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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. …


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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. …


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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. …


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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. …


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Google Trends for Shopify & its competitors — Covid Lockdown period highlighted.

Is there a worthy Shopify alternative? Can there be a Shopify alternative? There is a beauty in Shopify that cannot be matched. But, as with everything digital, no slot at the top is guaranteed forever.

I was inspired to write this because of two things: the COVID lockdown that forced digital on businesses, small & large alike, AND this memo from 2010 by the Series A investor in Shopify (link).

Recap of Shopify & it’s Growth

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Shopify Usage Statistics (link)

Other than the Google-able things, here are a few unique points:

  1. They were taken up as part of the Bessemer’s portfolio to invest in bridging technologies for SMB in 2010.
  2. Over the last decade, they’ve managed to be active on 3.6 …


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Often times, I get asked the question, do I need to do some technical courses? They often time point to job descriptions that require an understanding of technical roles. And if you’re planning to get into technical PM roles, definitely! You need to know what you’re talking about — especially when you’re in sales meetings. However, for general product management, there is no need for you to get your hands dirty in the code. It helps though.

Your role as a product manager, usually, will need you to position yourself as a product leader for your Development Team (which includes not only Devs & QAs but also UI/UX, Analytics, and others). …


Image of woman going through scrum tickets with her team.
Image of woman going through scrum tickets with her team.
Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

Communication is an intricate part of Product management. If you’ve been reading my articles, you’ll know that I emphasize the following adjectives to describe your communication: subtle, concise, and correct. Over the last 10 years, I’ve spent honing my communication skills as much as I have spent developing my product skills. And it has reaped benefits.

As far as communication skills go, visual and written play the most important role. …


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Mature product organizations have it easier than their newbie counterparts. Established product organizations have a semblance of a framework, established value for product, a support structure for new product persons joining, and product mentorship.

However, as the ONLY product manager in an organization, you have a lot of responsibilities. You have to establish the product function, differentiate yourself from a project manager (common confusion), and create order in chaos.

Chances are, you’re joining a nascent organization with a few product evangelists (people who know or believe in the value of a product function).

You have also their hopes and their expectations to manage. …


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Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

A common question I get from new product managers is how do they get the development team/stakeholders to agree to the terms they’re proposing OR how do they negotiate the terms of product feature and scope?

These should sound familiar if you’re already handling products:

“The designs submitted cannot be completed within the given time! We need more time!”

“We cannot complete all of the stories within the sprint, in time for the demo. Can we postpone the demo?”

“The CEO saw the checkout designs and has asked for massive changes to it before we go live. …


Product management demand has grown substantially over the last half-decade. In the US alone, the demand has gone up by 32% (2 year period as of June 2019), beating other roles in software. It is no wonder than new product managers are thrust into this maddening management of chaos we call Product Management.

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Source

So, there you are! With a non-technical or technical background, standing at the edge of the precipice, peering down into the valley of Product Management. …

About

Rameez Kakodker

Simplifying Complexities for a Living | rkakodker.com

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