How do you manage stress as a PM?

My lack of faith in engineering is echoed by my Mgr and previous product mgr. The alpha engineer is a grumpy negative guy who abuses the fact that he has the most legacy knowledge and gives half-assed answers or complains when you ask reasonable follow-up questions. Even the scrum master (new) was shocked how they talk to me like this. Their Mgr is too weak to give black n white guidance to his team. Compounded by the tech lead (a peer of the grumpy eng and they report to the same mgr) is deemed as a questionable hire who has no backbone and bends to the alpha grumpy eng and constantly defers to him and makes excuses for the grumpy guy. I ask a question and the tech lead asks the grumpy guy, he’d reply “we are saying the same thing over n over again” and rest of the team are contractors from overseas and they started to be extremely quiet… turns out they also struggle with the tech lead and find him to be extremely stubborn and not open to their ideas…

When I say accountability I’m talking about me.


One piece of advice from an experienced PM with 4 kids: Despite how much pressure you feel from work, always make sure you prioritize your family, relationships, and self-care. There are lots of jobs out there but you (typically) only get one family. If you find yourself in a company that is not providing an emotionally safe environment find a new job ASAP. Life is too short.

This is the way.

OP, constant stress can degrade your health, will put pressure on your family life and relationships. If you lose any of those, will be difficult or impossible to get back. I’m a dev manager, ex-director with 3 kids.

Sleep, eat well, exercise - a healthy you can take better care of the family and do better work. Except of the baby period, I would put this as first priority - put on your own oxygen mask first.

For the rest, strict prioritization and boundaries for work both in hours and mental capacity. Be present physically and mentally in your family life.

For work, make a priority list, discuss with your manager and tell what needs to wait. Discuss your issues with the engineer. Possible capacity or overcommitting problems are for the management to solve. Trust between the PO and the technical team members makes a huge difference both for the performance of the team and for the work environment. To be honest, based on your description, I would update my CV and would start looking. If you can’t move on for some reason, accept the situation as is and care less while doing the best you can.


This is the best advice. A Sr. Architect once put it to me this way, “You are juggling two balls with work and family. Thing is, one of them is made of glass.”

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PM for 10 years, director now, 2 kids. The stress is the same. Managing your mindset is a journey only you can walk, but here are some techniques that have worked for me:

  • Imagining the worst-case scenario, writing it down, and create a plan for how you would take action
  • Start separating the imposter voice from your own voice — my imposter voice is always noisier and sounds worried.
  • Exercise every day and pay attention to your sleep. A lot of what I attributed to work was really just sleeping deprivation from 2 kids under 5.
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Wow, this is just helpful advice in general. I like that first bullet point a lot. Thank you for sharing!

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