Understanding Tech for Better Product Lifecycle Management

Understanding Tech for Better Product Lifecycle Management | Product Management | Emeritus

It is so often said that the Product Manager wears multiple hats. Indeed, a product manager plays a huge role in product lifecycle management. But what does that mean, exactly? Simply stated, while the roles of an information architect or a content marketer might be well-defined and consistent across industries, the duties of a product manager, though broadly remaining the same, still vary a lot. Imagine the roles and responsibilities of a product manager in P&G. Now contrast them with those of a product manager in Uber. Obviously, the PM in Uber must have a deeper knowledge of tech. Which insinuates the question that troubles every new or aspiring PM: how much technical knowledge is enough knowledge for a PM to know? Should the PMs in the tech space know how to code? But that is what the developers are for.

So, should the PMs leave out on getting their hands dirty with the nitty-gritty of product development knowledge? Or should there be an ideal balance between these two? 

Related: How Does Product Life Cycle Analysis Help Attain Competitive Advantage? 

Different Hats that a Product Manager Wears 

Product lifecycle management includes idea generation, concept testing, conducting market research, product development, product testing, and product marketing. The product manager is responsible for planning and executing this lifecycle, amongst other things. This requires the product managers to regularly be in touch with all the stakeholders that are involved in every step of the product lifecycle management. This entails interacting with product owners, software developers, UX designers, information architects, DevOps engineers, and the marketing team, among others.

To deliver the best possible products to the consumers, the product managers should be able to have effective team conversations with all the stakeholders mentioned above. They should be able to understand their ‘lingo’ in order to comprehend and respond to them. If a PM is not able to participate in conversations about the product, it would not just mean that they are losing say on the direction the product is headed towards but are also most likely to lose the respect of their peers.  

Product Lifecycle Management 

Moreover, the PM is also in charge of creating strategic roadmaps for the products. They take up tasks like allocating time, resources, and budgets for each step. These documents are always prepared with inputs from the respective teams. However, the PM cannot rely only on the team leaders to provide them with accurate and 100% honest estimates. The PM should have their own judgment to weigh in to ensure that the time and effort allocated to each task is not overestimated or understated. It is no surprise that the business side would want the product delivered with as few resources as possible and the developers would want as much time as they can negotiate. This is a good example of a situation where the technical knowledge of a PM would come in handy when they have to make a decision.  

Product Lifecycle Management 

I’ve always considered the PMs to be the voice of the users. One of the core responsibilities of a PM is to ensure that the customers are getting the best possible user experience. Any issues or bugs in their product that get reported have to be prioritized and assigned by the PM. Don’t you think that deeper knowledge about the bug would help them in making a better decision about allocating resources? That is why it is imperative to boost your product knowledge and ace it, even if you are a product manager you should upscale your skills by taking product management courses. 

Most PMs have to deal with both, the business as well as the technical side of product lifecycle management development. Therefore, they should be well-educated on both topics. It is equally crucial for them to understand programming language basics as it is for them to understand the 4Ps of marketing.  

What Technical Skills Can Benefit Product Lifecycle Management? 

So, going back to the question, should a PM in a tech company know how to code? Thankfully, no. But should the PM know how the product is coded? A good PM must. It is important to note that PMs need not come from a strong technical background but must have the thirst and curiosity to keep learning about the products’ technical aspects. Organizations, however, sometimes do need hard technical skills in their PMs. These PMs are called Technical Product Managers (or TPMs). Other times, a basic knowledge of the technicalities involved in product lifecycle management does the job. If you are looking to acquire such skills then you should take up Emeritus product management courses and certifications programs.  

Let us see what basic technical skills are necessary and good to have if you too are a PM or aspiring to be one. 

The first and foremost is data analytics. PMs should rely on data and take data-driven decisions. Almost everyone realizes the importance of data these days. However, what kind of data should the PM use to back their decisions? Moreover, even if the PM has a big dump of raw data, it would be useless if they didn’t know how to derive meaningful insights from it. The PMs should know what metrics to track and how. There is a very long list of metrics that can be tracked for any product. Ideally, it would be desirable to keep an eye on each one of them.

However, in reality, there are constraints such as limited time and resources that make it necessary for the PMs to know what are the key metrics they need to measure. They must know how to collect the relevant data and process it. They must be able to draw out inferences from the data gathered and should be able to neatly present it to their team, the leadership, and other stakeholders.  

Product Lifecycle Management 

For this, familiarity with MS Excel is a must. Knowledge of SQL also comes in handy. Usually, organizations do look for good skills in software like PowerBI and Tableau. This software does not just help you analyze your data but also helps you create visually appealing real-time dashboards that track all the matrices in real-time. Along with this, there are product analytics tools like Amplitude or Mixpanel that help you get insights into how a product is being used by the users. 

The other important technical aspect PMs should learn for better product lifecycle management is the basics of the coding languages being used to develop the products in their organization. Understanding the fundamentals of coding helps the PM in creating better strategic roadmaps as they are able to comprehend the resource and time requirements for each stage. This also helps the PM better understand the developers’ jobs. Moreover, knowing what can and can not be accomplished by the team given the constraints helps them empathize with them better. PMs who have a broad understanding of the development process, are better able to identify and mitigate any possible roadblock. Thus, they are able to contribute more to the team. The most common ones being used are Java, JavaScript, Kotlin, and Rust. 

