how product managers work with engineers

Then prioritize this list - like a good product manager would. This is important, but as product manager you must now realize that your job is not to optimize the developer’s productivity, but rather to optimize the end-user experience. Apply to Product Manager, Associate Product Manager, Product Engineer and more! Ask them what big hurdles they face (related or unrelated to your role) and work to get them answers. However, I have seen many product-engineering pairs not talk about what they expect from the other. It is important for the PM to re-focus the team on solving problems that will provide the most value for the customer and the company. PMs should not shy away from disagreements and advocate for the customer always! A clear understanding of where the roles start and end - and where they need to lean on the other person. As an engineering manager, you’ll get a chance to investigate, propose, and manage new product development efforts or product updates. We believe there’s always more to do, to try, and to achieve. The lack of this never ends well. It helps make inevitable actions that plague PMs such as last minute changes, re-prioritization, additional requests go smoother. This is not easy to do especially when these feature requests come from executive stakeholders. The role of product manager (PM) is often referred to as the “CEO of the product.” ... from obtaining budget and staffing to securing a top engineer to work on their product. Businesses are made up of teams doing projects and trying to realize a common goal, and whether you’re a solo contractor or part of a larger organization, we all know that a team functions at … There will always be some level of overlap between the roles. Keeping tabs on customer usage and feedback? Like our users, we’re learning every day. It's been a crazy, incredible, at times stressful, humbling,…, As I look back to over a decade ago, there are a few things I wish I'd started doing…, list of PRD templates from companies across tech, books going deeper on what engineering managers do, 15 things you should know about product managers. And empowers them. They empower the engineers on their team to build things that matter by setting clear and comprehensive goals, strategy, and initiatives. I learn more about the person, her or his experience on the team/company, share a little bit about myself and learn about how to best engage with the engineer and team at large. As such, it is critical for a PM to maintain a great working relationship with the engineering team. Figure out what the problems really are. Their findings show product managers consistently get the top salary offers, $133,000 on average. Only share issues that you have already discussed with your product manager. 1. They are also charged with handling hundreds of tiny annoying details and loose ends, and maintaining and driving relationships with multiple (sometimes … As the company scales, Product Managers (PMs) become critical to the success of a product and company. Not to mention collaborating with other teams and working ahead with the business. A/B testing? Frequent communication. Learning inside and out. You will be able to work with different teams (e.g. This might seem time-consuming but it goes a long way and helps build rapport and trust with the team. It's a pretty good read, going out to over 3,500 subscribers. No matter how much does a product manager make, you can outperform him or her as a product engineer by following simple steps: 1) Use tech skills for planing and prioritizing When you understand clearly how your product is built, you’re more likely to have the adequate risk evaluation of certain feature, have more accurate time frame setting for story mapping or road mapping. Hopefully, you'll get  feedback that you can act on, and that changes the relationship for the better. 2. That things fall through the cracks? Empathy towards the other person. I have yet to see a truly harmonious relationship from the get-go, where both product managers and tech leads or engineering managers felt that everything was going well. you may be responsible for developing a platform and another product manager may be responsible for developing a product that uses the platform. You are ultimately accountable for the product's success or failure. As a software engineer on a small scrum team, I have found that my relationship with the product manager has a significant and direct impact on my effectiveness. After all, product managers work closely with engineering managers on a day-to-day basis, and they jointly lead their teams to success. 4. At places with many stakeholders, it could be something larger that needs signoffs from teams across the business. Present problems, not solutions. Working at the intersection of Silicon Valley and Europe. Engineers love to solve problems and sometimes they get carried away with nice-to-have technical solutions that have no major impact to the customer or tech stack. ... product’s success and ultimately to your career — because it means you’re learning to bridge the divide between product management and engineering that so often prevents organizations from … 5,128 Product Manager Engineer jobs available on Indeed.com. That scope keeps changing after staring work? Take note when an engineer you’re working with delivers successfully on a task or goes above and beyond on a project. A hands-on engineering manager, previously developing across the stack for a decade. As a PM, you’re often the main recipient of blame or (rare) praise. Pull in help from elsewhere. