by Reena Kapoor
So it took me longer to get back to my blog than I thought (I had to be out of the country at short notice). But I want to get back to reasons for why product management belongs in marketing - and not in engineering. The first factor was of course around defining marketing properly (it's much more than marketing communications). Another key reason is that product management needs to reflect the voice of the customer and market realities in the product requirements. If product management is part of engineering then this imperative risks being lost.
Engineering teams are driven by tight timelines and quality-focused deliverables - as they should be. Their job # 1 is to deliver the highest quality product, on time and (often) within budget. This can be at odds with what is needed to win with customers in the market. The more challenging the requirements - in terms of cost and complexity - the harder it is to deliver on time and with quality.
Who is going to help make the trade-offs in requirements that are needed to deliver a winning product on time and of acceptable quality? Product management owns this critical prioritization and trade-off task and it takes a lot of talent, skill and experience to know what to let go and what to not comprimise in terms of requirements and quality.
And that's why product management needs to be outside the engineering function. That does not mean that product management is not to be held accountable for developing requirements that are sensible yet market-worthy. It just means they need to be able to operate independently to negotiate with engineering in a way that is in the best interests of the customers - and company.
Write to me if any of this rings true -- or not!