September 27, 2018

The Product Gap

Episode 35 // The EmberMap Podcast

Sam and Ryan continue their discussion about the role of product in an engineer's daily working life. They talk about what product gaps are, the symptoms of product gaps on tech teams, and what you can do about product gaps if you're on a team with no product manager.

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Show notes


  • 2:05 – All about product
    • More product responsibilities fall on engineers than ever before
    • Coders can help surface valuable info to business teams about the tradeoffs of their product decisions
    • Learning product makes coders better because it influences what they code, it increases their chance of building software that will actually be used, and it helps them focus at work
    • The symptoms of a product gap drives engineers to think that they need to code more
    • Product gaps often creep up on medium-size teams that don't have dedicated product managers
    • Symptoms of a product gap:
      • Having three number one priorities
      • Coding after hours
      • Tons of work being done, but feeling like you're moving an inch in every direction
      • Hard time estimating
      • You finish a sprint, and you're not sure what the value was
      • "We just need more engineers"
    • If you're on a team with no product manager, and you have a product gap, what can you do?
      • Ask a lot of questions, and push the product decisions up.
      • Let the whole organization feel the pain of the product decisions that aren't being made.
      • Surface the tradeoffs being made.
    • "But this is not my job, I'm an engineer! I just want to code."
      • If you ignore this stuff, your "just coding" won't be sustainable
    • How to get your engineers out of meetings and firing on all cylinders: a product roadmap
      • Make sure your product cards are not about implementation details
    • How to recognize which decisions you can make as an engineer, and which you can't
    • Why you shouldn't say yes to every work request
    • How doubling your estimates can surface product issues

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