3 Proven Productivity Strategies for Technical Product Managers

  • March 14, 2024
  • 3 Min Read

Technical product managers have a lot on their plate - quite an understatement (and the plate seems bigger too, right?). The job description involves understanding technical details, working closely with the engineering and cross-functional teams, etc. Not to mention the everyday tasks like planning, documenting, meetings, etc. The list does not end.

But, the bottom line is that you have to get the right things done at the right time.

So, we bring you these tried-and-tested strategies for a productivity boost.

3 Strategies for Product Managers to enhance productivity

It is easy to be overpowered by the volume of tasks. But implementing these strategies can lighten the load.

Balancing outcomes and perfection

It is always better to ship something that is 80% done and useful than 100% done but delayed by months.

Be willing to make some trade-offs and not get too caught up in the details. Don’t keep your users waiting a long time for a solution. This also applies to saying no to new features and scope creep when the time comes.

For example, Dropbox's MVP focused on core file synchronization, which enabled early market adoption, user testing, and continuous development. By 2009, Dropbox had over a million users, a year after it launched in public beta, showing the benefits of launching a functional product without worrying too much over perfection.

Proven Productivity Strategies for Technical Product Managers

Pragmatic adaptation of rules

One size never fits all. There are a lot of rules and frameworks available for product management. But be rational and bend the rules when applicable.

Customize the best approach that suits your team, users, product, and company culture. Experiment and find out what works best for you.

The “Spotify model” is a great example of an agile methodology that adapts frameworks to fit the needs of the team and the culture. This approach maintained agility and innovation, while focusing on autonomous "squads" and "tribes" instead of traditional agile teams. The result? Active users surged from 10 million in 2013 to over 345 million in 2020.

Embrace failure

If you fail to fail, you fail to innovate. Everyone will make mistakes. But what matters is who learns from them and grows.

One of the best strategies for success for technical product managers is taking calculated risks and being willing to learn from errors.

In 2008, Apple's MobileMe encountered technical issues and faced severe criticism. Steve Jobs and the leadership publicly acknowledged these failures. These experiences were pivotal in shaping iCloud into a successful and advanced cloud service. Apple's ability to learn from MobileMe's shortcomings highlights the crucial role of failure in product development.

Tips to help product managers execute the 3 strategies

Implementing the above strategies will go smoother if we do the following:

Build strong relationships

It helps you understand your team’s strengths, limitations, needs, and blockers. Once your team gels well together, working together creates more impact.

Successful tech team-building involves hackathons, workshops, offsites, check-ins, pair programming, and mentorship. For example, hackathons spark creativity, workshops share knowledge, and pair programming enhances collaboration.

Transparent and consistent communication

Apply effective communication techniques for synchronized efforts. Keep your team in the loop regarding your plans and progress. Make use of the various tools available to facilitate communication.

You can use software like Basecamp to maintain transparent and open communication within the teams. You can also use tools like Feedspace to keep your teams in the loop about plans and progress. You can record and share videos to update the team and save time.

Set realistic expectations

Do not overpromise and underdeliver. Discuss with the team before deciding what is and isn’t achievable. Avoid surprising the team with unrealistic deadlines.

You can use prioritization methods like the Eisenhower Matrix to align tasks with strategic goals. The MoSCoW method can be used to ensure consensus in stakeholder discussions, guiding feature prioritization in software development for effective roadmap planning.

Be supportive

For technical product managers, it is crucial to uplift their engineering teams. Create a positive work environment. Celebrate when your team does well, and encourage them when things get tough.

In conclusion

Executing these strategies will not be easy. But, proper planning, adaptability, and communication will go a long way towards achieving success via these methods.

Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Focus on high-impact tasks and tackle them first. Allocate specific time slots for different tasks to maintain focus. Leverage project management and communication tools to streamline workflows.
The three major areas of product management are:
  • Strategy: Defining the product vision, goals, and roadmap.
  • Execution: Overseeing development, testing, and delivery.
  • Go-to-Market: Planning and implementing strategies for product launch and market success.
Define specific, measurable objectives for each task. Foster open and transparent communication. Stay updated on industry trends and upcoming technologies.
Here is what you can work on to become an effective TPM: Have a deep understanding of the product's technical aspects. Facilitate communication between technical and non-technical teams. Align technical capabilities with business goals to enhance product value.
A TPM is expected to have the following: Understand the product's technology stack and industry trends. Work seamlessly with engineering, marketing, and sales teams. Contribute to the product roadmap and align it with overall business objectives.

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