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Swimming with the Sharks (ProductCamp Boston 2016)

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Swimming with the Sharks (ProductCamp Boston 2016)

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What does it take to be a Product Manager? The skills needed to be a successful Product Manager.
- Passion to build products!

- Product Design skills:
Understanding what the user needs
Building Roadmaps
Defining requirements

- Product Building skills:
Making sense of lots of data
Prioritizing
Saying No

- Business skills:
Building a business case
Managing Stake holders
Communicating

- Be the glue!

About Amisha Thakkar

Product Manager at UpToDate.
Before that I was a Product Lead at PatientKeeper.
I’ve done pretty much everything in the software business - written code, been a scrum master, brought back “down” systems to life, talked to customers.
I have been building things since I was a kid Legos, circuits, software!

What does it take to be a Product Manager? The skills needed to be a successful Product Manager.
- Passion to build products!

- Product Design skills:
Understanding what the user needs
Building Roadmaps
Defining requirements

- Product Building skills:
Making sense of lots of data
Prioritizing
Saying No

- Business skills:
Building a business case
Managing Stake holders
Communicating

- Be the glue!

About Amisha Thakkar

Product Manager at UpToDate.
Before that I was a Product Lead at PatientKeeper.
I’ve done pretty much everything in the software business - written code, been a scrum master, brought back “down” systems to life, talked to customers.
I have been building things since I was a kid Legos, circuits, software!

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Swimming with the Sharks (ProductCamp Boston 2016)

  1. 1. Amisha Thakkar @amisha_thakkar_ Product Manager @ UpToDate Swimming with the SharksSwimming with the Sharks Image credit:dkidiscussion.blogspot.com
  2. 2. What does it take to be a Product Manager? What does it take to be a Product Manager?
  3. 3. • Passion! • Product design skills • Product building skills • Business Skills • Juggling What does it take?What does it take?
  4. 4. PASSIONPASSION
  5. 5. • You wish a product had “this” feature • You dislike something in a product & you know exactly how you would change it Passion !!Passion !!
  6. 6. PRODUCT DESIGN SKILLS PRODUCT DESIGN SKILLS
  7. 7. • Understanding what the user needs • Defining requirements • Designing intuitive products, solutions • Good design vs bad design - “It’s not a defect, it’s a feature” Product Design SkillsProduct Design Skills Image Credit: From the book “Don’t make me think” by Steve Krug
  8. 8. Book RecommendationsBook Recommendations
  9. 9. PRODUCT BUILDING SKILLS PRODUCT BUILDING SKILLS
  10. 10. • Making sense of lots of data • Prioritizing features • Building smart analytics into your product • Building roadmaps Product Building SkillsProduct Building Skills Image Credit: http://www.fridgemagazine.com/marketing/practical-tips-tools- conducting-market-research/
  11. 11. Short Term Roadmap ExampleShort Term Roadmap Example Image Credit: http://www.romanpichler.com/blog/goal-oriented-agile-product-roadmap/
  12. 12. Long Term Roadmap ExampleLong Term Roadmap Example Credit: http://www.tom-gray.com/2012/02/26/product-roadmap/
  13. 13. • Saying no to customers • Saying no to internal stake holders • It’s not easy !! Saying NO !!Saying NO !! Image Credit: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nadiabolzweber/2012/03/the- spiritual-practice-of-saying-no-sisters-take-note/
  14. 14. BUSINESS SKILLSBUSINESS SKILLS
  15. 15. The Business Case is a Decision Making tool • It helps the business quantify the opportunity • Maximise its investments • Find the opportunities that can deliver the highest returns • It helps the business prioritize its activities • Businesses have limited resources • Determine the best opportunities to allocate its people & money • Captures the assumptions and risks Writing a Business CaseWriting a Business Case Credit: http://www.slideshare.net/brainmates/stop-writing-bad-business- cases
  16. 16. CommunicationsCommunications
  17. 17. Managing StakeholdersManaging Stakeholders Image Credit: https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/managing-stakeholders- going-beyond-conventional-wisdom.php
  18. 18. Some times you will be juggling a million things!
  19. 19. Why call it Swimming with the Sharks?Why call it Swimming with the Sharks?
  20. 20. • You are dealing with a lot of complexity • You have to understand different perspectives • You are bridging the gaps • You have to figure out what communication styles work • You need persuasion skills It’s toughIt’s tough
  21. 21. • Situation: When a developer says I can’t build this • Situation: When your intention was to build a scooter but now it is becoming a bus • Situation: Everyone wants what they want right now but you can only do so much Common ChallengesCommon Challenges
  22. 22. It’s a lot of fun ! Image Credit: http://inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.com/2011/07/summery- ness.html
  23. 23. NEVER STOP LEARNING NEVER STOP LEARNING

Notas do Editor

  • How would you change these products
    Think of the street signs in Boston - small and hiding behind bushes
  • The Apple podcast app: a running stack of the most recently heard podcasts
    Wall Street Journal app on iPad (menu appearing on the tapping the right side of the screen)
    Be the captain of the ship
  • You may have designers in your company. But as a Product Manager you will have some design sense.
    You many think you know what the user needs but you don’t. Usually when you talk to a user you will learn something new.
    Talk to those:
    who are your users
    who are not your users
    Talk to your Support team (or Sales) - you will learn about where your user stumble frequently, what they complaint about frequently
    You will adopt methodologies of “user journey”, “user personas”
    Design “intuitive” products.
    Think about the last time you read a manual
    How often did you want to use a product that needed a manual (Example: Thermostat)
  • Trust signals on a website
    You can 7 seconds to make an impression
  • Making sense of lots of data:
    What market research is saying
    User surveys
    User interviews
    Competitor information
    News
    Data from your product analytics
    Prioritizing features:
    Figuring out what’s important at which stage
    MVP - Minimum viable product
    Product is never “done”, will not be static
    Take the example of to do list apps, reminders based on time, location
    Building smart analytics:
    In web products:
    Where are people clicking on
    How often are they clicking
    Are they following through in the workflow (example: is the shopping cart getting abandoned)
    What is the open rate of emails
    What is the click rate in emails
  • There are many different ways you can represent a roadmap, this is an example
    Vision of your long term goals, these could change but you are not completely drifting
  • Ever heard of feature bloat?
    Cars have 500 features, how many do you as a driver know about?
    Saying no to customers:
    There maybe features that only a few power users want that will distract the normal users
    Balancing the needs of your customers with your business needs
    Saying no to internal stake holders
    Example: Marketing may want a long list of items from the user while registering, but will they abandon your registration completely
    How have you dealt with this?
  • Depending on the size of your organization you could be communicating with any number of these people:
    Customers, users
    Engineering
    Manager
    Executives in your company
    Sales
    Marketing
    Support Team
    Trainers
    Know when to email, when to call, when to meet
    What media works best? Presentation, document, video, graphs and charts
    Meeting Management
  • Collaborating with some groups (Engineering, marketing - go to market plans)
    Reporting to some groups (Your management chain)
    Keeping some groups updated (Sales)
  • Sometimes:
    You will do program management
    You will be tech support
    You will write docs
    You will train sales
    Some days you will bring the pizza
    Be nice to your engineers, everyone always wants something from them yesterday
  • The Product Manager is responsible for the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition of a product or product line.
    Distilling complexity
    Email can sound harsh
    Instead of a long email thread, maybe just go talk
  • Book Recommendations:
    Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction Hardcover – by Philip E. Tetlock, Dan Gardner
    Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion - by Robert B. Cialdini

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