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Positive vs. Negative experience working with Product

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Software Engineer at Series B Startupa year ago

I would love to hear what others here have learned while working with their PMs past and present. I have brushed shoulders with a few and only closely worked with two PMs in our sort-of-cross-functional team, in my career thus far. They are both likable people but it took me a long time to realize that their feature requests were poorly scoped, lacking crucial details, and oftentimes had no acceptance criteria. In hindsight, I am not sure why none of the IC's with years under their belt never really spoke up about that (which led me to believe that was just the way things were).

Fortunately, our goals with Product are better aligned these days and our relationship has been healthy, so we are pretty comfortable give/taking feedback during Sprint Retros, so much of said issues have diminished. However, the lack of clarity in the tickets is still present from time to time, and now when I notice this, it fatigues me to know that I will have to set aside time to hop on a call and ask them for information (which in my mind, should already have been in the ticket?). I see most of my teammates having to do this as well, but I have not noticed their irritation over it. Sometimes, I wonder if I am wishing for an ideal that is rare or does not exist.

Mini rant aside, I would love to know some of your guys's good/bad experiences with Product and how you navigated through them. (i.e. What made it smooth/difficult to work with them? What steps did you take to mitigate the issues?) Thank you!



(1 comment)
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    Senior Software Engineer at IBM
    a year ago

    If I'm to be fully honest with you, rarely is something ever the perfect mental model we have in our heads, but we strive towards it the best we can and unfortunately it rarely happens at the pace we want with the people around us. Even if we have the perfect set of rewards in place and no matter how close we get, people very well may still let you down.

    I'd get a sense to a point that it is still just how people live their lives and its about finding a group of people you can reasonably accept without getting angry or losing hope with.

    Digging into the particulars of this trouble, I had a lead at one point that was decently good at filling out tickets, but there was a bit of information I had to infer still because of the amount of time they had available. I found it upsetting because the ticket wasn't filled out like the promise should have been, but they said I needed to be more proactive and make those decisions myself.

    Sometimes too these differences in expected nuances can lead to trouble, but accepting them and just moving through it with grace can make you more likeable since you aren't being nitpicky about everything.

    This is one of the small qualities of life people will bring up to you in just normal conversation, but not one you are ever necessarily told.

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