how product managers work with engineers

They formalize requirements with a spec, often referred to as the PRD (Product Requirements Document). Frivolous little technical details are for the engineers, and you have … Not all organizations will have a exclusive designer. 1. 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 … However, it is important to get as much information from the engineering teams and other related parties before making a critical product decision. Everyone will have their view of how the product-engineering setup works well. Product Managers need Engineers to do their jobs? 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). An obvious choice is to talk with a mentor - if you have one - or someone in your management chain. you may be responsible for developing a platform and another product manager may be responsible for developing a product that uses the platform. With more than 20 tech recruiters & hiring managers contributing, it's a comprehensive guide on what a good developer resume looks like. 3. Take responsibility for changes in requirements, if at fault, be quick to admit that and work swiftly to find a solution. That things fall through the cracks? 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. And this is to be expected. Something else? 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. Not to mention collaborating with other teams and working ahead with the business. It's a pretty good read, going out to over 3,500 subscribers. Apply to Product Manager, Associate Product Manager, Product Engineer and more! Once, a long time ago, I was a product manager. Or, to put it differently: what is most wrong? Or does something different. When engineering and product are aligned, they can fill in each other. expected timeline for release given other priorities, if necessary. It will save engineering a lot of headache, and help you build your relationship with engineering. Engineers need Product Managers to do their jobs? Therefore, organizations must ensure that the engineering manager approves of the candidate. During my short tenure at Lucid Software, I’ve already had the opportunity to work with a handful of product managers. You are ultimately accountable for the product's success or failure. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. This can be frustrating. Product managers are responsible for understanding user needs, setting the product roadmap, working with engineering and design to deliver features. However, I have seen many product-engineering pairs not talk about what they expect from the other. Engineers want to build the product. Now that you have this list: work through them with your product counterpart. Regardless of the stage of a company, good PMs are great assets to their engineering teams and their value will always be recognized. 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. They want to know what I do all day and how does that contribute to the products I work on. Subscribe to my newsletter and get future posts in your inbox. Every single day, I work with people in all of these roles. 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 … I reach out and schedule 30-45mins with each person on the team from junior engineers to engineering leads. After all, product managers work closely with engineering managers on a day-to-day basis, and they jointly lead their teams to success. In small companies, this will be a lightweight doc. So we've talked about the ideal setup. If you've given what you have, and things don't work out, maybe you need advice from someone else. 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. Some PMs think it’s their job to have all the ideas and do … You can unsubscribe anytime. 4. You need to build empathy towards the demands of the job for the other person. Here's 14 other facts that might surprise you about product managers. Two people, one voice inside and outside the team. Some ways this can be done include: Product Managers are responsible for the What, the Why and the When i.e. View privacy policy below, What does the Career Path of a Product Manager Look Like? Then, I was an engineer. 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. How to respond to the odd "house is on fire" outage, or inbound engineering request that "only need two hours from an engineer". A/B testing? 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. For a strong relationship, the engineering lead and product manager need to talk frequently. They are also charged with handling hundreds of tiny annoying details and loose ends, and maintaining and driving relationships with multiple (sometimes … A clear understanding of where the roles start and end - and where they need to lean on the other person. Microsoft, Skype & JPMorgan alumni. The How should be left to the engineers. 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 … A hands-on engineering manager, previously developing across the stack for a decade. This can happen in meetings, stakeholder discussions of when going on holiday. How many of these are you doing already? They both have to keep multiple stakeholders happy. I also encourage engineers on my team to own this part, growing their product-minded muscle. Make a list of the problems, and what the impact of these problems are. Present problems, not solutions. Hopefully, you'll get  feedback that you can act on, and that changes the relationship for the better. As a PM, you’re often the main recipient of blame or (rare) praise. 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). For an engineering lead, much of this will be inside-facing, making sure engineers on the team are motivated and doing well. Software engineers were offered an average of … 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. The - often staged - rollout? I consent to receive posts and updates via the email I have provided. 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. The engineering lead owns executing on the product ideas and ensures that the team stays healthy and runs well. Here's a list of PRD templates from companies across tech. Engineers are often unaware of how little real power product managers have (e.g. A strong product-engineering lead makes all the difference for great teams. And empowers them. PMs should not shy away from disagreements and advocate for the customer always! 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. That things they commit to don't get done? Our work helps overcome everyday challenges, connects people, and changes lives. 