loading...
Cover image for Developers, how's your experience working with product managers?

Developers, how's your experience working with product managers?

hellochoong profile image Choong700 ・1 min read

Developers, how's your experience working with product managers?

Most product managers suffers from imposter syndrome in one form or another. PMs are generalists in a world full of specialists like developers and designers; and we are always afraid of being called out by our teammates and colleagues for "lack of skills". The truth could not be further from this, and I believe by sharing your (good or bad) experience working with product managers could help many of us validate ourselves and overcome this fear.

I am collecting these stories and looking for the first couple of entries before putting up a proper site. If you have a story to share, feel free to submit it here.

Discussion

pic
Editor guide
Collapse
sargalias profile image
Spyros Argalias

I happen to work in a places that follow agile and scrum pretty well. Not perfectly, but fairly well. This includes the product managers.

The product managers seem awesome to me. But it's not like I have experience to know what other product managers would think. All I know is that the features they wanted seemed reasonable.

Collapse
hellochoong profile image
Choong700 Author

Interesting. I find most developers have a genuine annoyance with scrum; not so much about product manager or the agile ideology on high level. How about your previous experience working with other project manager or just someone who coordinates the development process?

Collapse
sargalias profile image
Spyros Argalias

I haven't worked in too many places. In the ones I've worked they were fairly good.

I guess I've heard horror stories before, but otherwise I couldn't possibly fault scrum. If company politics are bad, then scrum isn't the problem. If scrum is implemented incorrectly, then scrum isn't the problem. But yeah I can totally see how some product managers could be awful to work with. Software doesn't have estimations and contracts like other industries, that's why we use scrum, so if that's what they expected, it would be awful.

Thread Thread
hellochoong profile image
Choong700 Author

Cool, thanks for your time answering. I actually come from a waterfall background and haven't had much luck talking with developers who are used to scrum. Tried to implement one myself with my prev team and honestly I am not entirely sure still if the team did find it useful or otherwise.

Did you start early with waterfall too or did you start with Scrum in your career? Would love to hear the adaptation made to your team's scrum practice if any.

Thread Thread
sargalias profile image
Spyros Argalias

No problem :).

I see. I actually got lucky and found my first job in a company that used scrum.

I love it that you tried to improve processes in your company. I think it's always a good thing when people try to improve things.

I'm not sure how relevant it is but in my own experience there are two ways you can bring change to a company:

  • Abruptly.
  • Over time.

They both depend on how open people are to change. Change is difficult with people stuck in their ways and not interested in potentially better options.

The abruptly one only works if people have a lot of buy-in. If they can clearly see and believe in the benefits. Over time tends to be smoother and work better, because you can show people a small benefit, implement it, repeat. But the problem with scrum is how do you implement such a thing slowly?

So I can definitely imagine there being problems trying to convert people to using scrum. It seems to me like you would need a lot of buy-in from everyone upfront.


On another topic, in terms of developers, I think scrum only provides a minor benefit. But I want to clearly separate engineering practices and scrum here. Both are parts of agile. I view it as: Agile = scrum (or some alternative) + engineering practices.

Scrum provides the majority of the benefit to product managers. It allows them to estimate project completion dates more accurately and it allows them to prioritise features effectively.

Engineering practices complement scrum (due to only working on small stories), but include more things that are essential for developers:

  • Code reviews / pair programming
  • Unit Testing
  • Continuous Integration
  • Refactoring
  • Acceptance Testing
  • Small Releases
  • Coding Standards
  • Collective Code Ownership

I think (hope) that developers tend to be a lot more open to improving these things, but again if they're "senior" developers and they don't care, there's not much we can do.

But I've had good success improving some of the above processes in places I've worked at, mostly using the "over time" approach.

Thread Thread
hellochoong profile image
Choong700 Author

Yea there is no way for Scrum to start slowly - I did it abruptly, but made used of the weekly retro session to improve and adapt it based on the team's feedback. I think Scrum or any framework should be a living process that adapts rather than blindly following, which is why understand the why behind each framework is really important.

I agreed with your view that Agile itself is bigger than scrum, and scrum doesn't necessarily equals to Agile. But I have to say in an ideal world, scrum should bring equal benefit to all on the team including developer and designer, this is why it's important for product manager to collect feedback and adapt the practice. It might end up as something totally not recognizable as Scrum, but at the end of the day it is more important to bring value to the team. Scrum nor agile should never be a static process

Thread Thread
hellochoong profile image
Choong700 Author

Yea there is no way for Scrum to start slowly - I did it abruptly, but made used of the weekly retro session to improve and adapt it based on the team's feedback. I think Scrum or any framework should be a living process that adapts rather than blindly following, which is why understand the why behind each framework is really important.

I agreed with your view that Agile itself is bigger than scrum, and scrum doesn't necessarily equals to Agile. But I have to say in an ideal world, scrum should bring equal benefit to all on the team including developer and designer, this is why it's important for product manager to collect feedback and adapt the practice. It might end up as something totally not recognizable as Scrum, but at the end of the day it is more important to bring value to the team. Scrum nor agile should never be a static process.