Arrow icon
Ness Labs: Make the most of your mind
Learn more about Joggo

A Summary of

Getting to “technical enough” as a product manager

by
Lulu Cheng
View original

Job descriptions for product managers often ask for someone "technical enough", but what does this mean?

Establish a baseline of technical understanding & invest more over time

Being "technical enough" involves the following: 1. Trace a user issue back to the underlying problem. 2. Estimate how long it will take to build A vs. B. 3. Anticipate implementation challenges. 4. Brainstorm potential solutions to technical problems. 5. Identify opportunities that arise from new technologies. Relative importance will vary depending on the product.

Some next steps roughly in order of importance:

  1. Start from a place of curiosity.
  2. Appreciate the creativity in engineering.
  3. Set aside time to pick an engineer's brain.
  4. Synthesize what you've learned into a shareable format.
  5. Use feedback & bug reports to pattern match different issues.
  6. Familiarize yourself with bits of the code base.
  7. Focus on core concepts.
  8. Develop a thick skin.

Build credibility by figuring out how you can add immediate value

Learning new skills take time. Identify how you can make an immediate impact. Here are some possibilities to consider: 1. Dig into the data. 2. Do the blocking & tackling work that keeps trains moving. 3. Lean into your experiences & strengths. 4. Provide a shared framework for decision-making. 5. Take the time to give your team broader context.

Related content
See all posts
Arrow icon
/
Jennifer Emick
/

Career Development Doc

Read more
June 20, 2016
/
Sachin Rekhi
/

3 Types of Product Managers: Builders, Tuners, Innovators

Read more
November 28, 2015
/
Lulu Cheng
/

Getting to “technical enough” as a product manager

Read more
February 19, 2013
/
Sachin Rekhi
/
Sachin Rekhi

The Most Underrated Product Management Skill: Influence Without Authority

Read more
/
Ellen Chisa
/
Aha!

The VP of Product vs. the Product Manager

Read more
/
Liza Mash Levin
/

The road to Product: How my engineering background got me to product management and the lessons I’ve learned.

Read more
November 28, 2015
/
Lulu Cheng
/

Getting to “technical enough” as a product manager

Read more
/
Rushabh Doshi
/

Software Quality, Bugs, and SLAs

Read more
/
Julie Zhuo
/
Medium

How to Work with Engineers

Read more
October 1, 2018
/
Sachin Rekhi
/
Sachin Rekhi

The Art of Being Compelling as a Product Manager

Read more