Recently I spoke with a team of very frustrated Scrum engineers. They were frustrated because they felt like all they were doing for the past year was chasing features and that the product manager really had no clue where they were heading or what they were really trying to accomplish. When I spoke to the product manager (product owner in Scrum lingo), he explained that he thought the whole idea of Agile methods like Scrum was to remain flexible and “agile” and that he didn’t think he was supposed to worry about or lock in a longer-term direction.
The job of the product manager is to define the products that the product development organization will build. Even with the greatest product ideas, if you can’t build and launch your service, it remains just an idea. So your relationship with the product development organization is all important.