As a product manager, try to find customer challenges and set objectives that align with the business value your company can deliver. At NewsCred, we believe that working with our engineering and design teams to devise the solutions to our customers’ problems is a much more effective way to develop products.

In the interview above, Nick Gavronsky also outlines the way Betterment product managers, engineers, and designers work together to find viable solutions to customer challenges.  When you dictate solutions to engineering, it results in suboptimal solutions. The best ideas are typically hidden in your engineering and design organizations. Their capacity for changing the product and building solutions that solve real problems expand immensely when they understand the customer problem set and are given a seat at the table of developing solutions.

At NewsCred, we recently focused on exposing our engineers and designers to our customers more frequently, so they could be as intimately familiar with their challenges as our account managers and product managers. Customers are feeling the impact of this change. Iterations are faster and product development is more customer centric. Engineers are finding creative solutions at a low development cost that a product manager may not have known was possible. Efficiency in our engineering team, measured by productivity, has increased significantly, and we’ve recently released substantial improvement to the product and customer experience that are all directly related to engineers getting more involved with the customer.

Customer centricity in your engineering organization can have dramatic impact. As Marty Kagan says, if you’re only using your engineers to code, you’re only getting 50% of their value.

If you’re interested in learning more about product management, please check out my Udemy Course on building products at startups.