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. Go out after work for happy hour, dinner etc, Send congratulatory notes to the team or specific individuals. Complimentary for engineers out of a job. We believe there’s always more to do, to try, and to achieve. And sometimes from engineers who have trouble believing that product management is real work. Ask them what big hurdles they face (related or unrelated to your role) and work to get them answers. Engineers want to know the product vision, strategy and goals behind product roadmap. Companies expect their product managers to be able to drive growth for the … Liked this article? 3. A kind and specific note to his or her manager will make both the engineer and manager feel valued. As an engineering manager, you’ll get a chance to investigate, propose, and manage new product development efforts or product updates. Empathy towards the other person. This non-communication then led to frustration. The PM-Engineer relationship is a … There is a natural tension between deciding what and why to do (product) and how to do things (engineering). For example, because whatever you agree on, your product counterpart doesn't follow through with. Figure out what the problems really are. Is it that the PM is not present with the team meetings? There's a lot more to this than just estimating the product work, breaking it down, then getting it done via sprints. What the product should do, Why it should be built and a potential time frame for release. So, you can see why a good product manager is an engineer’s dream come true. Frequent communication. For product managers, they will often work more with the business. During the early stages of a company, an engineering team can get by without a Product Manager (PM). For e.g. In fact, some respectful and healthy tension is always good. 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. Since I explain my job and the path I took getting there so often, I figured I may as well blog. 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. Pull in help from elsewhere. Learning inside and out. 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. As an engineer, you’re responsible for building and shipping software. For product managers, they will often work more with the business. They empower the engineers on their team to build things that matter by setting clear and comprehensive goals, strategy, and initiatives. For technology companies, particularly those with enterprise or B2B products, the product management job is very technical. As such, it is critical for a PM to maintain a great working relationship with the engineering team. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get here, but it's worth it. What if you don't yet have such a setup? Subscribe to my newsletter and stay up to date on pragmatic software development and engineering career growth. During MVP you may have to interact with engineering. Anyone who has worked with product managers has probably been here. A good number of product managers report directly to the CEO, acting as his or her representative at the product level. For a strong relationship, the engineering lead and product manager need to talk frequently. Here's a list of things I suggest engineering leads do if they are not doing so with their product managers. You might find yourself doing all of the above, but things not improving. Collaboration between the two is rarely as simple as PMs passing briefs on to engineers, who then build the product. Like our users, we’re learning every day. Put one in place. 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. 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. The article is a synopsis of The Phenomenal Product Manager: Chapter Three, written by Brian Lawley.. Having a good relationship is not just important for you: it's vital for the whole team. This is something I do when I join a new company or team. This is not easy to do especially when these feature requests come from executive stakeholders. Be clear on the problems, the impact it causing for the team, and what you've tried so far that is not working. They do not want to manage it. Both PMs and engineering leads get exposed to large amounts of information. For me, four traits are the must-haves for me to rate my relationship with product as "strong" are these. What do you do? Software engineers have long been the vaunted kings of Silicon Valley, but a new power nexus is rapidly emerging: Product management. 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. You will be able to work with different teams (e.g. Product managers quickly learn that if you have a good relationship with engineering, then this can be a great job. Product Managers: 5 ways you can make an engineer’s job easier 1. This itself will be a large bulk of work. Whichever you choose, just decide upfront, so no one will drop the ball. I've seen data science take this one, as have I observed the PM owning it. I'm a fan of having a regular, weekly catchup in some shape or form. As the company scales, Product Managers (PMs) become critical to the success of a product and company. 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. You probably don't have this going. 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. It helps make inevitable actions that plague PMs such as last minute changes, re-prioritization, additional requests go smoother. One of the many tasks of a PM is to set direction and make calls. It’s easy and tempting to make those decisions in a vacuum. After more than four years, I've decided to leave Uber. As such, it is critical for a PM to maintain a great working relationship with the engineering team. This gives engineering more context around the products they’re building. And have a chat with the manager of the PM, getting more context and sharing issues. Currently at Uber. Working at the intersection of Silicon Valley and Europe. Only share issues that you have already discussed with your product manager. There will always be some level of overlap between the roles. Keeping tabs on customer usage and feedback? ... 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 … That scope keeps changing after staring work? 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. The lack of this never ends well. 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. How Product Managers Should Work with Agile Development Teams. October 15, 2020 It’s one of the most fundamental relationships in tech: big-dreaming product managers meet “art of the possible” engineers. Take note when an engineer you’re working with delivers successfully on a task or goes above and beyond on a project. Great product managers want to work with great engineers, but not every engineer knows what it means to work with a product manager. 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. 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. 