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One thing that makes the difference in the PM, Engineering and Design relationship
Everyone needs to own it
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“How can PMs have the best working relationship with Product Designers and Engineers?”
The best answer I’ve come around has been: everybody needs to wear the “product thinking hat”, and everyone needs to care the others also wear it.
Design can’t just care about UX or UI. They can’t just focus on pixel-perfect. It’s not just an animation or a trending set of patterns.
Engineering can’t just care about technical scope. They can’t just focus on architecture. It’s not just stack or “let me try this new library…”.
And PMs aren’t exempt either. They can't just care about the requirements or “stakeholders said this”. It’s not just where competitors are moving or the new “hype” thing.
Wearing the “product thinking hat” means you have to think about:
- Trade-offs (if I add X to the scope, what am I blocking/removing with that decision?)
- Delivery complexity (if I build this way, how am I making a team’s life harder?)
- Estimation volatility (If I make this decision, how am I contributing to the probability of missing the estimated delivery date?)
PMs might need to kickstart this thinking process but everyone needs to commit to including it in their own field.
It might make the “planning” slightly longer, but everyone will make better choices, generate stronger buy-in and simplify decisions. You'll also get more pragmatic, smaller, quicker features to prove whether you can solve the problem or not.