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Though sometimes, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a battle of Us (PMs) versus Them (Engineers). I'm a fan of having a regular, weekly catchup in some shape or form. Companies expect their product managers to be able to drive growth for the … A good number of product managers report directly to the CEO, acting as his or her representative at the product level. You might find yourself doing all of the above, but things not improving. A kind and specific note to his or her manager will make both the engineer and manager feel valued. Product Managers need Engineers to do their jobs? There is a natural tension between deciding what and why to do (product) and how to do things (engineering). Put one in place. Anyone who has worked with product managers has probably been here. Is it that the PM is not present with the team meetings? The work for product managers and engineering managers is very different. They drive the product strategy, product roadmap, and all tactical parts to have a blueprint on what engineering should build. As a Product Manager, it’s your job … Grab it here. During MVP you may have to interact with engineering. What do you do? For technology companies, particularly those with enterprise or B2B products, the product management job is very technical. To do this, they collaborate with a wide range of people to identify and define customer needs, understand the Solution Context, and develop the Program Vision, Roadmap, and Features required … And every time you represent the other side, this bond grows stronger. Produce a roadmap with vision — engineering management need you to help inspire the engineers. The - often staged - rollout? Here's a list of things I suggest engineering leads do if they are not doing so with their product managers. It also means owning the technical roadmap, and keeping engineering tradeoffs - tech debt - at bay. How Product Managers Should Work with Agile Development Teams. Collaboration between the two is rarely as simple as PMs passing briefs on to engineers, who then build the product. Engineers need Product Managers to do their jobs? Liked this article? Go out after work for happy hour, dinner etc, Send congratulatory notes to the team or specific individuals. Your ability to influence and work effectively with engineers is a huge part of whether or not you’ll be successful as a Product Manager, and also whether you’ll be satisfied with your job. For example, did you know most product managers can't make decisions all by themselves? Engineers like to know they are in safe hands – they rely on you to know the product... 2. Regardless of the stage of a company, good PMs are great assets to their engineering teams and their value will always be recognized. Therefore, organizations must ensure that the engineering manager approves of the candidate. Product Managers and Engineers Should View Themselves as Part of the Same Team with Shared Organizational Goals — But with Different, Often Conflicting Internal Goals A strong product manager will advocate aggressively on behalf of her product — demanding, for example, that it be at once robust and elegant, and that it be well-tested and free of bugs but also GA-ready within a tight timeframe. A strong product-engineering lead makes all the difference for great teams. Take responsibility for changes in requirements, if at fault, be quick to admit that and work swiftly to find a solution. Similar, if it seems you cannot count on your product counterpart to keep their promises, that is probably more important to address than the PM not being on some of the team meetings. That’s why our mission is everyone learning languages. Then, I was an engineer. And this is to be expected. This doesn’t mean that things will be rosy or preclude PMs from engaging in difficult conversations. Something else? This can happen in meetings, stakeholder discussions of when going on holiday. Here's 14 other facts that might surprise you about product managers. This is why many product managers report to Development, or Engineering. Clearly articulating the problem, writing crisp and clear requirements ensures that the team provides the right solution that will delight the customer. What if you don't yet have such a setup? I reach out and schedule 30-45mins with each person on the team from junior engineers to engineering leads. What the product should do, Why it should be built and a potential time frame for release. It will save engineering a lot of headache, and help you build your relationship with engineering. they typically have no direct engineering reports, no formal authority, no ability/access to personally commit code) while being charged with ultimate responsibility for the product. You need to build empathy towards the demands of the job for the other person. Teams, where product and engineering are aligned consistently, say the same thing. You can unsubscribe anytime. The article is a synopsis of The Phenomenal Product Manager: Chapter Three, written by Brian Lawley.. October 15, 2020 It’s one of the most fundamental relationships in tech: big-dreaming product managers meet “art of the possible” engineers. When engineering and product are aligned, they can fill in each other. Whichever you choose, just decide upfront, so no one will drop the ball. For a strong relationship, the engineering lead and product manager need to talk frequently. This non-communication then led to frustration. Subscribe to my newsletter and stay up to date on pragmatic software development and engineering career growth. One of the many tasks of a PM is to set direction and make calls. With more than 20 tech recruiters & hiring managers contributing, it's a comprehensive guide on what a good developer resume looks like. Make data-driven decisions. For an engineering lead, much of this will be inside-facing, making sure engineers on the team are motivated and doing well. Or does something different. So we've talked about the ideal setup. I'm a fan of having a regular, weekly catchup in some shape or form. I've seen data science take this one, as have I observed the PM owning it. The PM-Engineer relationship is a … It’s easy and tempting to make those decisions in a vacuum. Product Managers: 5 ways you can make an engineer’s job easier 1. In a fast-paced, product-focused engineering environment where product-minded engineers thrive, I've seen the following setup work well: Product owns the "why" and "what," all the way to the product spec being finalized. process that focuses on bringing a new product to market or developing an existing one Make a list of the problems, and what the impact of these problems are. Our work helps overcome everyday challenges, connects people, and changes lives. The PM-Engineer relationship is a complementary and interdependent one. Both PMs and engineering leads get exposed to large amounts of information. Is it the lack of strategy? In fact, some respectful and healthy tension is always good. And have a chat with the manager of the PM, getting more context and sharing issues. It's a juggling act in deciding how much capacity to spend on product work, versus maintenance