The VP of Technical Product Management position is responsible for making the most fundamental design and architecture decisions across a broad portfolio of products. Their primary deliverables are highly technical product specs that make the Important Technical Decisions (ITDs) for a product.
VPs of Technical Product Management excel at:
Defining data structures and object models
Creating algorithms to solve high-value problems
Mapping solutions to large “building blocks” of existing open source components and cloud services
Making decisions that reduce scope in favor of simplicity
Clear written communication
Leading and managing a team
Unfortunately, most companies do a terrible job at this. They do not do the hard work up front and they start coding too early. They don’t invest in developing expertise and innovation, they build roadmaps based on what competitors are already delivering or on the tactical needs of the sales team. Their technical product managers focus on UIs and mockups instead of the product’s core data structures and algorithms.
For the VP of Technical Product Management position you have likely been a CTO or Technical Co-Founder of a smaller company or a Senior Architect at large software company such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, Oracle, etc.
Our Technical Product Management roles are much more technical than what most companies call “Product Management” so traditional “product management” experience is not a requirement.
As a VP of TPM, you will own critical decisions across a range of products. You will work on brand new products as well as existing products and a wide range of technologies in between.
You will be expected to identify and focus on the core data structures, algorithms, and third-party components that are best to use in your designs.
You will be expected to work as part of a highly collaborative team, iterating on your work and providing peer review to team mates.
You should be a clear and organized thinker, able to find the important patterns in work and focus on the “big picture” without being lost in the details.
Create technical design specs that define the core of software products
Know how to apply modern software design patterns (think cloud, containerization, etc) to product requirements
Review and provide feedback to more junior product managers turning your decisions into detailed engineering plans
BS in CompSci, CompE, or EE
5+ years of hands-on production code development in Java or C#
3+ years experience making the core technical design decisions that were then implemented by other developers
Able to identify and articulate patterns in unstructured and unorganized content
Excellent written communication skills including architecture diagrams, data flows, and system component diagrams
A passion for creating work in a process-driven way and working with team members to continuously improve that process