Product Architect Role Skill Set

The following set of skills, listed in alphabetical order, is essential to the Product Architect role:

Business Skills—ability to comprehend the business context and market problem that drive the building of a product.

  • Conceptualization Skills—ability to create product architecture, and evaluate and foresee the applicability of diverse architectural designs relative to the product.
  • Engineering Skills—ability to advocate and relate to different product development methods and modeling techniques.
  • Leadership Skills—ability to rally and gain backing from internal stakeholders in order to build organizational support for the proposed architecture.
  • Mentoring Skills—ability to counsel teams and individuals to wholly understand and effectively implement the proposed architecture.
  • Technology Skills—ability to understand in depth, analyze, and select current and emerging technologies that are pertinent to the product and company.
  • Visionary Skills—ability to create and articulate architectural and technical visions for the product.

Product Architect Role Overview Table

The product architect role overview table (Table 16.3) provides the role’s general profile and a list of its key characteristics.

Table 16.3 Product Architect Role Overview Table

Attributes/Role

Product Architect

Alias

Requirements engineer, requirements manager, solution architect, business analyst, systems analyst

Expertise Type

Domain expertise

Expertise Focus

Product expert

Essential

Function

Devise a functional solution

Professional

Goal

Satisfied product developers

Primary

Deliverables

Product Requirements Document (PRD)

Support

Deliverables

Product features matrix, roadmap (contributory role)

Internal

Interfaces

Engineering, product marketing, product planning

External

Interfaces

Contract development firms, technology partners, customers

Education

Technical undergraduate degree (specific or diverse subjects)

Mindset

Technical, formalized, deterministic

Skill Set

[Skills listed in the Role Skill Set section]

This section describes the Sales Engineer role. The sales engineer has domain expertise in a particular technology or product type from a sales perspective. Sales Engineering is a discipline that is focused on a consultative style of interaction with customers to help them realize the value and functionality of a product.

The sales engineer is a tactical role that is owned by an advocacy expert who is primarily responsible for outbound product-centric activities, such as pre-sale support and product demonstrations. The sales engineer, relying on his/her technical skills, helps customers understand how the product delivers the necessary value and functionality that address the customers’ business or consumer problem. Another objective of the sales engineer is to provide critical input or feedback to the product planner regarding customer needs and problems. All this is accomplished via frequent on-site customer visits and public engagements at conferences and conventions.

The sales engineer understands the business context and the market problem relative to the product, is well-versed in the product’s internals and feature set, and is a consummate communicator.

From a deliverables perspective, the sales engineer drives the making of company and product presentations, product demo scripts, and product review guides. Other supporting documents that might be prepared include win/loss analysis questionnaires and reports, and marketing collateral.

The prime goal of the sales engineer role is to ensure that customers have adequate knowledge of the value that a product holds and an understanding of its functionality.

The sales engineer must be able to communicate well with both external and internal organizations. External to the company, the sales engineer communicates and works with customers, reviewers, analysts, and journalists. Internally, the sales engineer communicates and works with organizational functions such as engineering, product marketing, and product planning.

Sales engineers often operate under titles such as Product Evangelist, Technical Evangelist, Technical Sales Support, Pre-Sale Engineer, Outbound Product Manager, or Technical Product Manager, yet regardless of the title they all perform a relatively similar set of tasks.

 
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