Engineering Enablement
Engineering Enablement Podcast
Bringing the product management discipline to platform teams | Russ Nealis (Plaid)

Bringing the product management discipline to platform teams | Russ Nealis (Plaid)

As product lead, Russ Nealis has been focused on introducing the discipline of product management in the Developer Foundations organization. This episode discusses the reasons why PMs are currently uncommon in platform organizations, examples of when having a PM has been helpful, and more.

Discussion points:

  • (1:23) Russ’s role at Plaid 

  • (2:49) Why platform product managers are uncommon

  • (3:28) Backgrounds to look for when hiring a platform PM

  • (4:58) Deciding whether to hire a platform PM

  • (6:20) Signs that bringing in a Product Manager would be beneficial

  • (9:16) How Russ personally became a platform PM

  • (12:15) Whether a platform PM is a career path 

  • (14:55) Articulating the business impact a platform PM has

  • (18:56) Challenges Plaid’s platform team has faced without a PM  

  • (19:19) Symptoms of a need for product management in an internal-facing team

  • (30:15) Whether Twilio had platform PMs  

  • (31:22) Example projects where PMs have been crucial

  • (34:12) How the book “Ask Your Developer” influenced Twilio’s engineering culture 

  • (36:13) Getting started with introducing a product management discipline to an organization 

  • (38:33) Org structure and where platform PMs may report 

  • (40:00) Career ladder for platform PM when reporting to engineering leadership

  • (41:20) Being product-led or technology-led

  • (43:14) How technical skills may help when in a platform PM role

Mentions and links: 
Follow Russ on LinkedIn
Episode 7 with Will Larson - related to why it’s difficult to find Platform PMs
Episode 27 with Jean-Michel Lemieux - related to the percentage of investment that should be put towards platform investments
The Build Trap by Melissa Perri
Ask Your Developer by Jeff Lawson