this is for a title on your resume, just pick whatever you prefer based on the position you are applying. If you want to focus on being a product owner, choose "Product Owner" or something like "Technical Product Owner" (be aware, though, that most people associate that with non-technical positions). Or use "Software Architect" for an architect position. Or "Software Development Manager" for a managerial position. I do not think there is any established name for a mixture of everything. You could use something such as the mentioned "Technical Director" or "Engineering Manager", but at that point, in my opinion, you are no longer conveying meaningful information from your title alone.

Despite the title you choose, you can always describe what you did in your role, which is something you want to do anyway. While I agree with the other answer that in a sane environment those roles will be handled by different people, it is also true that frequently there is a bit of overlapping, so hardly ever you will be in a silo. Usually, the smaller a company is, the more interested they will be in overlapping roles and people capable of filling them all, therefore making your resume more attractive - although the inverse can be true. You can also use this to tailor your resume, giving more weight to the mixed nature of your role, or focusing more on a specific aspect of it. At your seniority level, whoever goes through your CV is going to read it thoroughly, and not just discard as a bot based on title keywords, so feel free to describe your role properly and trust in that to convey to your reader what you want to convey.

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  • I am not currently looking for a job, I just like to know if there is a name. One of reasons is I am Chinese, work in Beijing. In Chinese we don't have a formal name too, but it is easy to explain such role. I would like to know the case in English. Mar 16 at 2:49
  • Also check my update. I found someone said it happened in amazon too. Mar 16 at 2:49

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