One of the responsibilities of product managers is to work with other teams within their organization. This can be a pretty tough challenge, given the unique cultures and values of each department. So much so when it come with software engineers. Needless to say, working with these guys requires much more than a pleasing personality. If you are a product manager who finds it a bit difficult to work with this particular team, read on and get some tips on how you can effectively work with software engineers.
You Plan, They Build
While it can be really tempting to overthink the product, you have to remember that you need to have boundaries at time, especially when it comes to the implementation of features. Yes, it is your job to ensure that the product comes out exactly how you planned it, but you need to trust that your engineering team knows that they are doing and that they will be able to deliver.
Software engineers are very passionate in building the things that your target customers will use, and if you want to be able to bring out the best in your engineers and work harmoniously with them, you need to entrust the work to them. You might even want to give them extra work or challenge them to push the limits of what your technology is capable of doing. You will be surprised at how much they would grab the opportunity to face new challenges.
Plan Well, Save Time
It can be very frustrating for engineers to code then re-code when certain things have not been thoroughly considered during the planning stage. A product manager needs to ensure that they come up with realistic expectations before they give the engineering team the go signal. It is also important to always remember your role and theirs, that you are non-technical and they are technical. Keeping this delineation in mind all the time is your key to having better and more efficient coordination with your software engineers. You tell them what the product should have and be able to do for your users and your engineering guys will be the ones to make it happen.
Say Sorry When You Need To
There will be times when you will be asking your engineers to come up with a feature that your users want but then decide that to take it out, or have them create a feature a certain way when it should work differently. When this happens, a sincere apology is something that your software engineers will greatly appreciate. Admitting a mistake is never a sign of weakness. In fact, saying sorry when there has been confusion, a wrong decision, or a sudden change on your end shows that you are a great collaborator who does not let your title or pride dictate your behavior.
At the end of the day, you and your software engineers will have to work together and the way you coordinate with them will affect both your productivity and efficiency as a product manager. Obtaining new skills from a product management workshops like that ones offered by Product School is another way to ensure product success and to gain the trust and respect of the teams you work with.
Michelle Rubio has been writing for SMEs across the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK for the last five years. She is a highly-experienced blogger and SEO copywriter, writing business blogs for various industries such as marketing, law, health and wellness, beauty, and education, particularly on product management training such as those offered by ProductSchool.com.