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How to Be an Impactful Product Manager by Uber Product Manager

How to Be an Impactful Product
Manager by Uber Product Manager
Join 23,000+ Product Managers on
Product Management
Learn the skills you need to land a product manager job

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How to Be an Impactful Product Manager by Uber Product Manager

  1. 1. www.productschool.com How to Be an Impactful Product Manager by Uber Product Manager
  2. 2. FREE INVITE Join 23,000+ Product Managers on
  3. 3. COURSES Product Management Learn the skills you need to land a product manager job
  4. 4. COURSES Coding for Managers Build a website and gain the technical knowledge to lead software engineers
  5. 5. COURSES Data Analytics for Managers Learn the skills to understand web analytics, SQL and machine learning concepts
  6. 6. COURSES Digital Marketing for Managers Learn how to acquire more users and convert them into clients
  7. 7. COURSES Blockchain for Managers Learn how to trade cryptocurrencies and build products using the blockchain
  8. 8. Akram Hassan TONIGHT’S SPEAKER
  9. 9. How to be an impactful product manager Akram Hassan - Product Manager @ Uber
  10. 10. Disclaimer The views and opinions expressed in this presentation and on the following slides are solely those of the presenter and not necessarily those of my current employer.
  11. 11. Agenda ● Introduction ● The PM role ● How to drive impact using a simple approach ● Random pieces of advice
  12. 12. About me Started my career back in my home country Egypt as an Engineer and moved to the U.S in 2006 Started as a program/product manager in Microsoft and almost been in product for 12+ years ● Microsoft 2006 - 2013 ● EMC 2013 - 2017 ● Uber 2017 - Present
  13. 13. The product manager role is one of the most undefined roles in the Tech industry Marketing Engineering UX Design Sales Data Science Legal Customers Partners
  14. 14. Why hire a product manager? Is that it? ➔ Customer engagement ➔ Requirements definition ➔ A coordinator across teams ➔ Project Management ➔ Partner management
  15. 15. Ultimately you are hired as a product manager to make an impact on the product
  16. 16. You are measured by the impact you make and mostly that what builds your resume.
  17. 17. Vision Strategy Roadmap Execution Impact
  18. 18. Where to start!
  19. 19. A Simple Approach How How will we get there? Why Why we need to solve this? What What are we trying to achieve?
  20. 20. A person that does this really well is Steve Jobs
  21. 21. The Why
  22. 22. Define the problem What are we trying to solve, and why? Is the problem worth solving?
  23. 23. Who’s the customer Who are we serving, and what value are we bringing? Define the customer and then be in the shoes of your customer. Tip The customers will always tell you what they need right now, but shouldn’t be telling you what is the right solution
  24. 24. Validate assumptions Don’t just take whatever vision or mission leadership has defined. You need to validate assumptions Tip Don’t take assumptions for granted, you need to validate and assess before you dive in
  25. 25. Gather Insights Gather insights about your customers, market and opportunitiesTip Every organization is different but in today's world data is key to build your hypothesis
  26. 26. The What
  27. 27. Begin with the end in mind Start with a picture of where you want the product to be in the long term and then work backwards
  28. 28. Forward looking It needs to be a multi-year plan that is forward lookingTip Always ask yourself what is the end game here.
  29. 29. Be ambitious It needs to be ambitious enough to be something to look for.Tip Don’t limit yourself with the tech or constraints of today, think without constraints
  30. 30. Grounded in reality Be grounded in real customer needsTip Think of customer needs as a collection of pain relievers and gain creators.
  31. 31. Define success Define what success looks like at the endTip Make sure you have measurable KPIs that you can measure success
  32. 32. The How
  33. 33. Build the story Stories make it easy to understand and grasp by everyone so build an end to end story Tip Tell the audience about the problem through a story, ideally a person.
  34. 34. Define the big bets Start with the big bets that will make big impact on your roadmapTip Think what will move the needle for your strategy and ultimately your roadmap
  35. 35. Build it bottoms up and top down Depend on your team to come up with ideas and align them with your strategy Tip Utilize the collective energy of your team, excite them with your vision and they will amaze you
  36. 36. Take small steps Be specific in the short term but less in the long term.Tip Plan and deliver in increments rather than deliver everything in one shot. Giving you time to improvise.
  37. 37. Random pieces of advice
  38. 38. Communicate up, down and across ➔ Leadership alignment ➔ Excite the team ➔ Align with the rest of the org
  39. 39. The wrong customer ➔ Especially in the enterprise space a lot of times the product gets sold to the wrong customer ➔ Avoid special features that don’t align with the product vision and strategy. Say No
  40. 40. Engineering Debit ➔ Doing too much then you won’t go anywhere ➔ Doing too little it will hinder the product growth and scale
  41. 41. Dependencies ➔ Scrutinize every dependency you take and make sure it aligns well with the vision and strategy. ➔ It is better off not to take any dependency in the early stages
  42. 42. Use the force ➔ Every organization has a key competency ➔ My advice know it and use it
  43. 43. Listen to your inner voice ➔ Everyone has his own inner voice guiding us, listen to it!
  44. 44. You are it! ➔ There is no one else defining what the product will do, or where it is heading. Believe me you are it!
  45. 45. Thank You

