View Full Version : Project Manager's role in automotive

04-27-2017, 07:02 PM
Hi everyone !

I know the standard role definition of the PM but what happens with the scope of the project ( the product ) after the project is over?
Do you have examples of best practices for the role of the Product Owner as it should be defined in this industry?

When I say Product Owner , it can in fact be the Product Manager, Product Engineer....whoever receives ownership of the product and becomes the single point of contact to the customer.

04-27-2017, 09:33 PM
I am not sure if there is an industry standard, it probably depends upon the organization's structure and the level of integration or customization of the subsystem of component of the vehicle.

There are likely many approaches possible. I will describe the one I most commonly see. For highly technical ( and highly tooled) vehicle products, for example the instrument cluster, we may see the product owner serves as sort of a project manger for the technical details regarding the product during the project (team 1). The project manager is involved in the external development associations, for example, the product owner manages the software and hardware development including the specification work. At this point the scope is known as much as can be known, and the product owner has contributed their team's estimate of the time and cost. In this instance the product owner is actually a project manager of the technical details and scope within the technical content. In this type of structure, the project manager handles the interfaces outside of the development, manufacturing, the after market stuff cost and delivery and quality at this interface level. There is some overlap, the aftermarket and manufacturing requirements must be known by the team developing the product. There is constant communication with the product team and the next level or project management (team 2).

Upon conclusion of the project, product maintenance then falls to this team of people that were part of the product development. New project that include that particular product or component within the system will once again make use of this team to develop. The end of the project for team 1 will be some set of milestones, or duration after the full scale production of the product. The project may break up, but some portion of team 1 will continue to maintain the product, explore field concerns even after the project has reached the final gate and has been closed.


Does this help? Please ask more questions, I will work to making the picture clearer and welcome others to bring their experiences forward also.

04-27-2017, 11:41 PM
I missed something in my reply.

The person that may have the biggest connection with the customer may be the sales and marketing or product planning part of the company. However, in my experience, they do not manage the product at the technical level, but have some road map of features and functions the vehicle must have over some time period in order to be competitive. These features, are not maintenance type of work but are projects of varying degrees of size and effort that will be conducted over the vehicle life span.

In that way, these sales / marketing or product planning people, will have the greatest connection with the customer (analogous to product owner in agile), and bring those details into the project and product management people.

I hope this helps

04-28-2017, 02:05 PM
I agree with not being sure if there is an industry standard. Sometimes there are company standards or at least requirements. IMHO the project manager or PMO should develop the role for the product manager as a project team member.

My experience executing engineering projects is the product manager is a member of the project team from project kick-off. The product manager is not the project manager usually because this product manager have other products or production to focus on.

The project plan included a testing plan, a transfer of knowledge or training plan (for shift workers), and CQV (Commissioning - Qualifying - Verifying) or performance plan.

The advantage of having the product manager on the team and involved confirms their ownership & accountability. Product turnover is clear and clean.

Please let me know if this helps or if you have questions.