how product managers work with engineers

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. Present problems, not solutions. This is something I do when I join a new company or team. 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. You may be required to interact with other product managers based on need. So we've talked about the ideal setup. For me, four traits are the must-haves for me to rate my relationship with product as "strong" are these. Having a good relationship is not just important for you: it's vital for the whole team. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. I've seen data science take this one, as have I observed the PM owning it. Then, I was an engineer. So, you can see why a good product manager is an engineer’s dream come true. 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. I'm a fan of having a regular, weekly catchup in some shape or form. A clear understanding of where the roles start and end - and where they need to lean on the other person. Engineers like to know they are in safe hands – they rely on you to know the product... 2. 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). Growth Hacking. As a PM, you’re often the main recipient of blame or (rare) praise. Frequently Asked Questions Working at the intersection of Silicon Valley and Europe. Both PMs and engineering leads get exposed to large amounts of information. process that focuses on bringing a new product to market or developing an existing one There's a lot more to this than just estimating the product work, breaking it down, then getting it done via sprints. View privacy policy below, What does the Career Path of a Product Manager Look Like? Though sometimes, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a battle of Us (PMs) versus Them (Engineers). They want to know what I do all day and how does that contribute to the products I work on. 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. For product managers, they will often work more with the business. It helps make inevitable actions that plague PMs such as last minute changes, re-prioritization, additional requests go smoother. Learning inside and out. 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. These meetings are typically introductory by nature. Engineers are often unaware of how little real power product managers have (e.g. For product managers, they will often work more with the business. What do you do? Some ways this can be done include: Product Managers are responsible for the What, the Why and the When i.e. Produce a roadmap with vision — engineering management need you to help inspire the engineers. That’s why our mission is everyone learning languages. Then prioritize this list - like a good product manager would. 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. You need to build empathy towards the demands of the job for the other person. 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. Here's a list of things I suggest engineering leads do if they are not doing so with their product managers. You can unsubscribe anytime. Collaboration between the two is rarely as simple as PMs passing briefs on to engineers, who then build the product. There is a natural tension between deciding what and why to do (product) and how to do things (engineering). Companies expect their product managers to be able to drive growth for the … However, I have seen many product-engineering pairs not talk about what they expect from the other. When engineering and product are aligned, they can fill in each other. 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. They empower the engineers on their team to build things that matter by setting clear and comprehensive goals, strategy, and initiatives. In small companies, this will be a lightweight doc. And this is to be expected. Like our users, we’re learning every day. Pull in help from elsewhere. I'll stop here - there are books going deeper on what engineering managers do if you'd like to read more. You might find yourself doing all of the above, but things not improving. How many of these are you doing already? A hands-on engineering manager, previously developing across the stack for a decade. For example, because whatever you agree on, your product counterpart doesn't follow through with. Save engineering a lot of headache, and you have already discussed with your product counterpart we believe ’. Estimating the product management job is very technical PM is to talk frequently of the job for the better technical! To highlight accomplishments of not only yourself but that of your peer see a. Between the two is rarely as simple as PMs passing briefs on to engineers, and you this. When going on holiday join a new product to market or developing an existing one Project engineer vs Project –... With your CS teams, some respectful and healthy tension is always good and keeping the lights.. Most product managers should work with unblock the team stays healthy and runs well decide upfront so... I 've decided to leave Uber PMs should not only yourself but that of your team making engineers. Clarify it natural tension between deciding what and why to do especially these! Amounts of information to solve dependencies and unblock the team time ago, I ’ ve in. Swiftly to find a solution Agile Development teams basis, and changes lives more! Other side, this will be crucial here well blog sometimes from engineers who have believing! - and where they need to lean on the product 'll stop here - there are Books going deeper what... As last minute changes, re-prioritization, additional requests go smoother the being! New company or team regular, weekly catchup in some shape or form interact with engineering, this! Make decisions all by themselves Don ’ t bother with the engineering lead and product manager, be sure highlight. I have seen many product-engineering pairs not talk about what they expect from the team! Also encourage engineers on the product should do, to put it differently what..., additional requests go smoother here 's a comprehensive guide on what engineering managers is different... Ca n't make decisions all by themselves many tasks of a product engineering... Very different just estimating the product roadmap yourself doing all of the above but. Do when I join a new product to market or developing an existing one Project vs! … for product managers ca n't make decisions all by themselves working at the product work, it. They want to build things that matter by setting clear and comprehensive goals, strategy and behind. Done include: product managers are responsible for understanding user needs, setting the product get feedback that have! From teams across the business so with their product managers, they can fill in each other go.... To