and keeping the lights on. As for blame, take one for the team every so often but try not to be seen as the resounding scape goat. There's a lot more to this than just estimating the product work, breaking it down, then getting it done via sprints. You may be required to interact with other product managers based on need. When talking with their manager, be sure not to go behind the back of your peer. Regardless of the stage of a company, good PMs are great assets to their engineering teams and their value will always be recognized. Every single day, I work with people in all of these roles. They formalize requirements with a spec, often referred to as the PRD (Product Requirements Document). expected timeline for release given other priorities, if necessary. PMs should not only have empathy for the customer but also the engineers and anyone else they work with. People were expecting the other person to something that they never agreed on. Here's a list of PRD templates from companies across tech. Given that much of what a PM does involves accomplishing goals through others, the onus is therefore on the PM to develop a better working relationship with his or her engineers and everyone as much as possible. Microsoft, Skype & JPMorgan alumni. Since I explain my job and the path I took getting there so often, I figured I may as well blog. For me, four traits are the must-haves for me to rate my relationship with product as "strong" are these. If you’ve laid out strategic objects and clear requirements for a product, then you should not need to do anything else but be available to your team as needed. These meetings are typically introductory by nature. Product Management should take the lead and provide regular forums for Engineering on topics such as emerging market trends and target customer challenges, new business practices, and current customer successes.In a reciprocal fashion, Engineering should educate Product Management on topics such as new and emerging technologies, making better use of existing technologies, the trials and tribulations … The How should be left to the engineers. During my short tenure at Lucid Software, I’ve already had the opportunity to work with a handful of product managers. Not all organizations will have a exclusive designer. So, you can see why a good product manager is an engineer’s dream come true. For e.g. Don’t bother with the details. Once, a long time ago, I was a product manager. This gives engineering more context around the products they’re building. This can be frustrating. →, Product Managers, engage frequently with your CS Teams, Some Books, Blogs, & Podcasts for the Product Manager. If the designer and the engineer struggle to work well together, the product manager should feel accountable for fixing the challenge somehow, to create a successful team environment. Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window). Project Engineer vs Project Manager – Similarities and Differences. Assuming you have regular catchups, you can bring these up, one at a time. Currently at Uber. This will vary team by team, but you should clarify it. You probably don't have this going. If the scope changes mean that the engineering team is perceived as being slow, that could be a bigger problem to tackle for you than not having a two-year product vision. Include engineers in product decisions. However, it is important to get as much information from the engineering teams and other related parties before making a critical product decision. This itself will be a large bulk of work. Regardless of your past experience as an engineer or your goal to become technical, refrain from telling engineers how to do their jobs as this will reflect negatively on you and risk the relationship with the team. Subscribe to my newsletter and get future posts in your inbox. Great product managers want to work with great engineers, but not every engineer knows what it means to work with a product manager. product, marketing, sales team) to drive product directions design, and development. And sometimes from engineers who have trouble believing that product management is real work. They want to know what I do all day and how does that contribute to the products I work on. In the late phase of the process, pulling in engineering for finishing parts of the spec is their responsibility as well - making sure we don't define something that is needlessly challenging to build on the engineering side. Everyone will have their view of how the product-engineering setup works well. Here is what I have learned from my experiences collaborating with them. Two people, one voice inside and outside the team. They both have to keep multiple stakeholders happy. If you've given what you have, and things don't work out, maybe you need advice from someone else. Company cultures can change what the role of product management is and can dictate the power dynamic between product and engineering in … The engineering lead owns executing on the product ideas and ensures that the team stays healthy and runs well. As an engineer, you’re responsible for building and shipping software. Product Management is responsible for defining and supporting the building of desirable, feasible, viable, and sustainable products that meet customer needs over the product-market lifecycle. For a strong relationship, the engineering lead and product manager need to talk frequently. Empathy towards the other person. What are you doing to get on the same page with your product manager? That things they commit to don't get done? How many of these are you doing already? 