TPM vs EPM vs PM - Hardware Design

New / Eng El_Dorado
Aug 9 27 Comments

It's been so confusing for me to understand how different companies like Apple, Google & FB use these titles in Hardware domain?
Can anyone here pleaseee help me easily understand what's the actual "day-to-day" work of these roles?!

Which role really gets to create an impact with new product/concept and which ones' all about just slogging to keep the org moving?

Thanks! I really appreciate your time!

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TOP 27 Comments
  • Lyft !lyft
    TPM - program manager - you will own execution of a technical project.
    EPM - apple project manager - you will own the timeline and dependency coordination for a project.
    PM - Product manager - you will own vision and roadmap of the product..
    Aug 10 4
    • New / Eng El_Dorado
      OP
      Thanks! I am clear about TPM and EPM now... Trying to understand more on just PMs, if they do exist for hardware teams..
      Aug 10
    • Lyft !lyft
      PMs are more useful for envisioning customer experiences but less about technology.

      If the hardware you are talking about requires cutting edge advancement then PMs will be less useful.

      If you are talking about what customers problems one can solve using existing technologies then PMs will be useful.
      Aug 10
    • Apple Blynded
      I’m at SPG at Apple and I do a mix of all three. I’d say 55% program, 30% project, 15% product. It really varies a lot at Apple depending on org, as other people have said.
      Aug 12
    • New / Eng El_Dorado
      OP
      @Blynded As an EPM or TPM? What's the exact title?
      I assume the mix is also because it's SPG and there might be way less people compared to other groups ?
      Aug 13
  • Apple omSj88
    EPM (engineering program manager) at Apple and my work is split half product manager and half project manager.
    Aug 10 10
    • Google sbsjsj
      I don't work on consumer hardware, so I don't know who has a bigger voice in product strategy/design decisions but in general you have more space at Google to drive ideas and Initiatives. There are a good amount of internal programs and platforms that act as a test bed for your ideas
      Aug 12
    • Google / Design drangus
      Google HW has TPMs, EPMs and PMs. PMs play a key role in defining and executing the product. If you’re looking to have the most impact on a product, then PM is the role to go for. Source: I work in HW org.
      Aug 15
    • Google sbsjsj
      PMs as in product managers?
      Aug 16
    • Google / Design drangus
      Yes, product managers.
      Aug 16
    • New / Eng El_Dorado
      OP
      @drangus Good info! Thanks.. Can I DM you to know more about the HW org in Google please ?
      Aug 17
  • Microsoft
    Scion

    Microsoft

    PRE
    Taco Bell, Campbell Soup, Jack in the Box
    Scion more
    Basically if you have a PM in your title you get a lot of leverage to boss around engineers and get them to obey you. All PMs are first class citizens.
    Aug 12 6
    • Oracle djjdhbw
      Lol no
      Aug 12
    • New / Eng El_Dorado
      OP
      Looks like @Scion is an engineer and hates all PMs 😂
      Aug 12
    • Microsoft
      Scion

      Microsoft

      PRE
      Taco Bell, Campbell Soup, Jack in the Box
      Scion more
      PMs have a lot of authority. Everyone on my team deeply respects our Level 63 PM. No code gets written without his approval.
      Aug 12
    • Microsoft
      Scion

      Microsoft

      PRE
      Taco Bell, Campbell Soup, Jack in the Box
      Scion more
      Also scrum is like a religion on my team thanks to this PM. Not some fake religion but a real one like Scientology. Scrum has increased our productivity by 3% and has significantly improved our quality of life by 2% this last decade.
      Aug 12
    • New / Eng El_Dorado
      OP
      🤣🤣
      Aug 12
  • Apple / Eng nosuch
    Dunno about G or FB.

    EPM roles can be pretty different across Apple. In HWE, it mostly means timeline issues like !lyft mentioned above. Make sure all the part orders show up in the right place on the right day.

    But a lot of HW EPMs have a background in manufacturing engineering, and are also responsible for working with vendors to fix production problems and help them keep yields at acceptable levels.
    Aug 10 3
    • New / Eng El_Dorado
      OP
      Gotcha! If so are there just PMs for hardware roles ? Any idea extent of liberty they have in Hardware feature innovation?
      Aug 10
    • Apple 🥭mango
      No,

      They are mainly responsible for execution
      Aug 12
    • New / Eng El_Dorado
      OP
      Thanks for the clarification..
      Aug 12

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