What went wrong, and how it could have been better.

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From Ars Technica last Wednesday, January 6:
“WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messenger that claims to have privacy coded into its DNA, is giving its 2 billion plus users an ultimatum: agree to share their personal data with the social network or delete their accounts. The requirement is being delivered through an in-app alert directing users to agree to sweeping changes in the WhatsApp terms of service. Those who don’t accept the revamped privacy policy by February 8 will no longer be able to use the app.”

If you’ve not been living under the proverbial rock for the last few weeks, you know that this has been the hot topic. This sudden ‘Accept or Die’ by WhatsApp has people running away to other apparently ‘secure’ apps. …


Facebook’s masterplan to convert the free messaging service into a revenue-generating machine

Do a quick survey — look at everyone around you and see if they have a Whatsapp account that they’ve used today. 99.99% of the time you’ll find that everyone uses Whatsapp. In fact, unless you’re in China or parts of SEA, Whatsapp dominates your countries messenger space:

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Src

With a lead in 133 countries, Whatsapp looks ripe for commercialization — something that has already begun with Whatsapp for Business (which had over 300 million users in 2019, and currently, 175 million users each day who message a business account). …


Where do your users go if they cannot go forward or back?

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The average sign-up abandoned rate is 10%. In some badly designed sign up forms, this can go up to 60%! Considering that a logged-in user has an average lifetime value of $500, you’re losing anywhere between 50–250k, depending upon how many users attempt to sign up! And remember these users are painstakingly brought into your app through marketing efforts, so this is directly impacting your Customer Acquisition Costs too.

Engagement on a standard ecommerce app is a function of the friction offered. …


Qualitative & Quantitative analysis of statements and arriving at areas of opportunities for your product

Are you stuck identifying areas of opportunities in your product? Does your approach seem a little too scattered around, lacking structure? Then you need to try out the decision/issue tree (D/IT) method of structuring your thoughts.

I’ve been using D/IT for the last 3 months now and I guarantee you, it’s amazing! The D/IT method of identifying areas of opportunity & exploration in a time-constrained scenario helps to reach solutions quickly without fear of missing out on other opportunities.

Issue tree sounds like an old tool — not a modern tool often found in product managers toolkit. However, as often found with old tools — it works. …


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Over the last 10 years in Product Management, I’ve overlooked certain pitfalls that led to uncomfortable discussions with my Development Team & Stakeholders. I’ll walk you through those pitfalls and help you ensure that you don’t do the same in your journey in Product Management.

Preface

As a product manager, you’re required to switch contexts frequently. This has a toll on your ability to focus. One moment you are viewing a problem from 10,000 feet and the next moment, a tough design decision drags you to 50 feet. Every day, you experience this movement a thousand times — and you end up making mistakes. Fundamentals are thrown out of the window and the focus is to get things done, just so that you can go back home! …


A look at how a simple exercise in product thinking can lead to your projects’ success

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37% of projects fail because of a lack of clear goal (src)

Here is a compelling statistic for you: the most common reason why a project fails is a lack of clear goals. Look back at your past several projects and ask yourself, did you have a clear goal set for you? If yes, how relevant was it to the end-users? Did you know who was going to use the output of your project?

If your answers are in the negative, you have a problem. A serious problem.

Personally, every project that has failed to meet the expectation has been due to a lack of end-goal envisioning by the project sponsors/stakeholders/managers. And contrary to popular expectations, I blame the team that worked on the project. That the project owners failed to instill the end-user vision in you, isn’t their fault. …


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In my ten years of experience in product, indirectly influencing a development team has been a constant challenge. With an ever-growing organization & individual aspirations, it has become tough to keep the team aligned to the overall product vision. Politics, personal biases, and miscommunication between team members mar their ability to deliver exceptional value to the customer.

Over the years, I’ve built a framework when dealing with the technical team-members of my development team. This framework should work for all of you, with a few exceptions.

Product managers with a background in technical have to be especially careful in managing the team — their personal biases can come in the way of effectively guiding the team to the ultimate goals. I’m pretty technical myself, so this bias of mine has cost me some brownie points with the team. Thankfully, the team has been understanding and have highlighted these instances for me to improve. …


Ace your next interview by demonstrating these 5 qualities.

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Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

With the COVID crisis, and the focus on digital going up, we’re flushed with talent who have delivered spectacular solutions in the past. However, as I interview a lot of them over the last few months, few things set a select few apart.

The following are the qualities that set them apart:

1. Clarity of Thought

No matter how experienced you are, or the greatness of the solution you’ve delivered, if you cannot communicate your achievements and your contributions in a clear and concise manner, you have failed.

Clarity of thought is achieved after spending a rigorous amount of time understanding your work, the problem you are solving, and the impact your solution has/had on the customer. …


Uncovering betters way to manage products in a startup by doing and helping others do.

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The Startup Product Managers’ Manifesto

After spending 5 years in the exciting world of startups, I realized that there is a specific product mindset that thrives in that world. That mindset, if carried over to established organizations or large corporates, can have some devastating effect on the Product manager. However, in short sprints, this mindset is great to get off the plateau and rise higher.

As a startup grows, the role of the product manager (or the product team) evolves. Where they were initially driving macro gains through a dogged focus on low-effort-high-value items, they now drive more strategic optimizations that tie-in with the overall product strategy. Their initial dogma revolves around independent decision-making, learning things about the team, the customer, and the product. …


A comprehensive guide to manage change for product managers

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Managing change is a difficult aspect of Product Management, often looked over. As Product Managers, we’re all about change. Any constant is boring! There is always an opportunity to optimize, improve, or experiment! However, with every change that we bring, there is a change that might have an impact on the way of working for the rest of the organization.

None of the current Agile frameworks account for managing the organizational changes we’ve to implement, i.e., with a simple change like changing the payment screen, there is an impact on your organization — whether it is the marketing team tracking the user actions for retargeting OR the customer support team guiding the users, a change, no matter how small, has an impact. …

About

Rameez Kakodker

Simplifying Complexities for a Living | rkakodker.com

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