Product Manager as Product CEO?

Question: "Are product managers really the CEOs of their products?"

Answer: The very colloquial term "Product CEO" or "CEO of the Product" refers to an encompassing role description which alludes to complete and overall responsibility of one person for a product project, also owning all monetary considerations and project management.

The Product Manager is not the "CEO of the Product" as this is a notion that is applicable only to the Program Manager. In some companies the Product Manager is incorrectly tasked with program management responsibilities and hence lays the confusion. It is the Program Manager who is the "CEO of the Product", not the Product Manager.

See the Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) Team Model which is a good example that presents the entities within a company that collaborate in the interest of delivering a product to the market. All these corporate functions are being led by the Program Manager.

The MSF Team Model diagram maps the entities in a product delivery program.

MSF Team Model