We've just launched plato for individuals

🔥

login


Google Sign inLinkedIn Sign in

Don't have an account? 

Engineers - How to Best Support Product Managers During an Integration

Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Product Team

8 February, 2019

Paul Veugen, product manager at Color, illustrates his theory of why the best PM’s are those who understand the complexity of the problems that they solve. Not just the technical aspects, but with the outside world as well, through communication.

Problem

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.

Actions taken

  • 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.

Lessons learned

  • 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.

Related stories

How to Help Your Reports Grow and Pursue Their Goals
27 September

Himanshu Gahlot, Director of Engineering at Lambda School, shares how he used his own learnings to support his direct reports and help them grow in their careers.

Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Career Path
Himanshu Gahlot

Himanshu Gahlot

Director of Engineering at Lambda School

What Will Make You a Great Engineering Leader
27 September

Pete Murray, Principal Software Engineer at Electronic Arts, discusses what makes one a great engineering leader and singles out creating opportunities and motivating engineers as two key characteristics.

Leadership
Personal growth
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Pete Murray

Pete Murray

Principal Software Engineer at Electronic Arts

Hiring the Right Product Person for Your Team
18 August

Alessandro Pintaudi, Product Management Director at Payfit, dissects all the aspects of the hiring process that will enable you to hire a product person who will take your product to the next level.

Product Team
Hiring
Alessandro Pintaudi

Alessandro Pintaudi

Product Management Director at PayFit

Building a New Product Hub From Scratch
18 August

Alessandro Pintaudi, Product Management Director at Payfit, shares some of his tips for setting up a new product team from scratch at a location other than the headquarters.

Product Team
Alessandro Pintaudi

Alessandro Pintaudi

Product Management Director at PayFit

Managing an Engineer’s Career Development in a Fast-Paced Environment
2 August

Lloyd Holman, Head of Engineering at By Miles, shares some tips on how to manage an engineer’s career development as he highlights the importance of an individualized approach.

Career Path
High Performers
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Lloyd Holman

Lloyd Holman

Head Of Engineering at By Miles

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.