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Deepak Singh

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Motto: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Deepak is passionate about product development & growth, behavioral economics, and building defensible businesses. He loves data and is learning to build products that change the world for the better! Deepak currently works at UpGrad.

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Do You Really Need an Offline MBA to Become a Great Manager
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Do You Really Need an Offline MBA to Become a Great Manager

A Disclaimer: I refer to those professionals who don’t have a Management Degree and are striving to make a transformation in the managerial role in their career. The business ecosystem is changing every day and so are the requirements from the business professionals. Accelerating and augmenting the business to sustain in the market, has been a consistent pertaining need of the hour. The growth of high-end technology has enabled to automate the business processes and reduce the mundane labor of work. Yet, the role of management to develop, plan, strategize and execute the operational business tactics is inevitable for any organisation. Most of the corporate career path, especially non-technical and non-engineering channels of business, leads to this management segment or the managerial role. A leadership role which is alluring and encouraging to seek greater success in the corporate arena. Is the path to the Managerial role a straightforward route? The initial formative years in the corporate world sows the seeds and dreams of a dynamic career. The peers and managers influence and strengthen our dreams. Most of us look up to these managers and wish to achieve the same. But, after the initial phase of sugar and spice, the reality checks-in when the professionals face the real competitive environment for the managerial role. The path to the managerial role comes with a great responsibility and vision. A professional management certification on your sleeves is a perfect incentive and an entry ticket to achieving this managerial designation and can offer an upper hand when compared to others who do not have one. At this juncture, most of the corporate enthusiasts go through a midlife crisis. Confused whether to quit the job, pursue a degree from a reputed B school such as IIM, ISB or International Institutions, or get a management degree from some random management institution. Real Individual Growth, the Catalyst for Success A low CAT score also sometimes forces them to settle for something very less and eventually hits them hard on their pockets. Most of us believe just a paper of certification would suffice to pursue this role, contrary to the reality. A lot of corporate professional’s dwell in this dilemma for a very long time and sometimes miss out the major career turning point of their life. If you are sailing on this boat, we are here to anchor you and show you the right path. Even after more than two decades and tremendous technological advancement and process automation, the implications of managerial role and management skills have not come down. Having said that, there is a steady decline in the fad of the management studies and certifications from B Schools. The lure of being an IIM or any other B school alum has been declining for quite some time. Research studies conducted by ASSOCHAM show that only 20% of students passing from B schools end up in jobs which are aligned with their studies. The campus placement scenarios in these management institutions are extremely grim and have dropped down severely. Most of the students end up in low-salaried jobs and struggle for years to pay their educational loans. So, why take the pain of writing a CAT examination, quitting your job and pursue a management degree which might end up in a path filled with the bumpy road in your career than the present scenario? You might be wondering what could be the other ways where you don’t have to take a break as well as get a management degree? We are here to help you out. Gone are the days when Management studies were a lucrative and luxurious educational stream, mostly pursued by professionals who have a strong and wealthy background and who could afford to take a break whenever they wished to. Today, Management studies with a certification in hand, are vital to growing up in the corporate ladder. Having said that, the online and distance education system of learning and acquiring skill sets has enabled professionals to look at the pros and cons of entering the campuses of B Schools with a different perspective. The corporate programs offered by online educational institutions such as UpGrad, inspire professionals to take up Management Studies and transform their careers without pausing or halting in the middle. This transformational journey is like The Road to El Dorado filled with bumps and potholes. From being a subject matter expert to a managerial role without quitting the job requires an investment of time and conscious efforts to balance the ongoing role and acquire skills for the new role. Some of us might be doyens in our area of expertise and possess in-depth knowledge about the domain. However, we might lack the managerial skills to plan and execute the business improvement ideas. For example, as a developer, you might have a fresh and great idea to augment the features of the product you are developing and make it more conducive for the customer and incur more revenue for the organisation. Nevertheless, you might not be able to forecast, plan, budget and execute the different aspects of the business to implement your idea. This is where the necessity of acquiring managerial knowledge and skills comes handy. The need of proficient business managers is on the rise to tackle the challenges of the dynamic and fluctuating business environment. In the present scenario, most of the business managers are required to look beyond the present and foresee the challenges of the future and be planned and prepared for any type of crisis. The product managers are in a constant battle to grow the business with creativity and speed. These online management courses will help build and hone the necessary skills such as researching and synthesizing information of the business, communication skills and project management along with knowledge and application of diverse management tools. The Certification of Management Studies would empower the students with the knowledge