32 min

Marrying Product Management and Engineering with Maura Kelly Product Thinking

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Maura Kelly is VP of Engineering at Mailchimp. With over 17 years of experience in the tech industry, Maura is an expert in software development and programming. She joins Melissa Perri on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast to provide engineering’s point of view, and to share helpful tips that will improve the way you as a product manager are collaborating with developers.  

Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Maura talk about in this episode:

Maura’s traditional path to engineering, and her experience at Mailchimp, where the culture is about empowering the underdog. [1:45]

Mailchimp’s first product managers came from other internal disciplines and were workers who already knew Mailchimp and their customers very well. Over time, they continued nurturing people into product managers and started hiring people with product management experience externally. They also mixed up the teams, so that people new to Mailchimp could learn from veterans of the company. [5:44]

There is a misconception that engineers don’t care about customers and should keep their heads down doing code, Melissa says. “Engineers want to work on stuff that matters,” Maura claims. They want to be part of a larger mission that makes a difference; it motivates them and enhances their performance. If your head stays down, it’s hard to know the context and information that can help you build a better product. “First solve the problem, then write the code,” she adds. [11:03]

Why engineers should be involved in the discovery process, and how this can be done. [12:12]

Combining something that someone wants to do with something the company needs, is a great way to both solve a problem and motivate an employee. Maura shares how Mailchimp conducts this ‘management magic.’ [15:05]

Melissa and Maura explore how product managers and engineers can work with leadership to ensure their teams focus on the right things. If there are people that aren't a good fit or aren't doing the best work that they could be doing for whatever reason, that should be discussed at the leadership level. [17:16]

One thing people don’t realize about engineering is that there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Not only do they write code for solving customer problems, but they also have to write that code to certain coding standards; they’re also getting code reviews, giving them to other people, thinking about the security of the feature they’re writing, among other things. [20:35]

Product managers often struggle with understanding the technical side of building a feature. Melissa asks Maura how they should be checking in with the engineering team about the timeline of things that need to be done. [25:28]


Resources
Maura Kelly on LinkedIn | Twitter
MauraChache.com

Maura Kelly is VP of Engineering at Mailchimp. With over 17 years of experience in the tech industry, Maura is an expert in software development and programming. She joins Melissa Perri on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast to provide engineering’s point of view, and to share helpful tips that will improve the way you as a product manager are collaborating with developers.  

Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and Maura talk about in this episode:

Maura’s traditional path to engineering, and her experience at Mailchimp, where the culture is about empowering the underdog. [1:45]

Mailchimp’s first product managers came from other internal disciplines and were workers who already knew Mailchimp and their customers very well. Over time, they continued nurturing people into product managers and started hiring people with product management experience externally. They also mixed up the teams, so that people new to Mailchimp could learn from veterans of the company. [5:44]

There is a misconception that engineers don’t care about customers and should keep their heads down doing code, Melissa says. “Engineers want to work on stuff that matters,” Maura claims. They want to be part of a larger mission that makes a difference; it motivates them and enhances their performance. If your head stays down, it’s hard to know the context and information that can help you build a better product. “First solve the problem, then write the code,” she adds. [11:03]

Why engineers should be involved in the discovery process, and how this can be done. [12:12]

Combining something that someone wants to do with something the company needs, is a great way to both solve a problem and motivate an employee. Maura shares how Mailchimp conducts this ‘management magic.’ [15:05]

Melissa and Maura explore how product managers and engineers can work with leadership to ensure their teams focus on the right things. If there are people that aren't a good fit or aren't doing the best work that they could be doing for whatever reason, that should be discussed at the leadership level. [17:16]

One thing people don’t realize about engineering is that there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Not only do they write code for solving customer problems, but they also have to write that code to certain coding standards; they’re also getting code reviews, giving them to other people, thinking about the security of the feature they’re writing, among other things. [20:35]

Product managers often struggle with understanding the technical side of building a feature. Melissa asks Maura how they should be checking in with the engineering team about the timeline of things that need to be done. [25:28]


Resources
Maura Kelly on LinkedIn | Twitter
MauraChache.com

32 min