Technical Product Management
Being an Engineering-focused company, Nimble requires all the Product Managers to be technical. It is not new that Product Managers are a bridge between stakeholders and the development teams. However, when the Product Managers do not speak the developers’ language, inefficiencies and communication issues will hinder the product development.
Technical Product Managers should speak the developers’ language, and they should also be able to understand technical challenges and propose solutions.
Initial Technical Assessment
When discussing a potential new feature, a bug, or a change with a client, Product Managers must provide a quick, early assessment of the feasibility and complexity. Instead of telling the client that they need to check with the development team, Product Managers should say what’s doable and not. They should know if the request is likely to be completed within the expected timeframe given the current team size or if there will be a need to increase the development capacity.
Knowing the Alternatives
Commonly, clients come up with a feature request without fully realizing if their idea is the best way to fix a problem.
Technical and non-technical Product Managers alike should identify when a third-party solution would be a better way to solve a problem.
More often than not, paying a hundred dollars per month to get a ready-made solution will be cheaper than spending tens of man-days to build the same thing.
Alternatives aren’t always third-party, however. There are times where a goal can be achieved in different ways and, if a Product Manager is not technical, they won’t be able to identify those technological avenues.
Doing the Legwork
When a new feature, a bugfix, or a change is selected for development, Product Managers can’t just send a high-level requirement to the development team and let them figure out the rest. That’s not how we work because it’s not efficient.
Instead, the Product Manager needs to do the legwork and figure out how to implement the feature.
They don’t need to produce the implementation details. Still, they need to prepare a detailed plan of action to outline the flows, backend vs. front-end work, the APIs to use, the integration requirements, the validation patterns, the edge cases, etc.