“Charting A Career Path To Your Dream Product Management Job” with Muffi Ghadiali, VP Product Management, OUYA Inc., Advisor and Lecturer at Stanford CSP.
By Kishore Elimineti
January 2014 Event
Muffi started off talking about three important perspectives that every Product Manager should know to build a successful career in Product Management.
WHO IS A PRODUCT MANAGER?
Product Manager is a Link between business and customers. Product Manager is also an artist sculpting a product that: “Meets Needs”, “Works Beautifully” and”Makes Money”.
WHAT IS A PRODUCT?
Any Product constitutes three things “Physical Product”, “Service” and “Content” (software).
WHY DO PRODUCTS FAIL?
Products fail if any one of them is not achieved
- MEETS NEEDS
- MAKES MONEY
There are four essential elements which help you…Get In, Move Up, and Excel in Product Management.
- Know the technology and how your product works
- Make sensible product trade-offs
- Deliver while balancing scope, schedule, resources and quality
- The ability to persuade your team to align and deliver. Always stand beside the team not above, meet them personally, give them three choices and encourage them to think out of the box ( “Your Teams Are Your Tools”)
PRODUCT MANAGER JOBS & INTERVIEWS:
Startup versus Mature Companies: Known is more than unknown in mature organizations but in the case of startups it is more unknown than known. In startups, multidisciplinary flat team’s roles evolve Human dynamics which help in making quick decisions which is not true in mature organizations.
Before you start: Ask yourself the five Why’s:
- Why be a product manager?
- Why this product?
- Why this team?
- Why this job?
- Why this company?
Before the Interview: Learn everything you can about the Company, Team and Products
Every interview focuses on a set of common questions:
- Can you do the job?
- Do you really want to be here?
- Do we want you here?
- Do you have technology basics?
- Can you deal with conflict
- Do you have Product curiosity
- Most challenging Product launched
The Interview: Interview is a three step process starting with a Phone Screen then Onsite Debrief and (if you’re that “right fit”) an Offer
HOW CAN YOU TRANSITION INTO PRODUCT MANAGEMENT WITHOUT PM EXPERIENCE?
This is a catch-22 situation but can be dealt with below alternatives
- Talk to five PM’s and ask them five questions
- Place to start is where you are currently working right now
- Build a product by defining the product, building a team and shipping a product
PRODUCT MANAGEMENT MENTORSHIP: Below are the Tips for seeking mentorship
- Don’t be shy to request someone to mentor you
- Be honest
- Give something before you ask for information or help
- Have clarity before you ask
1) To be a successful Product Manager you need to know responsibilities, Product knowledge and reasons for product failures
2) Key Traits of great Product Managers include: understanding the technology Know How, making right decisions and efficient execution and persuasion
3) Working in Startup Vs Mature organizations has its pros and cons
4) Know about the product, company, team and job before going to an Interview
5) Transitioning into PM role without experience can be achieved by volunteering for Product Management work at your current organization or building your product idea
6) Don’t be shy and Offer something before you request someone to mentor you, be honest and have clarity before you ask questions
Kishore Elimineti is a Sr. IT Architect, Enterprise applications in Application Delivery Network industry. His interest is in Enterprise, Security, Internet, E-commerce, Cloud and Mobile. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through professional Network (www.linkedin.com/in/kishoreelimineti/)