How to hire a Technical Product Manager
Avoid making a mistake when hiring your next Technical Product Manager
The demand for efficient and well-trained Product Managers is constantly growing. More and more companies are looking to find talent that allows them to grow the unit economics, wisely use their talent, and effectively manage the resources available for the company.
It is true that the need for this type of talent only increases, but as time goes by, more specific skills are required from Product Managers, so they can specialize in a company's particular needs. This is the case of the Technical Product Manager, a role that has been getting increasingly interesting as companies grow and focus more on technical product challenges.
However, what is a Technical Product Manager? And most importantly, how can companies hire the right talent to achieve the right outcomes? In this post, we will define the role of a Technical Product Manager, its main responsibilities, the pros and cons of hiring this role, and the right way to hire one for your company.
What is a Technical Product Manager?
It is widely known that Product Managers are at the intersection of business, design, and engineering, always providing value to the user. But, as companies grow, the end user of each team is different. Yes, we all want to provide value to a company's end user. Still, some of us have to do it by providing value to other teams who build the product for that end user, or in some cases, we build products that are intended for technical users, such as engineers. That is where the role of Technical Product Manager starts to make sense.
In the same way as a traditional Product Manager, Technical Product Managers focus on identifying opportunities that will bring value to their end users. They do this by deeply understanding their user's problems and translating them to the engineering, quality assurance, and operations teams.
Although this seems very similar to what other Product Managers do, the reality is that Technical Product Managers need to have a strong background in programming and technical knowledge to efficiently translate the end-users’ needs into actionable requirements. On top of that, the Technical Product Manager can assess the technical risks associated with a given solution; he or she should understand the engineering architecture of the company and share this understanding with engineers and stakeholders, managing the language accordingly.
What are the pros and cons of hiring a Technical Product Manager?
Knowing how this role may affect the team’s development and growth is important for companies looking to hire Technical Product Managers. Let’s examine some pros and cons of hiring Technical Product Managers.
Technical Product Managers can deeply understand tech trends and assess their value in product development.
This role improves communication between business and engineering, as they should be able to handle both ends of the conversation.
When teams have challenges with specific technologies, the Technical Product Manager can assess the critical paths and help the team prioritize accordingly.
They are subject experts in the company and can usually move around the technical teams that require a business vision.
Given this role's technical challenges, it is more common to have it in large companies.
Some Technical Product Managers can focus too much on specializing in technical challenges and knowledge, making it hard for them to move to other company areas.
It is important to evaluate the capacity of this Product Manager to understand the business, so they consider both business and user needs, as well as technical risks and challenges.
How to effectively hire a Technical Product Manager?
Hiring a Technical Product Manager can be a great challenge, especially for companies that have never had this role. However, there are some key skills that this role should have whenever you are trying to find a good match for your company:
All Product Managers should have the ability to influence people. Depending on their seniority, they must influence different teams and stakeholders. Nevertheless, the minimum skill you should expect in this area is influencing the team they work for. This means having the ability to influence engineers, Tech Leads, and Senior Engineer Managers.
This Product Manager should be able to effectively coordinate people within the team. They should understand the tasks that are being developed, as well as their complexity. This will enable them to manage the work efficiently.
Again, the requirement for these changes depends on the seniority that the company is looking for. But, a good middle point is that the Product Manager can comprehend and applicate their business understanding in the pursuit of product development.
Any Product Manager should understand and enhance the practices implemented in the company for Product Execution. As the Product Manager gets more involved with the company and its processes, it would be easier for them to modify and improve them.
For any role in Product Management, it is fundamental to deeply understand who the customer is and their main pain points. In the case of a Technical Product Manager, this is no different. Although Technical Product Managers are mostly focused on developing services and APIs, their users are still people; therefore, they should spend time understanding these users’ needs.
Technical Product Managers are expected to be able to define and challenge processes that can allow them to plan, execute, launch and iterate their products.
This will depend on the area the company expects this role to work. Generally, it would be expected that the person to fill the position can effectively communicate with engineers and challenge the proposed solutions. Fundamentally, this role is filled with professionals with programming skills who understand how the internet works (yes, 95% of the internet works through wires).
Although all these skills are fairly clear for any company looking to fill this position, there is nothing that will help either the company or the candidate evaluate the real match they are seeking for. We help companies and candidates find that perfect match by running effective job dates. Hire your next Technical Product Manager at https://www.wearewannabe.com/companies.
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