Nov 05 2019

The Secret Ingredient Driving Facebook's Product Teams

By Meta Careers
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“This is now your company!” Those are five words we share with every new Facebook employee on their first day, and we mean it. A lot of employees tell us that their favorite part about working here is how we regularly partner with highly collaborative, cross-functional product teams. There isn’t one single role that drives all of our product vision or decisions and every team member has the opportunity—and is encouraged—to voice ideas and opinions.
This collaboration helps maintain Facebook’s start-up culture and ensures people have a real opportunity to bring their ideas to life, despite the fact that we're now a large, global company. But in the spirit of our value of “Be Open,” sometimes working together across global teams is easier said than done. This is where our Product Technical Program Managers (Product TPMs as we call them) play a critical role to inspire organizational scale, efficiency, and deeper connection within and between product teams. Product TPMs do work that helps teams enjoy the experience along the way.

What is a Product TPM?

Product TPMs leverage a unique blend of technical strengths, leadership, and program management skills to accelerate delivery of products and programs. They drive strategy and execution for product platforms and specialized technical areas in addition to cross-team initiatives that require strong collaboration and breaking down complexity to deliver a product solution. Product TPMs are not crisis managers, technical consultants or communication facilitators. Rather, some Product TPMs dive deep into system design and architecture and are subject matter experts who help scale products.

In what areas do Product TPMs drive impact?

Product Platform
Product TPMs leverage their technical and product understanding of people problems and business needs to influence strategy and deliver solutions for end-to-end platforms, which are often leveraged by multiple internal and external products and people. An example:
  • Commerce Platform: To scale the Marketplace product, we enabled an end-to-end commerce experience on the platform from onboarding merchants to managing inventory to creating a checkout experience. The Product TPM leads onboarding and integration with platform partners and self-serve merchants, ensuring the experience supports high inventory on Marketplace. She also drives multiple cross team work streams to create the plan for inventory projections for each merchant insuring a high quality self-service experience and product.
Cross-Product Initiatives
Product TPMs leverage their technical product knowledge and leadership skills to drive complex cross-team initiatives that span multiple products and business needs. An example:
  • Riskatron: Riskatron is a scaled process to help find areas of potential risk within Ads. The Product TPM is technically savvy, knows the entire ads stack and has a strong risk mindset. The team leads mitigation strategies for product risks by partnering with many cross-functional partners to help reduce harm to people and businesses.
Specialized Technical Product Areas
Product TPMs leverage their domain expertise to drive these specific areas of product (performance, ranking, machine learning, API). This often requires deep understanding of the technology stack and industry knowledge. A few examples:
  • Search Internationalization: Improving the quality of search results for global customers is a complex problem that spans multiple teams, different technologies, and hundreds of languages and markets. Solving these problems requires a leader with the in-depth technical knowledge to understand the limits of current search technology. The TPM leading this effort engages with the technology, data and team to identify and size the problems. As a subject matter expert in linguistics, she brings in crucial knowledge, user research and external resources to help get through obstacles in understanding the language and culture issues at play. Finally, she drives cross team collaboration to solve key user pain points and brings the experience for international users up to the high quality bar expected from our product.
  • App Size Reduction: The drive to cap and trade on App Size is a focused effort to first cut and then actively manage growth. To solve this problem, the Product TPM develops an attribution framework with Infra and Product Foundation teams, creates rigorous regression management tooling, and develops a partner team engagement model. This empowers Facebook leadership to get accurate signal and make some tough prioritization decisions. The Product TPM drives this metric, actively collaborating on setting aggressive size reduction goals each half. This effort involves working with multiple teams across the company to find win-win opportunities to eliminate dead code and partnering with a wide range of Infra and Product engineers, data scientists, and data engineering.

Why join the Product TPM team at Facebook?

The opportunity to manage products that scale across the billions of people and businesses we serve is truly a humbling and career-defining challenge. Solving complex technical problems that scale across our family of products, coupled with learning how to adapt, trust, and influence without authority in cross-functional teams will evolve your skills and grow your confidence in new ways. For a product team to achieve success, all functional partners must closely collaborate to realize the vision together.
Everyone on a product team has the same goal—to successfully bring a product to market to serve people in a meaningful way. Have you product managed platforms, big data products, or enterprise products? Have you managed cross-team initiatives like integrity, privacy, or security? Are you an expert in building frameworks for strong Infra and Product Foundations? Working as a Product TPM at Facebook is a unique and significant opportunity to shape a rapidly growing discipline at scale. With mentorship, learning circles and foundational on-boarding support, there has never been a better time to join.

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