You must also consider the fact that different teams and different developers work on different aspects of the product individually for better product lifecycle management. This means that the code for different features is written by different people and is combined in the end. Many times, due to various reasons like bugs, updates, or changes, parts of the master code have to be pulled out, to make the required edits. This creates multiple versions of the same code and is merged or compiled using the software.

The most common one is Git workflow. PMs should have functional knowledge of GitHub or other similar software. I would like to highlight here that ideally, a PM would not be asked to work on GitHub. However, their team members can always be found using GitHub, and words like ‘branches’ and ‘pull requests’ are thrown around so often.

For a good PM, the ability to understand their team’s conversation is a must. Only when they understand the context can they contribute to it. Asking the team members to explain what they are referring to, or not being able to understand their challenges or constraints makes a PM ineffective. 

Related: Project Management vs Program Management 

How Can PMs Work In Coherence With The Engineering Teams? 

 It is very important for the PMs to note what their end goal or KPIs might be different from the ones of the developers in their teams. The PMs have to take care of both the business side of the product like the financials and the timelines. Their job is to get the best quality products possible while also navigating quality and cost constraints.  However, the KPIs of the developers are output-oriented. This is where the priorities of the developers might differ a bit. Generally, their focus is mainly on creating a high-quality product with attractive features, while other constraints may be treated as peripherals.

For PMs to effectively work with the developers, it is highly important for them to understand the vision that the developers might have regarding the product. The PMs should very clearly explain their own perspective in order to accomplish proficient product lifecycle management. Usually, the major cause of a rift between the product team and the developers is that while they are working on the same product, they are working to achieve different goals. A good PM should be mindful of these differences and should strive to resolve them through effective communication. 

Product Lifecycle Management 

Imagine that you started baking bread. You buy all the ingredients and get a recipe off the internet. Just when you were mixing all the ingredients, your sibling joins you and insists that you make a cake. Now, wouldn’t that be just the most irritating thing anyone could do? 

That’s what the developers might feel when the scope of the project or the product they have been planning and working on suddenly changes. PMs must be mindful about asking for such changes. They must have all the initial research conducted and the scope of the product laid out based on the research data. Once the scope is set, it should not be changed without good reason. If the alterations are absolutely mandatory, the reasons should be communicated to the developers as clearly as possible.  

Taking the buy-in from the developers for expanding or altering the scope of the product shows empathy and opens up a healthy communication challenge. This process of taking buy-ins from the developers should not be limited to this particular scenario. PMs should include the developers in various stages of planning.

The team leads should be explained the problems that the product is going to solve. This would mean that the PMs are having discussions on the technicalities of the product from the very beginning. This lets the developers understand the problems that they are working on solving, thus getting them more involved. This would also help the PMs see the product from a technical lens. Doing this will help them in identifying any goals that might be unachievable, or hard to achieve. It is better to spend some time during the planning stage for both sides to have this clarity rather than get to the production stage and then face these hurdles.  

Product Lifecycle Management 

Any PM wanting to create an effective strategic roadmap should have the engineering team on board with it. The engineering team leads can provide a better estimate of the time and effort required. Also, having them onboard from the get-go also eliminates the possibility of future resistance from the engineering team. This also benefits the developers as they have visibility into the roadmap and the release plans as can prepare themselves accordingly.  

PMs should be very clear in communicating the product features to the developers. Often, the PMs receive the details of the products from the research team or the senior PMs. Their job is to comprehend each and every aspect of the product and make sure that the developers to understand the details as clearly as they do. Nothing should be lost in translation. Because in case there was any miscommunication about the product features, it will be the developers who would have to rework to get it right. 


The best PMs are the ones who don’t just communicate with the developers but are approachable to them. Good PMs should be able to empathize with their team. The team should be able to trust their PM. Every organization and every team has a different culture or a particular way they do things. The PMs should respect that. Most of all, the PMs should always be on the learning curve. They should keep their eyes and ears open. They can approach their team members for any help they need in understanding the product lifecycle management technicalities. However, they should do their homework as well. 

Being a good PM comes with time. Sometimes, it might feel like there are so many skills to master and so little time. Thus, PMs shouldn’t just be able to prioritize the product features, but they must also prioritize what technical knowledge they need and exactly how much of it. You can take up online courses related to product management to enrich your skills. Even if you don’t have technical knowledge you can take product management courses to acquire the required abilities and attributes.  

About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Yashvi is a dynamic content creator with 5+ years of experience crafting content for global brands, specializing in tech, finance, and healthcare sectors for both B2B and B2C audiences. Her diverse knowledge base empowers her to create meticulously researched, value-packed content for the EdTech sector, catering to various audiences. In her downtime, she explores the realms of mental well-being, reflecting her holistic approach to personal and professional growth and deepening her empathy for her audience's pain points and needs.
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