It’s commonly understood that product managers at tech companies should be technical, but the explanation of why typically ends at “because you’re building a software product”. This is true, but its conciseness belies the higher-order benefits that a product manager who understands the technical challenges of a team can provide.

This article presents three areas where a technical understanding can serve as a performance multiplier — more thorough planning, smarter tradeoffs, and developing the sustainability of the team.

Internalize complexity

Product Managers are the API to their product. They are the interface between the external requests of users who want an end…


RunPlanner

I’m a long-distance runner, and an important aspect of achieving success is planning the arc of your training in the months leading up to a race. To help me, I wanted to build a smart training calendar that took goals and auto-filled a training plan.

In the six months I spent working on it, all I managed to do was build what amounted to a calendar. I learned a ton of technical skills along the way, including building my first major React app and my first usage of MongoDB, but the actual product was a failure.

The MVP UI of RunPlanner

Problem 1: Scope

The first — and…


Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash

👋 Hi, I’m David, an APM at Yahoo and creator of PM Tech Lessons. Thanks for letting me into your feed today here on PM101! I hope to offer some useful perspective on the technical side of product management.

I’ve seen a lot of confusion and anxiety around the technical requirements for becoming a product manager, so much so that I’ve created an entire site devoted to the topic (pmtechlessons.com). In this article, I’ll share three thoughts on the topic:

  • An example of why the product role requires technical sense
  • An exercise to develop your technical sense
  • A litmus test…


The most frequent question I get is “How technical do product managers need to be?” It’s a reasonable question that, like a lot of elements of product management, doesn’t have a straightforward answer. For those with a CS background, the foundation has already been set, along with a mindset of exploration well-suited for picking up new concepts. For those starting with little to no context, technical concepts can be not only daunting in nature, but seemingly infinite in their breadth.

This article will lay out a few different ways of approaching the question.

For those of you currently in school…

PM Tech Lessons

Technical concepts for your Product Management career

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