Every functional tech company needs product managers, engineers, designers, and so on. Who decides the ideal ratio of these? Finding the right answer is not as easy as it seems.
The ratio of engineers to product managers should neither be too high nor too low. Figuring out if there is a tweak required to adjust the Engg: PM ratio could help. Using tools and charts can help to organize and optimize the structure of your company.
What is the ideal ratio of Engineers: PMs?
Having spent a fair share of time working alongside startups, there are many questions that are thrown at me every now and then. To be frequently asked about the ideal ratio of engineering to product managers is one of them.
Before we directly get at the ratio, there are tons of factors on which the answer depends. Let’s go through them.
1. Experience of the PM
Experiences PMs always have an upper hand over junior PMs. The former can work well with a larger team whereas the latter needs constant supervision, guidance, and mentoring.
Hiring a PM who is just starting his career isn’t a problem, but it is important to make sure that the organization is capable enough to ensure its efforts. Startups usually commit the mistake of hiring undertrained intellects such as developers and product managers. This idea could often backtrack.
2. Stage of the Product
Bigger companies have certain kinds of needs to fulfil in regards to the product or otherwise. Moreover, the growth of the product eventually needs more PM coverage. At least 5 to 9 developers can correspond to 1 PM.
3. How many customer-facing products do you have?
Every typical SaaS business has one product with different customers tied to it. For instance, running a platform like freelancers will need you to interact with freelancers as well as clients. That means two product managers on both sides, i.e., freelancer front and client front.
The number of audiences is directly proportional to the feedback you receive. This will need you to hire more product managers.
Since there are several speculations on the internet on a desirable count and ratio of engineers to product managers. The expected ratio range of engineers to product managers lies between 1:5 to 1:10, which means five to ten engineers per PM. This isn’t a fixed number and can change entirely depending on the requirement of your organization.
Factors That Can Influence the Ratio
Yes, you heard me. There are factors that can affect the engineers to product managers. In an ideal scenario, a good product manager is always on top of the engineers to supervise them. It is the job of the PM to ensure that deadlines are met and that engineers build what is expected of them.
A PM is solely responsible for collaborating with the team and having an update on the progress.
Are product managers and products owners the same in your company?
Product owners and product managers are different.
The primary focus of the product owner is to take care of the product backlog. They also make sure to see that the features get successfully delivered to the end-users. On the contrary, a product manager is involved in extracting feedback from the customers. It is also their job to align the product mission and vision.
There is a minimum requirement of product managers in your team if you already have a product owner. The number of product managers is also cut short if there is a business analyst on the team.
How much is the involvement of PMs?
A product manager has to devote themself more than just to the product. They need to sit with the marketing team to analyze the growth, they also need to sit with the product team to understand the responsibilities of everyone else, and they will also need to regard customer communication.
The alert that you ought to look out for is that if there is only a single product manager who is taking care of all these processes, it is about time to hire more PMs.
Is your team self-sufficient?
Depending on the numbers, the senior members of the team make a big difference in the number of product managers that are required on your team.
The number exclusively depends on the PM’s overall experience. Furthermore, a full-fledged team that is already working on a product will need experienced intellects by their side instead of a newbie. Thus, when you already have a team full of experts, the need for PMs will automatically reduce.
How much is too much product management?
The thought of hiring more product managers could be overwhelming at the start. Obviously, no one wants to staff up, and that is why a minimum algorithm of balance has to be maintained. Due to overstaffing, there could be organizational trouble or overlap.
What is the ideal way to avoid such a scenario? Well, to not hire more than one product manager for the same task. This will ensure the working of every team member, and you, on the other hand, can avoid being in a situation where there are plenty of integration issues to deal with in the first place.
There are plenty of tech-savvy companies that have product teams that keep on working day and night. There’s always room for growth and improvement in these cases. The best idea here is to optimize your product team. Determining the ratio of engineers to product managers is the very first thing to keep in mind. Once this is sorted, everything else will fall back in place.
Every company needs product managers to regulate all the processes. They are also a necessity for every SaaS product team.
Usually, there is always a hassle to determine the actual and accurate ratio of engineers to product managers. However, the set of applicable rules can help determine the specific needs of the products. Once you start following these rules, understanding the right balance of the ratio becomes easier.
Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels
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