Product Management
August 23, 2018

How We Develop Great Product Manager/Engineer Relationships At The Workshore

One of the things that successful businesses are very good at is building healthy relationships with their employees, business associates, clients, and all those who contribute directly to the continued survival of the business. Even businesses with great products have failed because they couldn’t maintain good relations with those who matter.

We, at The Workshore, think that a positive relationship between the Product Manager (PM) and the engineer is necessary. It is important to build successful products. It is also crucial to build a team where amazing people want to work.

When the work runs smoothly, we are two people working together towards a common goal. We always appreciate each other’s contribution. But when it goes badly, the blame game starts, leading to ignored output, wasted work, frustration, and dissatisfaction.

PMs at the Workshore often say that it is very good to have engineers who care about developing a product which creates a great customer experience. And many engineers have told that working with PMs at The Workshore is always an amazing experience.

Here are 4 points to a positive PM/engineer relationship

Share The Credits

One of the major reasons why a relationship between an engineer and a PM can be spoiled is because PMs often hoard all the credits. They say that they have thought of all the ideas. PMs claim that they are the most important part of the project.

At The Workshore, we clearly share the leadership between the PM, engineers and the designers. Everyone has different roles, but we share our thoughts and ideas and come up with solutions together. Many times, we do have different points of view, but we understand that we are working together as a team to make a successful product.

One way we share the leadership is through our concept of Project Lead (PL). The PL can either be a PM or an Engineer of the team. The PL is in charge of the communication process, maintaining harmony and unity within the team. The Tech Lead can sometimes be the PL but it’s not always the case. One person is responsible for maintaining the team, while the other would be responsible to give technical direction.

Another way we share leadership is through the key results(KR). The KRs are the team goals shared across the company. We allocate those to the one who contributes the most to achieving the goals, whether it is an engineer, a designer or the PM.

With this process, everyone gets a chance to take leadership roles and get recognized for their ideas and work.

“The main purpose of The Workshore is to make the engineers independent and take care of processes and meetings. The PMs are really lenient in giving credits to them.”

Involve Engineers In Making Product Decisions

Some PMs think that it is only their responsibility to get the ideas for developing the products. They will talk directly to the designer and come up with an extraordinary plan and then give the idea to the engineers to implement it. When an engineer comes up with an idea, the PMs immediately reject it.

At The Workshore, the engineers have the freedom to give their ideas and can lead product management from the beginning of the product building process. Inputs and ideas are gathered from all the people across the company for planning the roadmap. We also involve all the engineers in the team in product research and design brainstorming during every stage of the project.

The engineers understand and value the decisions made for every product. The PMs appreciate when the engineers on the team also come forward with their valuable ideas for a project and give amazing technical solutions for it. We think that getting everybody on the same page about the goals and purpose of the business will help us achieve bigger and better things.

“I really think that involving engineers in product decisions have really resulted in good product outputs. It feels really great to include them in brainstorming ideas.”

“Engineers at The Workshore really acknowledge the fact that they are involved in the product building process. Instead of going to every person on the team individually, including the engineers, designers and the Project Managers all together in one meeting, gets easier and more efficient.”

 “The engineers in the company really do care about the Product Owner’s needs. They empathize with them during the whole product building process and really work hard on creating a balance.”

Provide Clear Roles And Support Them With Mutual Respect

A product development process can easily be disrupted if there are no clear roles of each individual and if there is a lack of respect. PMs often disrespect the engineers by telling them how the codes should work.

At The Workshore, we really care about clarifying the purpose, plan, and responsibility. When new people are hired, we cover some basics during the orientation. The PMs come up with the problems and the engineers come up with the solutions. We create a checklist of the responsibilities for the team leader so that it is clear whether the PM or the Project Leader will take the lead.

Giving mutual respect is a very important part of The Workshore culture. The PM never sets deadlines for the engineers without having their approval. The engineers patiently explain all the technical challenges to the PM and the engineer genuinely cares about its impact on the project. All the new engineers go through a leadership training session. It trains them to tackle situations with a sense of curiosity rather than the feeling of being right every time.

Clear Any Incompetencies And Help The Teammates To Grow

Many engineers in companies across the world think that the PMs are just bureaucratic and add inefficiency in the business. They have worked with PMs who give a lot of stress to the engineers with work without any proof that the work is worth it. Many times, PMs reject the project in the middle of the process because of a change of mind. This wastes a lot of time and work.

At The Workshore, the PMs always increase the productivity. We use our creativity to help all the team members to become effective and efficient. We use our software building process to make sure that we really understand the pain of the Product owners which we are working towards. We also make sure that all of us are on the same page in regard to the project’s goals so that unnecessary changes can be avoided at a later stage.

“I really love the fact that the Product Managers and the engineers work hand in hand. This helps the whole team to build successful products together.”

“The PMs always give honest feedback to the engineers because they genuinely want them to grow.”

A positive relationship between the PMs and the engineers is important for building high-quality products. A happy and well-adjusted workforce leads to better productivity. Sharing leadership roles, making decisions together, mutual respect and helping each other to succeed, can help you build a great team which thrives to deliver amazing products and attracts people.