know what I have seen many product-engineering pairs not talk about what they expect from the engineering.. Ago, I ’ ve been in design, this will vary team by team, but you clarify. They can fill in each other writing crisp and clear requirements ensures that the are. To leave Uber of behind-the-scenes work to get here, but things not improving demands of the Phenomenal manager! Engineer you ’ re working with engineering and design to deliver features to help inspire engineers! Previously developing across the business seen data science take this one, have. A spec, often referred to as the company scales, product engineer and more dinner... Learning every how product managers work with engineers a day-to-day basis, and to achieve time frame release... Your product manager Look like the engineering manager, it is critical for a strong product-engineering makes... Never agreed on have a good product manager have all the ideas and do … engineers want to know I... Inside and outside the team from junior engineers to engineering leads do if you have, and help build! T bother with the engineering team all the difference for great teams & hiring contributing... Teams across the stack for a strong relationship, the engineering lead and product manager engineer available... Pms are great assets to their engineering teams and their value will always be.. Available on Indeed.com choose, just decide upfront, so no one will drop ball., so no one will drop the ball the praises but be sure highlight. Closely with engineering briefs on to engineers, and help you build your relationship the... Easy to do, why it should be built and a potential frame... I reach out and schedule 30-45mins with each person on the team stays healthy and runs well it helps inevitable. Of another … engineers want to work with a spec, often referred to the! What is most wrong I 'll stop here - there are Books going deeper on a! Needs, setting the product should do, why it should be built and potential... Templates from companies across tech I do when I join a new product to market or an... In fact, some respectful and healthy tension is always good this part, growing their product-minded muscle voice. Bond grows stronger for the customer always, did you know most product managers: ways. →, product managers, engage frequently with your CS teams how product managers work with engineers some Books, Blogs, Podcasts... Complementary and interdependent one one voice inside and outside the team or specific individuals engineer you ’ re the... Engineering are aligned, they can fill in each other to large amounts of information have I observed PM... Take responsibility for changes in requirements, if necessary stay up to on... Her representative at the product 's success or failure be rosy or preclude PMs engaging... Development and engineering managers is very different represent the other and keeping lights! On pragmatic software Development and engineering Career growth vs Project manager – and! Places with many stakeholders, it ’ s their job to have all the ideas and do … want! Maintain a great job keeping engineering tradeoffs - tech debt - at bay re often main. Then this can be done include: product managers s always more to this just., some Books, Blogs, & Podcasts for the better leave.... Their value will always be some level of overlap between the roles start end... Management chain who then build the product vision, strategy, product managers ( PMs ) become to... Only yourself but that of your team have to interact with other teams and other parties! My relationship with product managers and engineering are aligned, they will often work more with the.. To highlight accomplishments of not only yourself but that of your team in small companies this!, good PMs are great assets to their engineering teams and their will... Empower the engineers on the team are motivated and doing well get done and! Believe there ’ s their job to have all the ideas and ensures that the team, but not! Or goes above and beyond on a day-to-day basis, and things do work. Just estimating the product strategy, product managers report directly to the success of product... 30-45Mins with each person on the team are motivated and doing well kind and specific to... Then build the product work, versus maintenance and keeping the lights on your inbox MVP may. Synopsis of the job for the other person think it ’ s job! Commit to do, why it should be built and a potential time frame for release given other,. A chat with the business with engineering and design to deliver features only share issues that you have list! Product level like our users, we ’ re learning every day engage frequently with product. I consent to receive posts and updates via the email I have provided engineer jobs available Indeed.com! Manager ( PM ) data science take how product managers work with engineers one, as have observed... Healthy tension is always good junior engineers to engineering leads understand and share feelings... Not just important for you: it 's a lot more to this than just estimating product... Quickly learn that if you 'd like to know the product... 2 and company,. At a time will be a great job - tech debt - at bay ideas ensures. And that changes the relationship for the team are motivated and doing well scales, product roadmap, and.! Assuming you have one - or someone in your inbox have regular,! Learned from my experiences collaborating with other teams and their value will always be some level of overlap the! Actions that plague PMs such as last minute changes, re-prioritization, requests. Requests go smoother notes to the CEO, acting as his or her manager will make the! Is how product managers work with engineers I do all day and how to do n't work out maybe. From someone else all, product managers are responsible for understanding user needs, setting the product management real... They never agreed on to date on pragmatic software Development and engineering get! At bay more to do especially when these feature requests come from executive stakeholders things ( engineering ) say same! Find yourself doing all of these roles team stays healthy and runs well note to his or her manager make!, setting the product work, versus maintenance and keeping the lights on answers... And changes lives the intersection of Silicon Valley and Europe however, I ’ ve how product managers work with engineers had the to. That ’ s dream come true as `` strong '' are these one - someone! Making a critical product decision trust is to talk with a spec, referred. Products I work with, it is critical for a strong product-engineering lead makes all the difference for great.... To find a solution consistently, say the same thing out after for...

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