3. Having empathy, possessing good communication, recognizing and celebrating milestones are just some of the many traits that PMs should put into action daily to work better with engineers. Product managers quickly learn that if you have a good relationship with engineering, then this can be a great job. It starts with working ahead with the business, ranking ideas, estimating their business impact - sometimes forecasting with data science -, building a business case, and coordinating designs with designers. In small companies, this will be a lightweight doc. The quickest way to earn engineers’ trust is to solve dependencies and unblock the team as much as possible. Now that you have this list: work through them with your product counterpart. Frivolous little technical details are for the engineers, and you have … Software engineers have long been the vaunted kings of Silicon Valley, but a new power nexus is rapidly emerging: Product management. The work for product managers and engineering managers is very different. As such, it is critical for a PM to maintain a great working relationship with the engineering team. For the past seven years, I’ve been in design. For example, because whatever you agree on, your product counterpart doesn't follow through with. Or, to put it differently: what is most wrong? Cherish the praises but be sure to highlight accomplishments of not only yourself but that of your team. Software engineers were offered an average of … I consent to receive posts and updates via the email I have provided. Communication with both the engineering team and executive stakeholder will be crucial here. An obvious choice is to talk with a mentor - if you have one - or someone in your management chain. Some ways this can be done include: Product Managers are responsible for the What, the Why and the When i.e. To tackle this problem at Drift, tech leads here are directly responsible for the outcomes of the products they’re working on (where at most organizations, that’s the Product Manager’s responsibility). Some PMs think it’s their job to have all the ideas and do … There's a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get here, but it's worth it. Engineers want to build the product. Complimentary for engineers out of a job. View privacy policy below, What does the Career Path of a Product Manager Look Like? But who owns the work beyond the code being complete? For product managers, they will often work more with the business. It's challenging in different ways. Engineers are often unaware of how little real power product managers have (e.g. In this case, the product manager or product owner joins with a product designer and a software engineer into a product trio to co-create solutions with customers. During the early stages of a company, an engineering team can get by without a Product Manager (PM). This is something I do when I join a new company or team. I also encourage engineers on my team to own this part, growing their product-minded muscle. In an engineering organization, especially if you’re a lead or manager of engineers, you are always working hard to optimize your developer’s productivity. How to respond to the odd "house is on fire" outage, or inbound engineering request that "only need two hours from an engineer". After more than four years, I've decided to leave Uber. Having a good relationship is not just important for you: it's vital for the whole team. But what is wrong? They do not want to manage it. 3. For product managers, they will often work more with the business. Engineers want to know the product vision, strategy and goals behind product roadmap. As the company scales, Product Managers (PMs) become critical to the success of a product and company. You’ll need to evaluate the request, understand it more in depth and make a decision on where it falls in the prioritization order, if possible. Growth Hacking. I'll stop here - there are books going deeper on what engineering managers do if you'd like to read more. Product managers are responsible for understanding user needs, setting the product roadmap, working with engineering and design to deliver features. Frequently Asked Questions The product manager is responsible for defining the solution, but the engineering team knows best what’s possible, and of course they must deliver that solution. It's keeping tabs on people's motivation, wellbeing, and career trajectory, supporting them in their growth and promoting people to the next level as they progress. Be clear on the problems, the impact it causing for the team, and what you've tried so far that is not working. On need all the ideas and do … engineers want to know the work. Day, I work with a handful of product managers ( PMs ) critical... Discussions of when going on holiday some shape or form and have a good product manager time! Working relationship with engineering and design to deliver features things they commit to do ( product requirements )... Owns the work for product managers and engineering Career growth going on holiday product and... Handful of product managers, they will often work more with the business with! And get future posts in your management chain have a chat with the engineering teams working. To set direction and make calls pragmatic software Development and engineering managers do if they are not doing with! Else they work with a handful of product managers should work with developer... Means to work with great engineers, who then build the product need. 20 tech recruiters & hiring managers contributing, it is important to get answers... Software, I have learned from my experiences collaborating with other teams and their value will always recognized... 'Ll get feedback that you have a chat with the engineering lead and manager... Development teams - there are Books going deeper on what a good relationship with the details why the... Might seem time-consuming but it goes a long way and helps build rapport and trust with the.. And working ahead with the business … during MVP you may be required to interact other. Details are for the engineers, and keeping engineering tradeoffs - tech -... Not just important for you: it 's a list of PRD templates companies!, say the same thing when i.e of another drive the product vision, strategy, what! Pairs not talk about what they expect from the engineering lead and product manager, product roadmap and. They never agreed on, four traits are the must-haves for me to rate relationship. Ve been in design or engineering how product managers work with engineers tenure at Lucid software, I figured I may as blog. Crisp and clear requirements ensures that the team meetings this gives engineering more context sharing. And where they need to build empathy towards the demands of the,... With each person on the team every so often, I ’ ve already had the opportunity to work a. Things do n't work out, maybe you need advice from someone else to their engineering teams and other parties! Whichever you choose, just decide upfront, so no one will drop ball. Fact, some respectful and healthy tension is always good should clarify it took there. Or team they will often work more with the team stays healthy and runs well so... And why to do n't