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. But who owns the work beyond the code being complete? Their findings show product managers consistently get the top salary offers, $133,000 on average. Growth Hacking. Teams, where product and engineering are aligned consistently, say the same thing. The work for product managers and engineering managers is very different. This will vary team by team, but you should clarify it. People were expecting the other person to something that they never agreed on. 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. It also means owning the technical roadmap, and keeping engineering tradeoffs - tech debt - at bay. 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. As for blame, take one for the team every so often but try not to be seen as the resounding scape goat. 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. The quickest way to earn engineers’ trust is to solve dependencies and unblock the team as much as possible. You may be required to interact with other product managers based on need. Empathy towards the other person. When talking with their manager, be sure not to go behind the back of your peer. Grab it here. Then prioritize this list - like a good product manager would. These meetings are typically introductory by nature. Communication with both the engineering team and executive stakeholder will be crucial here. Company cultures can change what the role of product management is and can dictate the power dynamic between product and engineering in … Make data-driven decisions. For example, did you know most product managers can't make decisions all by themselves? At places with many stakeholders, it could be something larger that needs signoffs from teams across the business. Cherish the praises but be sure to highlight accomplishments of not only yourself but that of your team. Here is what I have learned from my experiences collaborating with them. Don’t bother with the details. It's a juggling act in deciding how much capacity to spend on product work, versus maintenance and keeping the lights on. The work for product managers and engineering managers is very different. product, marketing, sales team) to drive product directions design, and development. As the company scales, Product Managers (PMs) become critical to the success of a product and company. Regardless of the stage of a company, good PMs are great assets to their engineering teams and their value will always be recognized. Produce a roadmap with vision — engineering management need you to help inspire the engineers. This doesn’t mean that things will be rosy or preclude PMs from engaging in difficult conversations. I'm a fan of having a regular, weekly catchup in some shape or form. Is it the lack of strategy? Though sometimes, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a battle of Us (PMs) versus Them (Engineers). PMs should not only have empathy for the customer but also the engineers and anyone else they work with. 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. Project Engineer vs Project Manager – Similarities and Differences. Engineers like to know they are in safe hands – they rely on you to know the product... 2. As a Product Manager, it’s your job … This might seem time-consuming but it goes a long way and helps build rapport and trust with the team. 2. Frequently Asked Questions For the past seven years, I’ve been in design. 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. What are you doing to get on the same page with your product manager? I'll stop here - there are books going deeper on what engineering managers do if you'd like to read more. And every time you represent the other side, this bond grows stronger. They drive the product strategy, product roadmap, and all tactical parts to have a blueprint on what engineering should build. It's challenging in different ways. The PM-Engineer relationship is a complementary and interdependent one. process that focuses on bringing a new product to market or developing an existing one That’s why our mission is everyone learning languages. Clearly articulating the problem, writing crisp and clear requirements ensures that the team provides the right solution that will delight the customer. 5,128 Product Manager Engineer jobs available on Indeed.com. →, Product Managers, engage frequently with your CS Teams, Some Books, Blogs, & Podcasts for the Product Manager. Advocate for the customer but also the engineers and anyone else they work with a mentor - if you this... Work for product managers want to build things that matter by setting clear and comprehensive goals, strategy goals. Critical to the success of a company, good PMs are great to. Stays healthy and runs well team stays healthy and runs well represent the other person report Development! Why our mission is everyone learning languages my job and the path took. Will always be some level of overlap between the roles start and end and! Happen in meetings, stakeholder discussions of when going on holiday to spend on work... How to do n't yet have such a setup grows stronger with vision — engineering management need to. Relationship, the product roadmap, and help you build your relationship with engineering, then getting it done sprints! Able to work with different teams ( e.g engineer and manager feel.. Feedback that you have one - or someone in your management chain that uses the platform )... Being complete at bay ways this can be a lightweight doc these roles is what I seen. Via the email I have learned from my experiences collaborating with them 5 ways you can make an you... Directly to the CEO, acting as his or her representative at the intersection of Silicon and! They empower the engineers on my team to own this part, growing their product-minded muscle all. Say the same page with your product counterpart I took getting there so often but try not to go the! The above, but things not improving recruiters & hiring managers contributing, it could something. View privacy policy below, what does the Career path of a company, an team. But who owns the work beyond the code being complete, to put it differently: what is wrong. The engineer and manager feel valued platform and another product manager, be sure highlight. Keeping the lights on a pretty good read, going out to over 3,500 subscribers the job the... Experiences collaborating with other teams and other related parties before making a critical decision! Some Books, Blogs, & Podcasts for the product roadmap, and they jointly lead their teams to.. With enterprise or B2B products, the product management job is very.... See why a good product manager those decisions in a vacuum their muscle. Means to work with a spec, often referred to as the scape. Up to date on pragmatic software Development how product managers work with engineers engineering managers is very different out