I was just a few months out of the Flatiron School, had gotten my bearings in the codebase at my first job, and was starting to take on more responsibility. I was sitting with a product manager—let’s call her Sierra—trying to explain the technical impact of a product idea she had proposed. And I was frustrated.
No matter which way I explained it, she just kept getting confused. Why couldn’t she understand that making these changes would drastically increase response time on a critical endpoint? It was a simple workflow involving 2 microservices and a NoSQL database, and she didn’t even have to understand the details, just how they were connected together on a high level.
At some point, I realized: No one had ever given Sierra any level of technical explanation of the system whose development she was supposed to guide every day. Instead of going further with the conversation, I asked, “Why don’t we set up a meeting just to describe the basic outline of the system? Nothing overly detailed, just enough to allow us to have a conversation about how product concepts will impact the real-life product when they’re translated into code.”