Written by : Shyvee Shi on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)
📍 What does a PM (Product Manager) do?
PMs articulate the WHY through strategy, define the WHAT through prioritization, and play a supporting role for the HOW.
📍 What does an EM (Engineering Manager) do?
EMs work with their teams to figure out HOW the product should be built (e.g., tech stack, frameworks, and architecture, etc.), WHO builds it and WHEN it will ship.
🔑 What are the expectations of an EM in a Tech organisation?
▪️ Active involvement in product brainstorming
▪️ Highlight technical complexity of a solution
▪️ Drive technical execution and decisions
▪️ Empathy for user and business needs
▪️ Manage sprint planning + retro
▪️ Embrace big picture thinking
▪️ Assume positive intent
In a software shop, many roles cross paths on a daily basis but not more than the Engineering Manager (EM)’s and the Product Manager (PM)’s path.
🤝 This partnership is the one that not only ensures successful delivery of software but also things like motivation, transparency, alignment, prioritization, innovation and everything in between.
Starting from exploring the importance of this partnership, to setting the right expectations and sharing best practices.
Here are five tips to strengthen the partnership: 👇
1 Build a relationship
This is one of the most critical relationships you will ever have at work. And just like any other relationship, you get what you give. Do not leave it up to chance. Get to know each other, understand each other’s goals, priorities, communication preferences, working style, etc. Schedule regular sync-up meetings and invest the time to deepen the relationship.
2 Get on the same page
Make sure you represent a united front and be the cheerleaders for the team. There is nothing worse than a conflicting set of priorities for a team and ensuring that doesn’t happen starts with you two.
3 Assume Positive Intent (API)
The heading says it all. It’s busy, there is a lot going on at all times. There are many communication channels and oftentimes you end up doing or saying something that the other person doesn’t agree with. It’s okay. Assume positive intent. Reach out, verify, and reassure the trust.
4 Communicate early and frequently
This one cannot be emphasized enough. There should be a direct line of communication between the EM and the PM. Share even if you think it’s something trivial. Share your concerns, ideas, progress, feedback, and any other developing stories necessary.
5 Shorten the feedback loop
🤝 The HOW part is a collaboration as both sides need input from each other to choose the optimal solution.
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