Building great software relies on the efficacy of cross-functional team efforts coming together to ensure design, development, and delivery of a product is top-notch and timely – here, technical product managers (TPMs) play a critical role in leading development efforts by serving as the leader of our engineering and QA teams assigned to a project. These individuals are responsible for identifying the frameworks used for the software architecture, development tools, and any third-party services that will be used to build out the feature sets of a digital product.
A TPM should have some technical chops for performing core functions including planning development sprints, triaging issues, and ensuring the development teams hit their marks. In addition, they need to possess soft skills able to facilitate active collaboration and instill motivation in their team. Their insights are leveraged by the project leader, referred to as the product manager (PM), to define the strategy and timeline for everything from the initial development phase through future revisions. So, let’s take a look at three of the top skills that make for a successful TPM.
3 tips to find a technical product manager in 2021
At Blue Label Labs, the TPM is the head of the development team, meaning they are responsible for establishing technologies to be used in the development process, defining workflow, and delegating responsibilities for the team. They report to the PM and collaborate to address any issues that may affect the quality or the timeline. The best technical product managers have a command of the following skills.
Technical proficiency with all required technologies and tools. While a TPM doesn’t necessarily need to be the best programmer, they must have a working knowledge of all the technologies that will be used to build a piece of software. They should have the insight to know how to develop code according to best practices to ensure that a product is both responsive and secure. The best TPMs excel at effectively using tools like Jira to methodically track issues by understanding the gravity of technical bugs such that they can frame them within the context of a product and its release goals as well as prioritize everything accordingly. Effective individuals in this role can produce concise feedback through reviewing and testing the output of code to help their team members derive optimal solutions as well as facilitate growth over time. They should also understand how to read an entity-relationship diagram (ERD) as well as be able to provide feedback for API specifications produced by the development team.
Ability to leverage excellent soft skills to lead teams and successfully communicate. The TPM acts as a kind of executive assistant to their team by keeping the team organized and speaking on behalf of the unit. They’re able to empathize with challenges faced by developers and communicate with the PM when the team is bogged down. They can comprehend issues as it relates to the output as well as when there is a clash with the design – by facilitating cross-functional teamwork, they’re able to bridge efforts to identify ideal solutions as it relates to the vision of the product. Great TPMs should also understand the culture of off-shore teams to which they’re assigned. For example, someone with experience leading teams composed of Ukrainian developers aren’t always an ideal fit for American or Indian teams.
Command of project management and adaptability. A great TPM knows how to build workflow based on the scope of a project and set the appropriate milestones for a realistic timeframe while minding the client’s expectations. They’re proficient with using tools like Asana to create a highly-visual model that communicates progress to the rest of the team while serving as the main point of reference for their developers. They diligently keep project management and issue tracking tools up-to-date and leverage their insight to address and pivot around pressing issues before they become serious problems.
Finding a technical product manager
The best technical product managers have a good mix of entrepreneurial and technical mindsets – often, the best of the bunch have demonstrated an aptitude by leading the development process in past projects for apps where they were personally vested. They’re excellent, tactful communicators who favor using setbacks as opportunities for improvement rather than a tool for criticism or excuses. To find the ideal TPM, you should be looking for either high-quality agencies that offer staff augmentation or take advantage of great services like Talener to recruit tech talent.
Blue Label Labs TPMS are proven leaders in software development
We celebrate “smart failures” because we know we’re not always right the first time. Feedback gained from dedicated testing allows us to reevaluate our process to ultimately build the best possible product. Our TPMs are masters of identifying challenges and meticulously addressing issues in every iteration to ensure each revision is a step in the right direction until the product is polished. To find a leader for your project or if you require a full team to build your idea, reach out to us to learn more about we can design the perfect solution for your needs.
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