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How to Work with Software Engineers in 10 Easy Steps, by Kenneth Norton

I’ve worked in technology for twenty years, the past thirteen as a product manager. I’ve gained somewhat of a reputation for being effective at working with software engineers. This skill has earned me a place in history as one of the three greatest product managers of all time.[1] (On this exclusive list I am joined only by Steve Jobs and Niccolò Machiavelli.)

[Pyramid with YOU at top, YOUR CAREER in middle, ENGINEERS, USERS, ETC. at the bottom]For years I’ve kept my secrets close to the vest. But no longer: today I will share with you myTen-Step Plan for Working With Engineers. Or more to the point: how to make engineers do what you tell them to do.

Why should you listen to me, one of the three greatest product managers of all time? [2] Just consider the numbers. I estimate that I’ve worked with 3,875,000 engineers during my career. Of those men and women, more than 95% have done what I told them to do. That means that precisely 1,000,000 engineers have done what I told them to do [an estimate: PMs don’t have time for math]. That’s a lot of engineers, and a lot of experience you should heed.

1. Absorb praise2. Deflect blame3. Don’t bother with the details4. Involve them late5. Add process6. Never tell the reasons7. Commit for them8. Interrupt at any time9. Be ambiguous10. They’re always lying

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