PCT2010 - 5 min - Moving from Engineering to Product Management
Transitioning from Engineering to Product Management<br />Ari glaizel<br />
My Personal Journey<br />Working in industry since 1997<br />March 2003 <br />Part of PlateSpin, Ltd. founding group<br />One of original engineers on PowerP2V / PowerConvert product <br />February 2008<br />Joined PM team<br />Worked on product I helped develop from scratch<br />Should be an easy transition !<br />…. Right ?!<br />
Being one of the main, original engineers, I understood the product at a very deep level.<br />Learning curve that incoming PM’s would have to do on the technology was not necessary.<br />Allowed me to focus on areas where I had little exposure to.<br />Understood the product<br />
Had a good roadmap and plan to work with from my management<br />I’m a person of strong opinions<br />Don’t mind telling people what to do <br />Specifying product direction<br />
Had a long history with engineering, helped make the transition easier.<br />Better understood my point of view than others<br />They felt (at least for a while) that I was on ‘their side’ on most issues.<br />Existing respect from parts of company<br />
Talking to customers by phone or in person was something I value and enjoyed.<br />Great to get the positive feedback.<br />Was thanked numerous times for saving them from various issues or problems.<br />Felt like a hero <br />Working with Customers<br />
You will get the wrath of the customer, usually uncensored.
Tough to take when you are not used to it, need to get up, make things right for the customer and learn.</li></ul>Working with Customers<br />
As an engineer, information was generally ‘filtered’ from engineering leadership and product management.<br />Calls with customers at first were challenging to understand what was the most ‘important’ information<br />Extracting Information<br />
<ul><li>The engineering background was ending up in some cases being a curse more than a blessing
Product Managers worry about the what, not the how
Keeping the engineer in me at bay in high pressure situations proved challenging.</li></ul>“That’s not the right way to do it!”<br />
<ul><li>Understanding the product made familiar ‘how long it will take’ negotiations that much worse.
Needed to again ‘push the engineer in me’ aside
Consistently found I got closer to my desired result by not pushing back for ‘engineering reasons’</li></ul>“It takes five weeks to add that field !?”<br />
<ul><li>Had a lot of context due to my level of involvement in product engineering and design
Went through some tough times when features that I had a close hand in, were not working out for a customer, or group of customers.
Temptation to make wrong product decisions to ‘right old wrongs’</li></ul>Developer Guilt is a real, debilitating, condition!<br />
I’m successful due to excellent support system of managers and other Product Managers around me to help me through the transition.<br />Extremely happy working in PM and hope to continue for many years to come.<br />Did I make it?<br />