Moving away from a technical role always seems daunting for an experienced developer. It feels like I am throwing my edge on programming skills away.

However, 50 days ago, I took the leap and become a Technical Product Manager at Milieu Insight.

In this post, I will be sharing why I decided to embark on a new journey. What was expected and what I least expected in this new role. What I enjoy the most and what I like the least.

Why the switch?

As I lost passion and motivation to continue working in my previous company due to various reason, I began to seek out possible new roles. Recommendation from friends who are also in the tech industry and after a few rounds of interview, I got a few offers. After spending some time and careful consideration weighing what I wanted in life, I decided to join Milieu Insight.

During that time, I read thru many articles online and have discussed with my close friends. Most say to follow your passion but… It is really difficult to judge where exactly your passion is in. I wouldn’t have applied to those jobs if I didn’t already like what they are doing. Finally, I decided to look at a combination of four important attributes: financial, health, status and time and picked milieu.

What did I expect?

Before embarking on this new journey, I drafted a simple list of what I expect to happen in this new role. I also gauge how I feel about it if it comes true. My list is as follow:

  • Lesser coding time (10% per week) 😕
  • Managing product and task timeline 🙂
  • Write awesome and clear user stories 😃
  • Work with developer to develop an awesome product 😁
  • Understand the pain point and help the different parts of the business 😅
  • Testing and nitpicking our developing product 😕
  • Communicating and managing stack-holder expectation 🤔
  • Speaking with clients and understand their problem 🤔

What actually happens?

50 days into my new job, I would say that most of the tasks are within my expectation. Although instead of contributing 10% to coding time, I actually was helping more on the development flow of the product. Luckily with my past experience in technical development and settings up CI and CD pipeline in my previous company, I can provide useful and practical information to the tech team.

In this short span of time, I learn about the whole operation of the business. I am now in the mid of planning and prioritizing different feature to build that could also improve the efficiency of our operation. Even if something is further down the timeline, having experience with different awesome integration tools I can help to glue together a temporary solution to reduce the load of the operation.

What wasn’t in my expectation?

Despite the research I did, there are still a few tasks on my plate that wasn’t what I have expected. Some items are:

  • Settings up Metabase
  • Technical documentation
  • Go to tech person for issue even if not in our product

Even thou we are already using Fabric and Firebase for mobile apps analytics, there are still keys metrics that is missing. As a PM, I was looking to set up the AARRR pirate metrics. Since setting up Metabase wasn’t part of the timeline and always doesn’t look urgent as compare to bug fixing and building feature. Luckily, with my technical background and I can actually setup Metabase myself and create useful metrics.

As technical documentation is missing, I also decided to kickstart documentation and structure some process around it. I believe that once this is up and running, the rest of the team will contribute more than I do. After solving a few problems with different tools, people also started to come to me for problems that are not directly related to the product. It did take up more of my time, but I understood more about their operation too.

Image from Martin Eriksson

What I enjoyed the most?

I really enjoy being at the center of everything related to our product. Besides being able to understand how things are built, I am now able to suggest “what” to build and also validating the “why” behind it.

What I enjoyed the least?Not able to actually code out the feature is something that I kind of missed. I feel that I need to stay updated and still understand enough of coding tasks to better estimate and plan as a PM. Therefore, in my free time, I continue to code on my side project.


Thanks for reading!

In the day, I am a technical product lead. At night, I am a maker, engineer, and designer. I enjoy learning and building new things about tech, products, and startup. You can find me on Twitter.