How technical should a PM be?

How technical should a PM be?


Graham Siener

October 23, 2014


  1. Should a PM know how to code? Director, Product Manager

    @ Labs Graham Siener @gsiener Technical Literacy
  2. AKA why should I care? • Enterprise Software Developer •

    Startup Product Owner • Helped grow our PM team from 4 to 50 About Me
  3. AKA how can I help? • Developers • Product Owners

    • Taxidermists Who are you?
  4. What makes a PM successful?

  5. Do you improve your product every time you push new

  6. Do you improve your product every time you push new

    features? Can you prove it?
  7. Does anybody like what you’re building?

  8. Does anybody like what you’re building? Who are they? What

    do they have in common?
  9. How do you prioritize your product’s roadmap?

  10. How do you prioritize your product’s roadmap? Does your team

  11. From the experts

  12. (Good PM, Bad PM) Ben Horowitz Good product managers know

    the market, the product, the product line and the competition extremely well and operate from a strong basis of knowledge and confidence. the CEO of the product. ...takes full responsibility and measures themselves in terms of the success of the product. They are responsible for right product/right time and all that entails.
  13. (How to hire a PM) Ken Norton Hire Smart people

    Strong technical background Spidey-sense product instincts and creativity Leadership that's earned Ability to channel multiple points-of-view
  14. (Customer Development) Steve Blank Build Measure Learn

  15. (Customer Development) Steve Blank Form Measure Learn

  16. (Metrics for Pirates) Dave McClure Acquisition Activation Retention Referral Revenue

  17. (need to be technical to be a PM?) Ellen Chisa

  18. (Confessions of a Non-Tech PM) Julie Babb The Product is

    the boss Tell a great story Be available Ask questions Speak up + Listen @awkward_hug
  19. Agile Lean Empathy (This talk) Me ==> Fluency

  20. Where a PM lives

  21. Who a PM lives with

  22. PM Des Dev Ubiquitous Language

  23. Convey needs of product Know when to call YAGNI

  24. Development is the most expensive part of your process, optimize

    for it
  25. Do as much work as you can before you need

    a developer to help.
  26. Run your app locally Write SQL queries Run rails console

    Understand logfiles Use curl to accept API stories
  27. An Example: Cart abandonment email

  28. Hey, answer the question already!

  29. No. PMs don’t need to be technical, but they should

    be fluent!
  30. Q/A