What does a platform product manager do?

A Platform Product Manager, or Platform PM, is primarily responsible for binding technologies and internal tooling within internal platforms to provide a great developer experience. Typically, this involves being in charge of Internal Developer Platforms (IDPs), particularly within organizations that follow the DevOps methodology. 

This role is very technical and requires the management of platform components like APIs, abstraction layers like UIs and CLIs, and other services. Platform PMs also need to have a strong understanding of security, particularly as IDPs many different kind of integrations and play a key role in secrets management

A key part of this role is the ability to manage expectations between customers of the product - the software engineers -  and other stakeholders (senior leaders, software architects, ops teams) as they are responsible for helping businesses to scale and reach their goals through the platform product. 

As part of this, Platform PMs need to be able to balance the fulfillment of short-term vs. long-term goals, and particularly the goals of individual teams vs. the goals of the business as a whole. 

This means that Platform PMs need to sort and prioritize feature requests, manage the product roadmap with consideration for the team capacity.

Developer experience is another main focus of the Platform PM job role. Because of this, you will need to work closely with engineering teams to determine how internal platforms can improve their workflow.

From understanding how teams use software tools together during the workday or gathering feedback on roadblocks within the development pipeline, Platform PMs are expected to take this information and extrapolate useful points of interest for the platform team. 

This level of communication ensures that Platform PMs can consistently improve developer experience and deliver tools and features that improve developer effectiveness, work satisfaction, and resilience.

Required skills are usually:

Platform PMs are often expected to have:

  • 2-4 years of experience working in product, project, or program management - often more for senior roles
  • Degree or  equivalent practical experience in Computer Science, Engineering, or other technical discipline

You will also need experience in: 

  • DevOps
  • DevOps-related tools like Kubernetes, Docker, GitLab, etc.
  • Continuous Integration and Continuous Development (CI/CD)

Plus can be:

  • Previous roles working in a technological organization, particularly in software development, QA, operations, or other engineering roles
  • Experience with data analysis tools
  • Experience with quantitative and qualitative data analysis

Because the Platform PM role requires you to work with and bridge between different teams and stakeholders across the organization, you’ll need to have strong communication and interpersonal skills. If you like helping people with opposing viewpoints find common ground, this will serve you well in this role. 

A business mindset and a bigger-picture perspective are also key aspects of this role, as you will regularly have to communicate with stakeholders and executives to ensure the internal platforms serve wider business needs.

Average salary ($, US-based): 145,600

Source: https://www.comparably.com/salaries/salaries-for-platform-product-manager