Notas do Editor

  • Came from an Engineering background then changed roles to a PM. My experience @ Microsoft and Uber as a PM has been focused on being a platform pm vs. EMC more consumer focus
  • If you look at all these functions, PM is the space in between all these roles. They are the ones bringing everyone together across a single vision.
  • Although most of the below are tasks a PM may do they are not why you are hired. There is a lot more to PM than that
    Requirement management: We have some customers and we want a product manager to talk to them
    A coordinator: We have a lot of partners and we need some customer interaction
    Project Management: We need someone to keep track of the work we’re doing being a scrum master
    Partner management: We need someone to coordinate work across multiple teams

    These are aspects of the job but this is not why you were hired you were hired.
  • Most of the times I ask teams why you need a product manager? You are hired to make an impact on your product. But what is that impact how can it be defined?
    You are hired to make an impact on the product, team and ultimately your organization.

    You are hired to outline the vision, define the strategy and how we are going to take this product forward

    The role of product managers is to bring everyone together across a single vision they are the ones that need to see the light at the end of the tunnel and take us by hand towards that light while doing that they need to at this regard a lot of the noise I don’t know a good product managers is the one that can say no not yes
  • If you look at the PM resume what you are trying to get out of it is what kind of impact they had. Of course we look at the work history, but impact is what ultimately decides for you what they actually did. Now lets define impact
  • First lets look at what constitutes impact. How can we define it. Simply to get to impact you need to build Vision, Strategy and then your roadmap then execute on it and this is basically impact.

    PMs are hired to draw the vision and then set the strategy and from there define the roadmap. Then as they execute they drive actual impact.
  • The big question is where to start! This is probably the toughest aspect of our jobs as PMs is to put our hands where to start, and mostly it defines how we are going to make progress moving forward.
  • The problem, solution and value Steve has been a master at talking about the problem, then presenting a solution and convincing you of the value it brings.
    First iMac he was presenting after he got back to Apple, and one thing resonated very well with me in his presentation when he showed a PC with 10s of cables all scrambled in the back and then he had one cable for the iMac. Further when he talked about the having a built-in ethernet and making it internet ready!
  • The why is ultimately about the problem space. Is why do we need to invest here. Why does this project ultimately exist?
  • So defining the problem is probably half of what you are doing. If you fail here everything else has a cascading effect. It is important to put your hands on the problem we are trying to solve. Over and over we see teams or individuals failing to define what is the problem we are trying to solve. It is a classic everyone falls into that trap especially with new ideas.
  • You represent the customer in every way, so you need to be the shoes of your customers. Team members will ask you in every what will customers think of this or that for every feature they bring.
  • Everyone assumes. Validate everything and anything. I usually start with the notion all false until proven otherwise :), a lot of times people assume and build their view based on these assumptions. They assume about the customer, about partners, about the market, about the competition, about almost everything. Validate and make sure you do that in the way that is not discrediting people around you.
  • What are the market challenges, competition, key players
    What are the customer gains and pains
    What is the best business model that fits your product

    Data is great, but ultimately it is there to inform you. Don’t rely too much on data you need to build your strategy based on what is the business model. A good business model for your product depends on your market.


    A good reference is business model generation
  • The what is basically what are we trying to achieve here. Basically it is your strategy and what approach you will use to go after the problem. It is basically saying what is our end game here?
  • Always have a picture of where is the end state. Draw that picture very well. I always take people and say close your eyes and dream where we should be. Based on that we start the end state. Having the end in mind lets you work towards a goal, a clear goal that everyone is trying to get to. Further it becomes your “North Star”, having that in your plan helps work towards something and also helps align you to always to get back to it if you get off track.

  • It needs to be forward looking enough to be multi-year. Don’t think of just short term gains it needs to be defining what is the end game. This is ultimately what your strategy is evaluated on.
  • You need to have ambitious goals that are not easy to achieve. They need to be ambitious enough to excite your team and customers. It needs to be something your team is looking forwrad to. Don’t go with an easy to achieve goal. You need to have a BHAG
  • It still needs to be grounded in real customer needs. Don’t go and dream of some mythical customer and start building a very fluffy vision. It needs to touch on customer needs. Pains and Gains of your customers. Your customers are a collection of pain relievers and gain creators.
  • It is not easy to define measurable KPIs for every problem space. However, that what brings us back to the question, are we achieving our goals? Without KPIs we can lose track of what we are trying to achieve. It is very important we develop a cadence for measuring success.
  • Start with the customer and build a story around them. Make sure your story is continuous and has a sequential flow. Show the impact / value prop you are making on your customer. Show success at the end of the story and how you reach that happy ending.
  • As you build your story you need to define what are the big bets that will move the needle. These could be features or initiatives within your product
  • Invite your team members and start building the plan but remind them always to align with the strategy and big bets we are all making. They will amaze you!
  • As you build your plan be more specific in the near term and vague in the long term.