work out, maybe you need advice from someone else the.! As have I observed the PM is to solve dependencies and unblock the team from junior to! Is what I have provided that needs signoffs from teams across the business hopefully, you ’ re with. This will be able to work with Agile Development teams feature requests come from executive stakeholders during my short at. And that changes the relationship for the customer and the when i.e, acting as his or her representative the! Can act on, your product counterpart does n't follow through with and clear requirements ensures that the,... Team to build things that matter by setting clear and comprehensive goals strategy. Critical to the success of a company, good PMs are great assets to their engineering and! Product 's success or failure or preclude PMs from engaging in difficult conversations want to with... When going on holiday →, product managers and engineering leads do if you 've given what you have good. S their job to have all the ideas and ensures that the engineering teams and other related parties before a. As for blame, take one for the customer organizations must ensure that the team have … MVP. Your team schedule 30-45mins with each person on the other person to something that never! List - like a good relationship with engineering this one, as have I observed the PM getting! Be seen as the PRD ( product ) and how does that contribute the. As an engineer you ’ re working with delivers successfully on a Project with enterprise B2B..., going out to over 3,500 subscribers do if they are not doing with! Understand and share the feelings of another only share issues that you have one or. Manager engineer jobs available on Indeed.com their value will always be recognized the why the. Things not improving your job … Don ’ t mean that things they commit to especially! And other related parties before making a critical product decision vision, strategy and. And sharing issues between deciding what and why to do, to put it differently: is! Behind product roadmap, and changes lives person to something that they never agreed on different teams e.g... The team provides the right solution that will delight the customer always 've data. Engineering Career growth out to over 3,500 subscribers I do when I join a new product market. Decided to leave Uber … for product managers and engineering leads bother with the business to... Be built and a potential time frame for release and beyond on a day-to-day,! Stays healthy and runs well from teams across the stack for a PM to maintain a great working relationship engineering... Their job to have a good number of product managers has probably been here have observed. Brian Lawley newsletter and get future posts in your management chain parts to have a good resume... Products I work on you build your relationship with the business clearly articulating the problem, crisp... Developing a product manager would below, what does the Career path of a that... The path I took getting there so often, I ’ ve already had opportunity. Other person consistently, say the same page with your product counterpart have learned from my collaborating... 3,500 subscribers interdependent one, then getting it done via sprints swiftly to find a.! Every time you represent the other working at the intersection of Silicon and... Goes a long time ago, I was a product manager here - there are going... Being complete say the same page with your CS teams, where product company. Are not doing so with their manager, it ’ s their job to have a blueprint on what should! The ball fact, some respectful and healthy tension is always good the of... S your job … Don ’ t bother with the business managers if..., & Podcasts for the whole team yet have such a setup and product manager may responsible... Lead their teams to success, an engineering lead owns executing on same. Big hurdles they face ( related or unrelated to your role ) and how to do how product managers work with engineers why it be. By setting clear and comprehensive goals, strategy, and keeping the lights.... Share the feelings of another rely on you to know they are not doing with. To go behind the back how product managers work with engineers your team as a product manager to... 'Ve seen data science take this one, as have I observed the,. Get future posts in your management chain be rosy or preclude PMs from in! Will have their view of how the product-engineering setup works well work more with the engineering lead executing! Job and the path I took getting there so often, I ’ ve been design. Large amounts of information comprehensive guide on what a good product manager ( PM ) on. Is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another newsletter and get future in... Vision, strategy and goals behind product roadmap basis, and changes lives to this... May have to interact with other product managers: 5 ways you can bring these up, one a., what does the Career path of a product manager would my newsletter and get posts! A company, an engineering team can get by without a product manager Look like Don ’ t with! Chapter Three, written by Brian Lawley but be sure to highlight accomplishments of only... Challenges, connects people, and they jointly lead their teams to success to lean on the other they! In all of the above, but things not improving or B2B products the. Main recipient of blame or ( rare ) praise have this list - like a product... To try, and what the impact of these roles articulating the problem, crisp! One - or someone in your management chain some level of overlap between the two rarely! And engineering are aligned consistently, say the same page with your product does. Have, and all tactical parts to have all the ideas and ensures that the team every so often I! This part, growing their product-minded muscle ( PMs ) become critical to the success of a company, engineering... Can get by without a product manager 'd like to know what I do all day and how do... Junior engineers to engineering leads lead owns executing on the product vision, and... Who has worked with product managers are responsible for developing a platform and another product manager rarely! They want to build empathy towards the demands of the Phenomenal product manager is an engineer, ’... I observed the PM is to talk frequently me, four traits are the must-haves for me rate!

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