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