5 Ways to Cultivate a Strong Working Relationship with Your Tech Lead.
Getting on the same page is the first step to building something great.
Relationships are an essential part of what makes a high performing product team. Product Managers must ensure they are fostering effective relationships with engineering. When relationships are strong, it can make a significant impact on the team’s performance and what they are able to achieve.
Making valuable products is a big challenge that requires a lot of effort and focus. You don't want to be pulled away from the task at hand by any internal struggles or issues. To build a product that meets the needs of both users and the business, it is essential to cultivate an environment of collaboration and cooperation. Without it, everything becomes much harder, if not impossible.
How to cultivate a great working relationship
Communication is vital. Regular touch-points are essential for encouraging open communication. They help ensure context is shared and any issues are surfaced quickly. Conflicts and roadblocks are best addressed swiftly after-all. Having a common view of timelines and stakeholder communications is key too. Nothing communicated to stakeholders should be a surprise to the team.
Having a shared understanding of what you’re trying to achieve is key. You need to share the same vision for the product. Treat this as a priority. Don’t ignore differences, hash them out until you’re both aligned. Aligning on the vision is a high leverage activity, nothing will save you more time down the line. Once both parties are working toward the same goal, any disagreements are easily resolved.
Building mutual respect is also important. Immediately adopt high psychological safety and respectful collaboration between product and engineering if you haven’t already. Everyone should feel comfortable expressing their opinions and discussing solutions. Actively listen and respect each other's ideas, and be willing to compromise occasionally. Celebrate each other's successes and thank each other for contributions.
Product Managers and Tech Leads need to challenge each other's thinking. Ask questions until you understand each other’s thought process and challenge each other's assumptions. Doing so creates more rigour and raises quality.
Work through problems together and collaborate on solutions. Combine your skills. Between you, you’ll have a better understanding of the trade-offs between different approaches. In tandem you’re more likely to come up with innovative ways to work around limitations.
Product Managers and Tech Leads must foster effective relationships to build high performing product teams. This requires open communication, a shared vision, mutual respect, and challenging each other's thinking to come up with innovative solutions.
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