The success or failure of your product depends on a number of factors. If it's not a quality product, chances are that your prospects may not convert into customers. The same could also be true if it's priced too high in comparison to competitors and offers no meaningful benefits over the rest of the field.
It also depends on the teams that are tasked with selling it, improving it, providing customer support, and more. In that case, there needs to be a resource that can act as a point person for the product. They bring together the different teams that work on the product, promote cohesion between them and make it their mission to ensure that the product does well.
That's basically the job requirement of a conventional product manager role. The same also holds true for technical product managers, even though they’re required to have a lot more specific knowledge. That’s because they bridge the gap between the development team and the rest of the organization. They play a vital role in helping the organization achieve success.
What is technical product management?
"Technical" is the magic word here, it's the entire difference between conventional product management and technical product management. The latter requires a person that has a strong technical background. They need to have specific knowledge about the technical aspects of your product.
For example, if your organization offers a particular software product, the technical product manager can’t be someone who has no knowledge of how that software works, the platform it has been developed for, and the language that it has been coded in. The person you choose for this role needs to be proficient in these technical matters.
That's because technical product managers are required to work closely with the engineering team as opposed to the sales, marketing, and business teams. The people chosen for these roles have often served in direct engineering roles themselves or have a strong computer science background.
What does a technical product manager do?
The technical product manager needs to have a solid understanding of your company's technology. They need to have the requisite skills which enable them to come up with a long-term vision for the product, create a roadmap for its development and continue to engage with the development team to further improve it.
Most organizations actually split the business and technical product management between two persons. One will be more of a conventional product manager that focuses on every aspect but the technical bits. On the other hand, the technical product manager would focus solely on the technical side of the product. Both resources will work to achieve the singular goal of ensuring that the product is in its best possible version.
Manage a product’s vision
It's vital for an organization to know that the vision for its product is. That's what defines exactly what the technical specs of that product are going to be, what it will be able to help customers do and precisely how it needs to be developed in order to achieve all of those objects.
A technical product manager will be focused on developing a vision for the product. They would get the market's pulse in order to form a clear picture of what the customers' needs might be. Once they have formed an understanding of this, they can then create a roadmap which the development team needs to follow in order to create a product that will do exactly what the market needs it to do.
Make a product roadmap
When creating the roadmap for the product, the technical product manager has to closely work with the development manager or the development team. This entails explaining them exactly what the product requirements are and forming an understanding of the time required for the work to be completed.
This is also the stage at which it becomes evident if there are any dependencies or difficulties that need to be addressed during the development stage. Technical product managers will also assess and address any technical risks as well as define the success criteria for testing and product acceptance.
The roadmap will help the development team get a sense of what their time constraints are and precisely what they need to do and when in order to meet the timeline. This helps reduce uncertainty and increases the chances of the project being completed on time.
Do market research
Market research is an extremely important part of a technical product manager’s job. Their primary duty is to understand what the needs of the customers are and then translate them into technical requirements for the development team. This, in turn, makes the development team’s job easier.
They know exactly what they have to do and why. Thorough market research gives them clarity on the efficacy of the features that they’re going to spend countless hours developing. The technical product manager will also provide them with requirements for quality assurance and testing as well as the implementation plans after conducting their research.
It's vital for any organization to keep up with the trends in the industry or else they risk being left behind. The technical product manager should have a keen eye for trends and they should be able to quickly spot what the competition is doing. They can then pass on their observations and recommendations to the developers and engineers so that the product can be further improved in order to maintain its competitive edge.
Interface with the product owner
Organizations that use the agile development approach have product owners that are more tactical in their role in comparison to product managers. The latter is essentially focused on the big picture stuff. They're supposed to create the vision, set out objectives and keep an eye on the market.
It's the job of the product owners to translate the strategy provided by the product managers into actionable tasks. They work with different teams across the entire organization to ensure that the strategy is being implemented in letter and spirit.
For the organization to achieve its intended objectives, the technical product manager and the product owner have to work together closely. This dynamic partnership is key to maximizing the value of the product throughout the development process.
Perform risk assessment
One of the core responsibilities of a technical product manager is to own and manage the risk. They need to have the capability to assess and call out risks throughout the many stages of product development. These risks can be related to the timeline, scope, costs, customer requirements, market trends, and more.
The risk profile obviously varies from product to product, but the job remains as important as ever. Regardless of whether it's a strategic or an executional risk, the product manager has to properly identify, assess and then provide a strategy to mitigate that risk before it causes unwanted disruption.
There's a risk involved in every decision that's made. The product vision needs to be achieved without a shadow of doubt. So when there is doubt, product managers need to ask the right questions and interface with the relevant stakeholders in order to get a firm grasp on the situation. They can then utilize the data and other insights before making an informed decision.
Why you need a technical product manager
You need this resource for your product as they will help you create a vision and a strategy to achieve it. They will study the market, gather and promote the most relevant ideas that need to be incorporated in your product. The roadmap that they create will help plan and prioritize what needs to be done and when.
They have their finger on the pulse and are able to effectively communicate to the development team what features they need to build and why. The product manager will also work with different teams within the organization to develop a solid go-to-market strategy that increases the chances of your product being successful.
You don’t necessarily have to hire a technical product manager as an employee, there are service providers that you can work with who can assign such resources to you on a per-project basis. Zibtek is one of those service providers, with a global talent pool of highly skilled technical product managers.
Zibtek is one of the world’s leading software development companies. It has worked with both Fortune 500 companies and startups alike, helping them bring their vision to reality. The company is based in the United States with offices in Salt Lake, Utah. It also manages a network of developers, quality assurance experts, technical product managers and more all from its offices in the US.
Its expert software engineers are an integral part of every project that it works on. This is to ensure that the client's deliverables are able to meet the toughest of quality standards.
Your search for a capable technical product manager ends when you reach out to the team at Zibtek and talk to them about exactly what it is that you are looking for.