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Product Managers: Working with Engineers To Ship Great Products
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Product Managers: Working with Engineers To Ship Great Products

Product Managers: Working with Engineers To Ship Great Products

Building Great Products
August 7, 2021
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5 Jogs
Why it matters?

Product managers are responsible for the product vision, but engineers have a lot to say about how that vision is executed. Engineers are critical in shaping the best possible experience for customers. But how do you get them on board with your ideas and make sure they're delivering what you want?

Working in a collaborative environment

The most successful product managers know how to work as part of the team. They set clear goals and expectations for both engineers and themselves, always learning more about their engineering process. Working collaboratively means working with what they're good at--making sure they understand business needs, using that knowledge to come up with ideas for features or improvements, and then helping engineers translate those concepts into code.

Walking developers through tradeoffs

Engineers are focused on getting things done efficiently--and sometimes that efficiency can get in the way of delivering great user experiences. Successful PMs walk developers through some of these potential tradeoffs so you don't have cut corners just because it'll be faster.

Making sure everyone's on board with the plan

Product managers don't do everything themselves, but successful PMs can take charge of their projects by making sure all team members are onboard. Successful PMs have an open line of communication and make it easy for engineers to contribute ideas--both big and small. Including engineers in the product development process early on and having open lines of communication are critical for the success of any product development cycle.

We've gathered some of the best content available online for you to learn some best practices when communicating with engineering to deliver great products. We've summarized all the content so you can efficiently find the best content you want to spend time on to maximize your learning and start delivering great products.

The Content

Each link contains a summary produced by one of Joggo's geniuses so you can decide where to spend your time learning more

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

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The Summary

Transitioning from software engineering to PM

  • PM is a mix of UX, tech, and business
  • Role involves defining product roadmaps, directly connecting with customers, working with people
  • A next step in your career should not have too many drastic changes
  • Emphasize shared qualities between engineering and PM
  • Take advice from peers and managers

PM key capabilities

  • Focus on the what, not the how: understand the purpose of the feature
  • Lead with empathy: hold meaningful conversations
  • Juggle between details and the big picture
  • Make decision based on customer feedback
November 28, 2015
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Lulu Cheng
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Getting to “technical enough” as a product manager

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The Summary

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.

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Rushabh Doshi
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Software Quality, Bugs, and SLAs

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The Summary

Software development is full of defects and evolving infrastructure. Framework to solve quality issues:

Quality

  • Correctness: solve intended problem
  • Performance: latency and speed matter
  • Reliability: avoid crashes and upload failures
  • Craft: create a find-tuned, polished experience

Prioritization

Have a framework to determine how quickly the bug should be addressed: - P0: Bug to be solved now, including services going down or major security defects - P1: Within 24 hours - P2: Within a week - P3: Within two to four weeks - P4: Catchall priority into the next sprint

Continuous improvement

  • Control the number of bugs while continuing to do feature development
  • Set a target of how many SLA violations you allow

Accountability

  • Ensure that leadership and peer functions are involved
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Julie Zhuo
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Medium

How to Work with Engineers

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The Summary

Engineers are the magicians of the crew, who take plans and implement them. As a designer, it is important to form good relationships with engineers.

How to Work with Engineers

  • Engineers are the translators of ideas into reality
  • It's easier if the engineer you’re working with appreciates good design
    • The more excited an engineer is about a design, the quicker it’ll be implemented
  • Understand engineering constraints early
    • Setting context on what's exploratory and what's locked down helps engineers to architect code that is faster to write or more flexible to modify later
  • Work extremely closely with the engineer
    • Sit right next to them - issues surface and get dealt with much faster
  • Be complete with your designs
    • Make sure your design solutions are complete and consider edge cases
October 1, 2018
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Sachin Rekhi
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Sachin Rekhi

The Art of Being Compelling as a Product Manager

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The Summary

The substance in product management (PM) is the hard skills needed to learn and excel at building great products (i.e. customer discovery). Style is the soft skills needed to get things done (i.e. influence without authority). Most product managers tend to undermine the importance of style. How can managers learn to improve?

Be Compelling

Most of the soft skills associated with PM involve making a compelling argument to the stakeholders. How?

Framing

Present a particular perspective to steer the audience to the desired conclusion.

Social Proof

Leverage the shared opinion of others to convince key stakeholders.

Goal Seek

Redefine your initiative in terms of a decision maker's own goals.

Inception

Make another believe the idea was their own.

Citation

Summarize first-party research succinctly. Surfacing too much data will dilute the argument.

Narration

Recast your argument as an engaging story.