We had conducted a Product Management Career Masterclass at IIM Bangalore on 25th May. The mentors for the event were Harshit Kumar, Sr. Product Manager, Microsoft & Vinod S, Sr. Product Manager at PayPal. The event was attended by a diverse set of industry professionals and students from diverse industries, functions and work experience. The master class started with introduction of the theme from Alok Shrivastava, Co Founder GoCrackIt followed by session by Harshit and Vinod’s on fundamentals of Product Management and how can one get into Product Management roles. Some of the insights as shared by Harshit can be found in the Part-I of this blog. This part contains the insights from talk of Vinod.
Who can become a Product Manager?
Vinod talked about how to get into a product manager careers. He emphasized that there is no defined pattern, but he talked about various patterns on how different people became product managers from different routes, including people from entrepreneurship, business analysis, sales & pre sales, software development to name a few. People also come in from different graduation backgrounds like MBA graduates, Engineers, Arts, etc. He also showcased his career journey.
The day to day life of a Product Manager
The day to day life of a product managers is filled with multiple activities in a day with a lot of meetings with different stakeholders including sales team, product development tea, top management etc.
What are the Challenges faced by a Product Manager?
The challenges which a product manager faces are, at one hand, understanding the user’s pressing problem, look at the data to analyse the problem, identify the solutions specific to the problem and decide on whether this product or feature is really what customer wants and should we make a big investment of time and capital in this product. On the othr hand, the challenge is really on running cross-functional teams and pushing people to get things done even though they will not directly report to you always.
Competencies required to become a Product Manager
Vinod has categorised competencies required for the Product Manager into following categories:
The following has been discussed:
- High Level Design or architecture knowledge is required
- You should be able to have a meaningful conversations and working with Engineers
- It will allow you also to ask why certain technical things are proposed in a particular way
- It will help you to identify why certain components are used in a Product
Discuss about Product Success metrics
- Depends on metric that firms want to define for a product aligning with their business strategies
- It could be revenue, engagement, retention of users, profits to name a few
How do professionals keep upgrading to the current tools and techniques required for Product management?
- Reading books such as “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”, “Lean Startup” etc.
- Watching YouTube regarding analytical and product space
- Understanding perspectives in Forums and Sessions
- Gathering thoughts and challenges from community of start-ups
- Online Trainings