> Product managers define the “why” and the “what” that engineers will build. The engineering manager serves as the technical lead to determine “how” the team will build. Together you align on the “when” to deliver new customer experiences and lead your teams to success.
As an Engineering Manager (EM), I’m “joined at the hip” with a team’s Product Manager (PM).
Especially in product organizations like Docker, the Engineering Manager works closely with a Product Manager, usually both assigned to the same team in executing a team’s mission, both in maintaining the responsible services of the team and in establishing and driving a roadmap of projects.
As a preface, the EM and PM should be highly aligned, such that each can represent the other in their absence.
Divisions in accountability are helpful to know:
- Who is making sure the ball isn’t dropped in that area
- Who has the final say when there is a disagreement
Ideally, the two can act in a partnership where both feel equal voice and alignment in leading all aspects of the team.
Having said that, a common way to describe EM and PM accountabilities are:
- EMs: How, Who, and How Long?
- PMs: Why, When, and What?
Note that EMs may also be responsible for the Why and What as far as technical and architectural concerns. And this overall breakdown is simplistic and may vary between companies.
The customer data platform Segment describes it a bit differently