Key Internal Stakeholders For Product Managers

Key Internal Stakeholders For Product Managers

One of the perks of being a product manager is that you get to work and collaborate with different teams in your organisation. You act as a bridge between various parts of the organisation. This aspect of our work is exciting and challenging at the same time. Different teams have their areas of focus. You need to put the jigsaw of expectations together in a way that all stakeholder are in agreement with the direction of the product.

You will find this blog useful if you are starting your career now. It will give you insight into what everyone outside your team does. I’m writing this by using the organisational structure in tech companies and how they structure their team. But it is valid for any other sector as well.

We will learn who the different stakeholders are, what they do and what is the secret behind building a great working relationship with them.


Who is part of the engineering team?


Engineering Managers
You work together with them to:

Discuss on a regular cadence status of work in progress
Make sure that product releases go out on time
Look at potential ideas that are being considered for development
Balance customer focussed features with technical debt that needs resources

Their focus is to make sure that we make the right technical decisions. You will work with them to:

Investigate technical feasibility of product ideas in early stages
Decide the implementation of product features
Evaluate third party providers that the product team is looking to partner with

Developers You will work with them to:

Discuss any roadblocks that they might be facing during development
Questions that arise on how a product/features should work

Quality Assurance

They are gatekeepers who make sure that the product adheres to the quality standards set by the team. They are the first people to users of the product/feature. and a great sounding board for new features. Product managers should do regular walkthrough of the product with them. It helps find missed use cases in requirements.


Scrum Masters

They lead the initiative of helping the company build an agile mindset. You will work with them to find ways to improve the development process and reduce the number of roadblocks for the engineering team.

What is the best way for product managers to work with the engineering team?

A common theme you will find in this blog is the need to communicate. You can never do enough of it. It is our job as product managers to make sure that the development team has insight into why things are being done a certain way. For example:


You might need to stop work on one feature and jump on something else. Make sure you give the business context behind such changes to the engineering team.


Not all bugs are worth fixing. Come up with a bug triage process with the engineering team that makes it clear on what to fix and what not

Consult the development team during all stages of product development life cycle. A great working relationship with them goes a long way in achieving product goals.


The design team works to build a user experience that is intuitive and easy to use. You will work with different members of this team to solve usability issues in your product. In smaller companies designers and product managers might be one team.

Who is part of the design team?


UX Researcher

They spend majority of their time talking to users to understand their, needs, wants, drivers and goals. Their research forms the foundation of the design principles that drive the design philosophy of the company. It helps the company make the right design decisions. They might use different methods to conduct their research like:

User interviews
Focus groups
A/B Testing
Card sorting

Some methods might be more effective with your users than others.


Product Designer

They create user interphases that are based on the findings of the UX researcher. Using it they build customer centric designs that enable users to easily solve their problems using the product. You work with them to take an idea through different stages of the product lifecycle.

How do product managers to work with their design counterparts

What users say and what they do is always different! Product managers and their design counterparts have to work together to build a robust understanding of users. For example you might run focus groups or build surveys together to better understand the users psyche.

It can be frustrating when the design is bound by technical limitations. I have seen that happen a lot if times. As a product manager you have to make efforts to provide designers a canvas that allows them to express their creativity.


Who is part of the sales team?

The sales team structure vary depending on the sales strategy. You could see yourself working with:


Direct Sales/Inbound Sales Rep

They work to convert leads that come through the marketing team into paying customers.


Channel Sales/Enterprise Sales Rep

They work with implementation partners on enterprise sales opportunities.


Sales Engineers

In teams that sell technical products, sales engineers work with potential customers. They demo the product to them, build up use cases of how customer problems can be solved by the product.

How do product managers work with the sales team?

The sales team is your window into what prospects(future customers) are looking for. You need to document all the feedback from prospects and analysis it to find gaps in your offering.

Working towards meeting quotas and monthly targets can be challenging. You will at some point in your career be in a situation where you can’t build the feature your team wants to close a deal. These conversations can be tough. Knowing how to tackle them is important.  We wrote a blog “Saying No as a Product Manager” to help you prepare for it!


The marketing team focusses on messaging, customer communication and lead generation. They run marketing programs-email, social, events etc. to drive awareness about the product.

Who is part of the marketing team?


Email marketing manager

Their focus is on email conversion. They work to improve email metrics like open rate, click rate and click through rates of email. They use marketing automation software like Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua or Salesforce Marketing Cloud for running various email campaigns and a/b tesitng the right messaging for the product


Digital Marketing manager

They work to optimise the digital channels like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn to drive growth. They work to increase organic and paid traffic on the company site to generate leads. They use tools like google adwords, ahref’, semrush, buzzsumo to setup campaigns and analyse their success.

How do product managers work with the marketing team?

You will collaborate with the marketing team to:

Define value proportion of the product
Educate the team on product features
Translate product features into marketable content
Build collateral in the form of articles, product demos etc to help drive traffic
Researching and analysing competitors communication strategy

Customer Success 

Who is part of the customer success team?

This team consists of a number of customer success associates and a manager. It leads the charge in:

1.Onboarding new customers that have bought the product
2.Retaining existing customers
3.Evangelise the various functionalities of the product

How do product managers work with the customer success team?

The customer success team is a treasure trove of information and as a PM you can learn a lot from them. For example:

1.How customers actually use the features
2.Workarounds in the product that can extend the problems it solves


This is the team that deals with unhappy customers and always in the line of fire. To manage the craziness they often divide it into different levels of support:

What is the structure of support teams?

L1 Support: When a customer calls in for help this group answers it. They try to troubleshoot it and solve the issue on the call. If they can’t then they sent it over to L2 with detailed notes.
L2 Support: This group has a technical background and experience of working on the product. They can deep dive to see if the problem exists on the users end.
L3 Support: For complex issues the development team steps in to find the root cause of the problem

How do  product managers work with support team?

You work with them to figure out:

1.Priority Level: How time sensitive the is the issue
2.Severity Level: How difficult is it to fix
3.Gaps in communication of product features that confuse users. These often turn up as support calls and need to fixed.


After reading you might feel that I have listed down all the teams that exist in most organisation. It is true! As a product manager stakeholder management is an important part of your job.

You will not be able to solve every product problem that your stakeholders bring up.

You will become a great product manager if you are able to:

1.Develop a clear understanding of the scope and size of the problem,  impact on the user base and when to fix it.
2.Align all the stakeholders and get them excited about the product roadmap and vision.

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