Engineers - How to Best Support Product Managers During an Integration
8 February, 2019
PM's become the membrane for other teams that eventually overlap with your team. While they do not hold a single set of responsibilities, a PM helps you to move a project forward, validating the hours that you spend on impact. As an engineer, you must figure out where you can build that overlap and move the project forward. At the end of the day, you are responsible for product and how well they understand the parts of the product being created.
- To scope a problem together with an engineer I ask the trick question of, 'How is the most super person in your rear going to explain this problem step by step?'.
- The advice that I give to the PM is to ask the same set of questions that I ask myself to figure out that initial question on my own.
- With their responses, we are able to discuss the process and come up with a better method if necessary, but working together to do so.
- Start with the basics, then move into more difficult concepts.
- Be repetitive. You will have to explain how the procedure works several times over before coming to a solid understanding.
- When I ask the PM trick questions about explaining processes, we both become smarter by thinking through the problem. A big part of the exchange is making it an interactive learning experience instead of not understanding it yet.
- The worst thing that can happen by asking your PM to confront these questions is that they will feel insecure about the traction that they have with you and may not feel technical enough.
- Personally, I believe that it does not matter if a PM knows the technical skills, as long as they have an abstract knowledge of the right questions to ask.
- It may feel like you are wasting your time explaining all of this background information, but if you do not opt for taking a shortcut, you will see the benefit in the end. The PM will also appreciate the communication and therefore, you will receive higher quality work from them.
- Starting with the basics in a complicated process puts people at ease. They will trust in you because you are taking the time to actually explain things in detail. That will change the relationship you have with your PM. They will likewise be better able to explain how the parts of the product work and suddenly they will be able to expound this to the customer as well.
- To me, a PM is a lot like a swiss army knife, in that while it can be opened, it may not be the best tool, but if you can open it, you can use it.
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