Author Archives: Vivek Vijayan

About Vivek Vijayan

A Technology Product Manager - I derive satisfaction when my product intelligently makes life easier for users.

Three questions to the Product Manager Shardul Mehta

Product Mantra is starting a new monthly Q & A series with Product Managers worldwide. We have decided to keep the format simple - just three questions. We start the series with the well known Product Manager Shardul Mehta of Product Canvas fame.

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Product Mantra: What do you think is the right personality for a Product Manager?
Shardul Mehta: Curiosity. Thirst for learning. Always wanting to know why. Great customer empathy. Technologist with customer experience chops and business sense. Always thinking about the future, but acts in the now. Get-things-done attitude. One of the best communicators in the organization. Leadership.

Product Mantra: When does Product Management get stressful? 
Shardul Mehta: Every job can be stressful when a lot is happening all at once. This is not unique to Product Management.

Product Mantra: Do you see the role of a Product Manager undergoing an evolutionary change in the next 10 years? If not why and if so how.
Shardul Mehta: Yes. It has to. PM missed the boat on Agile, Design Thinking, and Lean Startup. Product Managers spend too much time focusing on features, triaging engineering tasks, and managing releases. Instead, need to focus on the innovation process, customer development, and go-to-market strategies. That’s how it can add real, sustainable and measurable value to the business (and customers).

Thanks a lot Shardul – that was insightful – particularly on your opinion that PM missed the boat on Agile and Lean Startup. We will catchup – as a Product walks with the foot of the Product Manager and so we better catchup.

Shardul has a very useful blog here and a Twitter handle worth following here.

Do you monitor the dashboard daily? And react daily?

2869095880_b57de3336a_zIf you ask any Product Manager on what consists his/her daily routine at work, you will in a majority of the cases hear monitoring the dashboard as one of the starting items on any given day. As Product Managers we must be on the top of the dashboard. A recent incident makes me think, if we really should on a day-to-day basis “worry” about the change in metrics.

A few weeks back, I was palpitating looking a key metric which which was showing a downward trend since the last 3 days for no apparent reason. I drew a series of hypothesis and started chasing every hypothesis – some were a wild goose chase – with none of the hypothesis turning turning true. I looked at the external environment – nothing sudden was happening in the market. I looked at the data of the previous year – nothing really was co-relating with the present one. I was advised by my senior to wait and watch as there seems to be no apparent reason – sometimes there are short waves that come and go for no apparent reason and breaking your head over something of that sort might be a waste of time. I patiently waited. The metric came back to normal. Did I have to really deep dive and waste my time? Alternatively, if it was an upward trend, would I have created some hypothesis from thin air co-relating it with some changes we had made much earlier? We must look at the dashboard, not for blips, but as a whole over a well defined period of time. Well, if you had just launched a AB test you might be tempted, but even in that case until you get a statistically relevant number – do you really want to react?

Next time, when you ask a Product Manager what their daily tasks are and if you get a response saying “monitoring the dashboard and ensuring if things were OK”, ask them what happens if “things do not seem OK”. That will give you an insight into how an organisation works – impulsive and reactive  or well planned and organised.

Photo credit: Scania Group