Technology: Crucial Product Management Skill 6/20

Don’t attempt to be an engineer, but work with them effectively

What it means

Technology domain skills include understanding and making correct trade-off decisions about the tech stack, key dependencies, and drivers of feasibility and complexity. Technology skills are helpful to communicate with the engineering team members, helping identify technical issues, as well as foreseeing technical challenges.

Why it is an important skill

As a product manager in a technology company or working on technology-enabled products, technology is at the heart of what you do. In product teams, most of the people you work with are engineers. Being able to “speak their language”, empathize with them, earn their trust, and make or facilitate decisions that make sense to them is crucial. While most product management roles do not require an engineering degree, some level of technical understanding is required for these reasons.

What great looks like

Product managers with great technology skills have a feeling for technical complexity and foresee challenges with technical feasibility. They know how to kick the tires on technical specs and plans, but without ever telling their engineering counterparts that they “know better”. They see and acknowledge the technical feasibility and complexity perspective and take it into account in trade-off decisions, which makes it easy for them to get buy-in from their engineers to the chosen solution. They are able to facilitate discussions within their engineering team or with other technical stakeholders. They proactively work with their engineering team to explore how technological trends and developments can unlock new sources of customer value.

How to improve your Technology Skills

There are many ways to improve technology skills as a product manager, and which ones are right depend a lot on how technical the product manager is to begin with. Here are a few ideas to build up technology skills.



Head of Product at RevenueCat; previously at 8fit, Yammer, BCG.

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