When your engineers don’t get it.

Software — where most new products are built

The art (or struggle) of product management lies at the intersection of the customer, the business and the technology.

Business models and business cases are useful when getting your business stakeholders behind your product, and a great value proposition is what’s needed to get customers to actually buy it.

But how do you convince your engineers to build your product?

Let’s dispel one myth. Engineers aren’t cavemen. They don’t only speak in code. They are smart and well trained people. They will be able to understand a business model or empathise with the customer if they’re helped to do so (—if they don’t know already).

The press praises these individuals as the new rockstars. They are capable of starting, scaling and running some of the world’s largest companies. Just look at any of the biggest Silicon Valley startups in recent history to prove my point.

So how do you do it?

By being a Good Product Manager. Communicating clearly with your engineering teams. Sharing and selling the vision. Articulating the job to be done from the customer perspective. Defining product specifications, not technical ones. Focusing the team on revenue, customers and meaningful metrics. And helping the team understand the impact of your product.

Everybody involved in bringing your product idea to life needs to empathize with the customer. Engineers included. It’s the Product Manager’s responsibility to make sure that this way of thinking and working is disseminated across the team.

And if your engineers still don’t get it?

Either the product manager failed to support their team in understanding these crucial aspects when developing a product — or maybe it’s time to replace them. Either way, you need to ensure that you’re connecting them to the customer and the business and really getting stuff done the right way.

Good Product Managers drive awesome products.

Ideas are not scarce resources and for the most part, they’re free. Teams with the right mindsets, however, not so much. If you’re lucky enough to be managing a great idea, then you’ll get it turned into an awesome product. If not, you can go right back to the start of this post. Your team is probably full of smart people, you just have to help them grow and make sure they understand the vision. Be a Good Product Manager.

About me: I’m a product management consultant working with clients the world over for Emergn. I write content and develop courses for Value, Flow, Quality® and I’m passionate about products. Find me on LinkedIn and on the VFQ blog.