The relationship between product engineering and product management

Product engineering and product management

Definition

Innovation

Practical Advice for Product Managers

  • Don’t get into the technical solution unless you have earned the right to meddle. A product manager should have some technical knowledge of your product, but this is not your area of expertise. The experts are in the product engineering team. Therefore, avoid presenting technical solutions to the engineering team unless this team is open to receive your suggestions, and even so, the more time you spend thinking and discussing about the technical aspects of your product, the less time you will have to learn about your companies’ objectives and your clients’ problems and needs.
  • Take engineers into conversations with customers and users. As part of your daily life as a product manager, you should always talk to your customers and users to understand how your product solves their problems or meets their needs, and how you can make your product look even better. Engineers love to go to these conversations very much. It is a very cool experience for them to see real people using software they have developed. They will be even more engaged in the mission of making a better product.
  • Always make data-driven decisions. Whether it’s data from your product access and usage, or data from your customer and user conversations, use data to make your decisions and present it to the team. This will give more consistency to the items you will place on your product roadmap.
  • Learn to take out the excess. Always look for the minimum product or the minimum functionality, ie try to implement as little as possible to achieve your business objective.
  • Be present. It is critical to be with the product engineering team or at least as accessible as possible to the team. During product development, doubts will inevitably arise and if you are not present, either the team stops, or they will implement as they think it should be, which may differ from what you had planned.
  • Provide the team feedback about the product. You, as a product manager, know how your product is doing, how many users it has, what these users are thinking of it, how this product is helping the company achieve the goals. Tell this periodically to the product engineering team. As a result, you will be giving context and purpose to the team.
  • Negotiate the rewriting and maintenance stories. The engineering team, if it is a good team — attuned to good software engineering practices evolution and always following what’s new in the software development industry — will always find better ways to implement each piece of the product. If it is dependent only on the engineering team, the product backlog will only have stories about technical improvement. This is good, it shows that you are working with a great engineering team. However, you should use the previous item to provide the team with product context, ie to show that there are certain definite goals for the product that you as a team have to achieve, and therefore you should always release new features in it. There must be a balance between maintenance and rewriting stories, and new features. I’ve read in many places something like: “define X% of the time for maintenance and rewriting stories”. I don’t like to make this suggestion because I believe that every moment of the product requires a different balance, and it’s up to the product manager and his engineering team to talk and mutually agree on this appropriate balance at each stage. Remember the importance of finding a good balance, as this will avoid the famous technical debt that, as it grows, will slow down the product engineering team.

Oh, and there’s one more thing!

Digital Product Management Book

Mentoring and advice on digital product development

Digital product development advisor, mentor, board member. And open water swimmer!

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Joca Torres

Joca Torres

Digital product development advisor, mentor, board member. And open water swimmer!

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