The value of the relationship between Product Manager and Engineers

Product Management and Engineering must be on the same page on digital product development.

Engineering builds and maintains digital products. It defines the necessary technologies employed to develop them, like the programming languages, database, infrastructure, etc. Beyond these, engineering must determine the product architecture, which should support not only its current state but further future performances and scalability. The product manager gives the engineers the product’s vision prospect. Hence, they can define which architecture needs to be adopted to make it possible.

Product Management and Engineering must be on the same page on digital product development. These are some required highlights to achieve success on this relationship: 

Be cautious on influencing the technical solution

As a product manager, you might want to influence the technical solution, especially if you have a technical background. Be careful about this. Listen to the solutions that engineers have brought and share your contributions to the appropriate moments effectively. Always remember that your role is to encourage the team to suit technology with the product business purpose. Help them find lean alternatives to accomplish these objectives and let them bring the required innovation to solve business requirements. 

Bring the engineers into the context 

Establishing a context is essential to the team to be able to define effective solutions. A feature context should always be related to an impact, a strategic goal. We call it the product’s “why.” Although, most of the digital products usually have started to be developed from the end to the beginning. It means that first comes the “what”, followed by the “how” and (too) late, the “why”. However, the most successful products have been built on the reverse path: looking foremost for the “why” and only then, defining the best alternative to reach that. 

Knowing the products “whys” brings the engineers a clear systemic conception and an ownership feeling, engaging them. 

An excellent way to establish a context is by letting them participate in business meetings. Beyond understanding the need that customers and users have brought and contribute to resolving their problems, they will comprehend how his consumer audience – which generates empathy for the final users, has assimilated the product.


Be able to negotiate rewrite and maintenance stories

This subject may inflate some fret between engineering and product management. You must know that a good engineers team eventually might ask you to prioritize stories of code rewriting. Maybe they have discovered some new (and better) technology, or barely something that was done six months ago does not make sense anymore. In situations like that, negotiation ability is essential to the Product Manager. 

You should be able to understand the business value you can obtain through this kind of request and disseminate this concept to the other product stakeholders, ensuring time to arrange it fitting in the product’s Roadmap. 

These are some examples of the business value obtained through these requests:  

  • Make the product maintenance and support easier
  • Enable the product scalability
  • Improve product performance
  • Reduce costs from consuming resources and services 
  • Enhance user experience 

Granting this kind of task strengthens the relationship between the engineers and the product manager. 

On digital product development, Engineering has the same weight as Product Management and User Experience. Therefore, establishing a partner relationship with this area is one of the key strategies that the Product Manager must use to ensure a suitable development for his product. 


By Evellyn Zagui de Almeida – Product Owner