Is TPM a dead end?

Microsoft VxDG20
Jan 7 25 Comments

Principal TPMs are rare, with strong engineering background or life-long career in project management.

TPM is basically a project manager, with nowhere to grow past senior level other than eventually move to eng or PM and learn substantial technical or business skills. Agree?

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TOP 25 Comments
  • OpenTable Meliodas
    It is an overhead role. The career path is limited. This role will either report in to engineering or product management.
    Jan 7 0
  • Apple Flipcoin
    Manager of TPM is a popular track
    Jan 7 0
  • Amazon oiKK02
    TPM is an IC role. I agree with principal TPM being a unicorn — you have to be technically superior, domain expert \ SME and also be a project management guru. It is super hard. I have seen folks transitioning to SDM. That is hard in itself too. So I agree TPM is a dead end role one I am currently stuck at and would like to transition out of.
    Jan 7 6
    • Amazon oiKK02
      Yes I agree. But it is incredibly hard to get there.
      Jan 7
    • Amazon azmix
      True. That’s why you have to be really good to get there, but it’s totally possible. OP didn’t ask for easy :-)
      Jan 7
    • Amazon jetsteam
      Where did you see a bunch of Sr principal TPMs? There are only two
      Jan 7
    • Amazon azmix
      I personally know three :-)
      Jan 7
    • Amazon / Eng
      ObongoAmnz

      Amazon Eng

      PRE
      Microsoft
      ObongoAmnzmore
      Hardly believe you personally know ALL three Sr. Principal TPMs at Amazon. As of today there are only 3 in phonetool. Or are you Jeff B?
      Feb 2
  • Microsoft hotsteppa
    Very interesting thread as I was thinking of moving into this role. Now I'll reconsider.
    Jan 7 3
    • Microsoft / Product
      Brazuka

      Microsoft Product

      PRE
      Bain & Company
      Brazukamore
      Note the difference between PM and TPM. Microsoft doesn't even have TPM in the vast majority of orgs.
      Jan 7
    • Microsoft hotsteppa
      True, but technical acumen is subliminally there
      Jan 7
    • Amazon gDVc56
      So, Microsoft is probably the only place where a TPM can truly shine. Because at Microsoft the PM role is both product manager and technical program manager rolled into one. Or at least you can be like that. You don't want to be stuck doing just program management. And one of the ways to get out of that is transitioning into product management, after which your path upwards at big companies are again opened up.
      Jan 19
  • Microsoft tankes
    Whats is the difference between PM and TPM? On another note, MS has a lot of Principal PM and Principal SDM..What is the difference between Principal PM and Principal SDM?
    Jan 7 2
    • Amazon jetsteam
      PM is Program/Product Manager and SDM is Software Development Manager
      Jan 8
    • Amazon gDVc56
      Note, MSFT PMs are usually TPM and Product manager roles in one.
      Jan 19
  • Amazon MWqF00
    Some organizations don't even respect and regard the role as something of a value add to the team. That is why the growth prospects are rare.
    Jan 7 0
  • Amazon / Consultant Steel-man
    I believe it’s the other way around. TPMs can easily transition into a director/executive role.
    Jan 7 0
  • Intel UGeJ58
    Would a TPM role actually lead back to engineering past a senior level? Seems like a hard stretch only for the very best that use those relevant skills as a TPM
    Jan 7 2
    • OpenTable Meliodas
      No
      Jan 7
    • Microsoft VxDG20
      OP
      It would be a parallel move, at best. This is my original point: getting to principal level is probably easier if you stay on eng or PM track. If you are senior TPM, you have to make a choice and prove yourself as a senior eng/PM to get promoted, which takes years. Otherwise, you are stuck, as principal TPM is a unicorn.
      Jan 7
  • Amazon oiKK02
    How is oracle TPM role?
    Jan 9 1
    • Oracle oopoi
      Depends on the org. If you are in Seattle then Oci TPM roles are great
      Jan 11
  • Netflix login
    From what I have seen, TPM's are mostly retirees on the job...
    Jan 7 0

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