The Roles Of The Product Manager And The Engineering Manager Defined

Startup Stock Photos

For an organization to successfully meet its goals, it it necessary to ensure that roles are clearly defined. This helps to avoid confusion as well as conflict among the managers and their respective teams. Specifically, the product manager and engineering manager should know their particular roles in the company, and keep their decisions and actions within the limits of their scope.

Let’s start by defining each position. The product manager is the owner of the product roadmap, and he or she is responsible for providing a detailed description and purpose of the product that the engineering team will be building. The engineering manager, on the other hand, provides the technical direction of the product. If the product manager answers ‘what’ the product is all about, the engineering manager is the one who says ‘how’ the product will perform. With that said, let us now proceed to know more about the ways these two manager differ and how they may complement each other’s roles.


The product manager is the source of product vision. He or she is the one who is responsible for product roadmap and strategy. It is the PM’s job to ensure that the business value is clearly articulated to the product team so they have a good understanding of the intent behind the new product or product release. The PM also owns the strategy behind the product and its roadmap, and this involves working with the engineering team so they are able to build a product that users will value.

The engineering manager is the one who leads the technical and architectural vision for the product. He or she is responsible for outlining the development methodology for the product, as well as overseeing the implementation within the engineering team and throughout the organization. The engineering manager plans the appropriate solutions and provides the recommendations for alternative approaches.


The go-to product expert within the organization is the product manager. The PM is the one who facilitates the communication between the team and the company’s stakeholders, ensuring that the team builds the right product at the right time. The PM is also responsible for the overall success of the product, which is a very important role that requires skills developed from product management training.

As the lead for technical decisions, the engineering manager is the master when it comes to advancements in related technologies. He is the one who handles complex technical projects with his team of engineers. Ideally, the engineering manager codes together with his team, guiding them both technically and professionally. Aside from being the key to the planning, execution, and success of complex technical projects, the engineering manager is also responsible for spearheading best practices in engineering and evaluating the feasibility and implications of new business requirements.

Management Style

The product manager is usually regarded as the CEO of the product, although no one reports directly to the PM. The indirect management style of the PM not only involves making product decisions, but also motivating and leading a team of leaders within the organization.

The engineering manager needs to directly manage his or her team of engineers, providing support and developing his engineering team through regular coaching and mentoring, one-on-one meetings, and performance reviews.

Michelle Rubio has been writing for SMEs across the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK for the last five years. She is a highly-experienced blogger and SEO copywriter, writing business blogs for various industries such as marketing, law, health and wellness, beauty, and education, particularly on product management training such as those offered by