• Work Perfect
  • Posts
  • Stuck in the middle: Balancing Customer & Technical needs

Stuck in the middle: Balancing Customer & Technical needs

A day in the life of a Product Manager

In 2024, most businesses have an in-house development team.

But in many organisations, ‘dev’ work still feels like a black box.

With it’s own ceremonies, language & work methodology, it’s a different beast.

This month, we’re trying to break open the black box.

We’ll bring you exclusive insights from experts inside, outside & adjacent to the dev world through our Day in the Life series.

Who are the experts?

We’ve spoken to:

  • A B2B SaaS Product Manager

  • An AgilePM & Scrum Master

  • An ASX100 CTO


They each bring a different perspective to the challenges of customer focus, productivity & tooling.

This week, Tania* a Product Manager at a B2B SaaS provider for financial institutions, explains her role, the challenges it brings & her big goals.

Q: What do Product Managers Do?

“[My job is] bringing the customer lens to what we're doing…this is the use case, this is the customer problem, and then how do we as a dev team then take that away to solve?”

A product manager is the person who:

  • identifies the customer need and the larger business objectives that a product or feature will fulfil

  • articulates what success looks like for a product, and

  • rallies a team to turn that vision into a reality.

Product Managers sit at an important crossroads, balancing the technical needs of dev teams with the business & customer needs of other teams.

Product Management in a nutshell

Q: What’s your top priority?

Product Managers put the customer at the centre of everything. Tanya explains:

“My top priority is to validate with customers and understand the problems we can solve, so we can build products that customers are willing to pay for.”

This means spending lots of time with customers and different parts of Tania’s own business to understand:

  • customer needs & pain points

  • user sentiment

  • business/product opportunity

Q: Who do you work with internally?

“I work closely with the product owner to understand how we’re tracking. They lead the development squad on the actual build [of products & features].

I also work with other stakeholders on expectations and timelines, including marketing, sales, legal & regulatory or customer-facing teams.”

That venn diagram above is starting to make sense now, isn’t it?

Q: What’s the hardest part of being a Product Manager?

As people with a sneak peek inside the black box of dev, Product Managers do A LOT of reporting. Many other stakeholders need updates on what’s going on.

Tania told us she spends around 10% of her time reporting on progress to different stakeholders across multiple layers of management.

We need to provide updates to GMs & other senior stakeholders in monthly forums, weekly executive meetings & regular company updates.

There are also multiple other forums that we provide updates to. There's a lot of crossover [in reporting].”

Some of the other challenges Tania mentioned include:

  • miscommunication

  • information gaps

  • double-up on work

  • managing bottlenecks

  • multiple adjacent requests

  • juggling all the information in multiple tools

Q: What impact does this have on customers?

Inefficiency & double-ups aren’t ideal for the people involved internally, but there’s always a deeper customer impact too. Tania explains:

“We can never fully ever put the customer first. We’re constantly reacting to what needs to get done, and how we need to get it out.

It means customers are frustrated, and often left waiting. There are so many different stakeholders & we work in such a siloed way that it often falls back on the customer.” 

Internal inefficiencies impact every other part of the business, increasing customer churn risk & putting pressure on customer-facing departments.

Q: If you could wave a magic wand to align People, Processes & Technology, what would that look like?

“It's just being a lot more transparent.

Easy access to information for the relevant stakeholders that doesn't require five different emails, Slack channels & PowerPoint decks to communicate similar updates.

Being able to look consistently top down: what are our current processes?

Where are those inefficiencies and where do they lie? Is there a way we can better solve that?

This would help us be more agile.”

Not gonna lie Tania, that sounds amazing.

Q: What would you do with all that time back in your diary?

Tania was crystal clear on the missing piece in her work.


The bigger picture stuff takes time.

You need time to focus on, OK, this is where we're now, where do we want to go?

And then speaking to stakeholders, doing all the research you need to start building out a longer-term play.”

Why does the important work always get shuffled to the bottom of the pile?

Q: Which tools do you use to get the job done?

Tania mentioned a wide range of tools in our conversation, used by different stakeholders for different things. Here’s a summary:

  1. PowerPoint - product team

  2. SharePoint - everyone

  3. Excel - product team

  4. Confluence - product team, sales team

  5. Jira - dev team

  6. Slack - everyone

  7. Figma - marketing & product teams

That’s a lot of tools, for a lot of processes, with a lot of stakeholders.

Up Next: A Day in the Life of an Agile PM

In the next edition of ‘A Day in the Life of…’, you’ll hear from an Agile Project Manager.

Don’t miss it!

Want more monday.com best practice?

  1. Check out our ultimate guide to monday.com

  2. Join our Community, Beyond the Boards

  3. Register for free training: Foundation Training or Advanced Training

    *customer name changed