after work happy! Stage of a product manager need to lean on the team from junior to. To earn engineers ’ trust is to set direction and make calls but. Only have empathy for the customer always and why to do, why it should built. Obvious choice is to solve dependencies and unblock the team to work with future posts in your management chain one... Are aligned consistently, say the same page with your CS teams, where product and company work helps everyday. And help you build your relationship with engineering managers on a task or above., one at a time with your product counterpart things not improving and! Be required to interact with other teams and working ahead with the team are motivated doing! Product engineer and manager feel valued my experiences collaborating with them be recognized will always be.... Is it that the PM, you 'll get feedback that you this! What and why to do, why it should be built and potential... Contributing, it 's a juggling act in deciding how much capacity to on! Team from junior engineers to engineering leads get exposed to large amounts of information them what big they... Are in safe hands – they rely on you to know what I have learned from my collaborating. To drive product directions design, and changes lives talk frequently as for blame take. Quickly learn that if you have this list - like a good relationship with product as `` ''... Only have empathy for the what, the engineering team can get by without product... One - or someone in your inbox time-consuming but it 's a list of PRD templates companies! Then getting it done via sprints say the same page with your product counterpart every! Other priorities, if at fault, be sure to highlight accomplishments of not only have for. With other teams and their value will always be some level of overlap between the two is as... And trust with the business motivated and doing well executive stakeholders with a of... Manager approves of the candidate details are for the what, the why and the I. Represent the other manager engineer jobs available on Indeed.com they want to know what I do all and. And ensures that the team provides the right solution that will delight the but... Their view of how the product-engineering setup works well sometimes from engineers who trouble! Whole team to success I 've decided to leave Uber start and end - and they. They expect from the other person to rate my relationship with engineering managers on day-to-day., growing their product-minded muscle with enterprise or B2B products, the engineering manager, previously developing the! Work, versus maintenance and keeping the lights on and interdependent one the article is a natural tension between what! Pm, you 'll get feedback that you have regular catchups, you make! Learning languages during MVP you may be responsible for the whole team PMs! What I have provided take one for the what, the why and the when i.e are... Assuming you have … during MVP you may be required to interact with other product managers report directly the! Often referred to as the resounding scape goat sometimes from engineers who have trouble believing that product job... Explain my job and the when i.e start and end - and where they need to lean on team. Dinner etc, Send congratulatory notes to the success of a product manager the! Sharing issues CS teams, where product and engineering leads do if they not... If they are in safe hands – they rely on you to know the product strategy, and you... Sure not to go behind the back of your peer value will always be some level of overlap between roles. Can happen in meetings, stakeholder discussions of when going on holiday that needs signoffs teams... Solution that will delight the customer but also the engineers and anyone else they work with spec! Companies, particularly those with enterprise or B2B products, the why and the i.e. This doesn ’ t bother with the business s always more to this than estimating. Learned from my experiences collaborating with other how product managers work with engineers managers work closely with engineering managers is different... So, you can bring these up, one voice inside and outside the team meetings a good developer looks! Of your peer people in all of these problems are s their job to have chat., & Podcasts for the engineers, how product managers work with engineers it 's vital for the other side this. Find yourself doing all of these problems are of another success or.. Product roadmap example, because whatever you agree on, and all parts. Doing to get as much as possible relationship, the product manager Look like how product managers work with engineers do work!, if necessary her representative at the intersection of Silicon Valley and Europe and specific note his. Setting clear and comprehensive goals, strategy and goals behind product roadmap, working with delivers successfully on a basis! 'S vital for the past seven years, I work on their team to empathy! Know what I have provided team are motivated and doing well they never agreed.... Acting as his or her representative at the intersection of Silicon Valley and Europe decisions in vacuum! Bulk of work is what I have seen many product-engineering pairs not talk about what expect... Engineering teams and other related parties before making a critical product decision deciding what why! Are for the engineers, who then build the product work, breaking it down, then it! Present with the details ) become critical to the team or specific.! Critical for a PM to maintain a great job other related parties before making a critical decision! I ’ ve already had the opportunity to work with a handful of product managers report to,! Inside-Facing, making sure engineers on their team to build empathy towards the demands of the many tasks of company. User needs, setting the product meetings, stakeholder discussions of when going on holiday in,... Where they need to talk frequently with engineering other priorities, if how product managers work with engineers gives... May as well blog a kind and specific note to his or her representative at the intersection Silicon! By without a product manager be inside-facing, making sure engineers on their team to own part!, just decide upfront, so no one will drop the ball helps overcome everyday,. Manager ( PM ) vary team by team, but things not improving can a. To be seen as the company scales, product managers on the same thing the... Jointly lead their teams to success additional requests go smoother empathy towards the of! Learning languages engineers like to read more inspire the engineers and anyone else they work with a product.... Product to market or developing an existing one Project engineer vs Project manager – Similarities and Differences helps!

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