What Does a Senior Technical Product Manager Do?

Updated on April 3rd, 2022
What Does a Senior Technical Product Manager Do?

For any organization that strives to launch successful products, a senior technical product manager (PM) is an essential role.

Senior technical PMS help companies move on the correct path and make their product goals become a reality. A senior technical product manager has years of experience with a strong technical background in their field of expertise. They work with multiple teams on the front line who oversee the product life-cycle management. 

To become successful in this role, one must master a series of skills that are critical to technical product development as well as leadership. You must also demonstrate your ability to be a customer-centric professional who balances user needs with a business’ overarching goals.

This article provides an in-depth understanding of what technical PMs do, their job description, and their roles & responsibilities. 

Let’s dive into the details.

What Does a Senior Technical Product Manager Do?

A senior technical product manager is a multifaceted role that demands significant technical knowledge related to a given product. They need to have at least five years of work experience with a bachelor's degree to help them develop essential technical and managerial skills for the senior role. Sometimes, they require professional and technical certifications related to product management and the specific type of technology required for a product’s creation. 

Senior technical PMs provide technical consultation in developing the product roadmap from the beginning of the project. They understand their needs and incorporate the requirements into the product strategy by working with customers.

A senior technical product manager owns certain project features depending on their expertise. Thanks to their technical competencies, they work as subject matter experts on those features. In doing so, they:

1. Review technical designs, approaches, and architectures to meet the overall project goals. 

  1. Make sure that project estimations are correct. 
  2. Provides input that conditions pivots in the product design and development cycle.

Collaboration is a key duty a senior technical product manager performs throughout their career. They collaborate with other product managers, the product management director, lead product managers, senior managers, and stakeholders to develop a long-term product strategy. 

Also, as senior managers, they help guide other technical product managers and delegate responsibilities.

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Senior Technical Product Manager Job Description

The best way to get an idea of what companies require from a senior technical PM is to check job alerts. The job description of a senior Technical PM doesn’t differ much from that of a senior product manager. Nonetheless, there are certain responsibilities organizations expect only from senior technical PMs. In this section, we provide a short sample job description of a typical senior technical product manager job alert:

“As the Senior Technical Product Manager for our business, you need to lead the development of important products and their features from the beginning through their execution. You need to oversee the product roadmap development and execution, assuring the successful launch of new products. You must manage multiple teams and work with the Engineering team to oversee the development process. “

Here’s a short list of common responsibilities that recruiters include in job descriptions when scouting for senior technical product managers:

  • Identify customer needs and incorporate them into developing new products
  • Conduct research on new technological advancements and assess their potential usage or possible impacts on the existing products
  • Provide recommendations on the best possible technologies to invest in
  • Collaborate with internal teams such as designers, developers, architects, quality assurance engineers, and site reliability teams to ensure the execution of the product roadmap in the right direction
  • Work as a subject matter expert in product management and internal engineering teams
  • Assessing the technical risks for the products and proposing mitigation solutions
  • Involve in product marketing and customer training on the product usage
  • Research competitors and their technologies
  • Define acceptance criteria of the product backlog tasks
  • Provide feedback to customers and engineering teams
  • Participate in software testing

Roles and Responsibilities of a Senior Technical Product Manager

The roles and responsibilities of a senior technical product manager role are similar to that of a regular technical product manager. 

However, the key difference lies in the level of responsibility that each one has within the product development cycle and the wider organization. 

Let’s dive more into those responsibilities.

1. Customer requirement identification

For every organization that delivers products to the customers, a customer-centric mindset is important to launch the products that satisfy their customer's needs. 

One of the most important responsibilities of a senior technical product manager is to identify the customer requirements. 

Product Value Proposition

They need to know how to deal with customers and build a positive and healthy relationships. 

Continuous feedback from customers from the point of presenting product prototypes is important to understand the interests of the customers and things that do not add value to them. 

The end product depends on identifying customer requirements, suitable technologies, and other technological considerations for developing it.

2. Communication and Collaboration With Teams

A technical PM deals with multiple teams to deliver valuable products to customers. From the beginning of the product road map creation to its execution, a technical PM needs to partner with engineering teams and other stakeholders to build and deliver these products. They also need to work with cross-functional and third-party teams to facilitate vision alignment and set expectations for the entire team. 

Framework for Communication Strategy

Therefore, this whole process involves a lot of communication and collaboration. The senior technical product manager facilitates smooth and effective collaboration among those teams. To do that, it is essential to build a strong relationship and trust among those team members.

Therefore, a technical PM is responsible for driving communications and collaborations. This also includes guiding them to overcome ambiguous situations and handle and manage all teams to ensure all development activities follow the right direction.

3. Researching Market Trends

Technical PMs are responsible for monitoring and researching the latest market trends by conducting interviews, and surveys, collecting customer feedback, and finding out customer requirements. Also, staying up-to-date with the technological advancements is imperative to comprehend their impact on the existing and new products being developed and identify potential future products. 

Market Research Methodology

Also, the technical PMs need to be up-to-date with the products and technologies of competitors and changing customer needs.  In addition, the knowledge technical PMs are responsible for interpreting the statistics from market research and deriving useful insights. Therefore, research and data analysis are vital duties of a technical PM.

Not only that but also, in some organizations, researching duties of a technical PM extend to monitoring and analyzing competitors’ products and services. It helps the organization to understand the status of their products in the current market and beat the competition of the rival groups by improving the market position of their products.

4. Provide Technical Expertise and Product Training

Developing a product strategy, defining end goals, and developing the product roadmap involves a series of steps and inputs from all the parties involved in those processes. As a senior member of the team with years of experience in their work, other stakeholders look forward to and rely on the technical expertise of a Sr. Technical PM.

The Role of a Product Manager

Technical PMs’ responsibility is to provide their technical expertise through recommendations, suggestions, feedback, and solutions. They also need to develop innovative ideas and solutions for potential risks and problems throughout the product lifecycle.

In addition, some organizations expect technical PMs to provide customer training on product usage, explaining its technical side. Some organizations require them to conduct training sessions or workshops to understand the product to their customers. A technical product manager is also responsible for answering product-related queries.

5. Miscellaneous Roles and Responsibilities

Apart from the above discussed general responsibilities, senior technical product managers have more roles and responsibilities based on their working field, product, and other factors. For example, if they are working in an IT organization that practices agile software development methodology, then backlog grooming and prioritization are essential duties they need to perform.

Becoming a Senior Technical Product Manager

Becoming a senior technical product manager requires many managerial and technical skills in the industry of specialization. There are several skills one has to master to become successful in the performing duties of this role. 

Often the technical product managers become seniors with the years of experience they get. One starts becoming a senior technical PM by getting a thorough understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the job. Also, another way leading to that path is, playing the role of the technical PM, taking the responsibilities of that level, and gradually moving toward that path.