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How to Setup TPMs for Success: Essential Tips for Teams and Organizations

Today, I wanted to take a different angle and share some tips for teams and organizations who are starting to hire TPMs, to help them scale and be more efficient. However, many times teams and orgs make the mistake of thinking of TPM as someone who can help scale another individual like an engineering manager or do the tasks you don’t have the time for or don’t want to do. Think of a TPM as a strategic partner, someone who will make your vision come to life.

How to setup TPMs

Top Strategies to Setup TPM Teams for Success

Here’s how you can ensure that TPMs on your team are successful and enable you to meet business objectives.

Be Clear On Your Needs

When bringing on a new TPM, clarify why the team needs a TPM and why now. Think about your top 3 business initiatives that require TPM support. Talk to your team members and other stakeholders and ensure that everyone understands the TPM role and the value they bring. Have a discussion about the responsibilities and what outcomes are needed for the team to be successful.

Have A Plan

Have a clear plan in place on how you want to the Technical Program Manager setup for your programs. What is the level and expertise you want to hire for? For example: Do you need a Senior TPM or do you need a Staff TPM? How do these levels align with Big Tech like Facebook / Meta and Google TPM functions? What are the best Technical Program Manager interview questions to ask that will help you hire the best candidate for your needs. You also want to think somewhat into the future and ask yourself on how you intend to grow the TPM function.

Onboard Collaboratively

Once the TPM joins the team, don’t just handoff a plan and disappear. You and your teams need to work collaboratively to maximize TPM effectiveness. The TPM will likely have lots of questions and having someone to partner with will help them understand the team/org. This will make it easier for them to find the right solutions that work for you.

Empower the TPM

Give the TPM ownership of a meaty problem. Point them in the right direction but make them feel empowered to come up with ideas and solutions. Brainstorm and discuss those ideas together and even challenge them to think outside the box. Do not micro manage them but hold them accountable. Build a trusting relationship and the TPM will be your biggest advocate. Effective team management is about making them feel part of the team.

Involve them

Don’t expect the TPM to perform if they are not in the relevant discussions. TPMs are often analytical and need to understand the rationale behind what is being asked of them. Make sure that TPMs are in all relevant product and technical conversations like requirements discussion, design reviews, user feedback etc. They may not be writing requirements or code, but their understanding of the big picture and ability to connect dots is highly useful in all conversations.

Provide clarity on ownership

We all know that TPM role straddles multiple disciplines especially product and engineering. In smaller teams, an engineering manager or product manager will often play the TPM role. However, as teams grow and a TPM is brought on to handle cross-functional complexity, the lines of ownership of certain areas can get fuzzy. Every team is different and every individual has different dynamics. Therefore it is important to sit down and have an open discussion on ownership and who will do what.

Provide timely and direct feedback

A TPM will grow and make a bigger impact with continuous feedback. Provide them with feedback regularly so they can quickly incorporate any changes in style or action to produce results that work for the team. Make your feedback direct and honest. This can be difficult but circumventing the actual issue will not help either party.


Want to setup a TPM organization and need advise on the best way to create a TPM function? Contact Priyanka to request a free introductory consultation call.


Are you a TPM actively interviewing to land your dream job? Check out these interview tips and Cracking the TPM Interview Course.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of a TPM in an organization?

A Technical Program Manager (TPM) acts as a strategic partner who helps bring the organization's vision to life. They manage cross-functional projects, align stakeholders, resolve dependencies, and ensure that business objectives are met through effective program execution.

Why is it important to clarify the need for a TPM before hiring?

What are some tips for integrating a TPM into an existing team?

How can TPMs contribute to scaling teams and organizations?

What are some common mistakes organizations make when hiring TPMs?

How can effective team management improve TPM success?

What are TPM best practices for handling cross-functional complexity?

How can organizations support TPMs in their professional development?

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