to handle the projects from the business profit and loss perspective and augment it creatively to the best of the business needs. Though these are not a full-time professional degree course, there are impeccable advantages of opting for such online management certifications. These corporate online programs have endured giving a virtual learning experience just like a real-time educational institution. The best feature of these online management certifications is that most of them do not have any entrance exams. So, zero fear of passing or failing at the entrance exams. Above all, these online courses can be pursued with or without taking a break from your career. After all, who would wish to take a break, make a huge investment and live in financial crunches for years? These online courses and certifications do require an extra little time investment in your daily life (of course every course has a time limit). These courses, besides giving in-depth theoretical knowledge about the business concepts also help you understand the practical real-time business scenarios and the challenges of the industry. These courses also impart insights and information about the changing trends of the market through applied projects along with personalized mentorship. The plethora of options for the corporate professionals available in the education world would help them seek the required managerial and leadership skills without any hindrance in the career. An online education which is exclusively skill-based training along with intellectual and innovative awareness and application of the business tools to provide exception management services for the business. Much for the best of the students and professionals, these management programs are certified in collaboration with reputed national and international business schools. Once acquired the degree as well as the essential skills, the corporate professionals can showcase their talent to grow up in the ladder. As these courses are pursued as an on-the-job educational enhancement, it will be a perfect way to apply the management skill in your daily professional life and show your peers and seniors the innate potential and the acquired new skill for the optimum career growth. With the timely execution of the skills in the business and visible impact on the business, the transformational journey from a subject matter expert to the managerial role would take place. The expedition from a subject matter expert to a managerial role not only requires the technical skills and managerial skills but also needs a shift in the mindset. When you are a subject matter expert, you must be a pro at your subject. You need to be a master of your domain. The go-to person for all the product development problems. Why Skill Development is Really Important for Success You need to help the team solve the problems when under the technical crisis and find solutions to the product issues. But, the scenario completely changes when you are looking yourself for a management role. You are not just a problem solver. You need to think and forecast when and how the problem would arise, how many resources would be needed to solve the issues and what is the time-delay which would happen if problems arise. An end to end overview of the project in terms of business vision and mission. As a Manager, the way you approach the business would change drastically. These management degrees will help you visualize the day to day problems of the individual projects from the business perspectives. You will start looking the projects in terms of revenue generation and contribution to the profits of the organisation. As a manager, you would need to have a much profound thought and views about the resources available and the future necessity of the resources, along with the time management, so that the project schedules are met in a timely fashion to the customers as per the schedule. You also need to overview the performance of the individual team members depending on their contribution to the projects. In short, you as a manager must have the potential to show the entrepreneurial skills such as resource management, time management, business operations management besides having the knowledge of the product development. Learn MBA Courses from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Executive PGP, or Advanced Certificate Programs to fast-track your career. Do You Have All the Skills Required to Start a Business? This revolution in the mindset does not happen overnight or just by possessing the theoretical knowledge. This change in the way of thinking and execution of the business goals comes after a lot of daily business crisis encounters over a period. The best way to kick off this journey of managerial metamorphosis is to pursue an online management degree along the side of your ongoing corporate career. Sow the right fertile seeds today for a better constructive and thriving professional career.

by Deepak Singh

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01 Mar 2018

A Start-Up’s Guide to Data Analytics (Part One)
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5299

A Start-Up’s Guide to Data Analytics (Part One)

This is the first of a two-part series. Part One — Building A Data Warehouse Nowadays, everyone wants to build a data warehouse. But does one really need it? Even if you need it, how do you know you’re building the right thing and when are you really going to start to reaping early benefits from it? But first things first, what is a data warehouse? Simply put, it’s a single place where you can store data from all sources. It helps one answer the questions that require complex analysis involving data from multiple sources. You can also build a data warehouse in a fashion that you get your most frequent data requirements taken care of quickly. A year ago, we were struggling with this question at UpGrad — to build or not to build a data warehouse? In order to answer this, and many other such questions, we talked to a lot of other people who had done it before. The first thing that we noticed was that to build a data warehouse (or DW), you need the right team of data engineers, architects, analysts and product managers. The first question we asked was — is it really worth that much investment? Learn Data Science Courses online at upGrad To find the right answer, we need to ask ourselves the right set of questions. These questions might take a good deal of time and energy, but once you are done with these, you will be far more confident about whether to move ahead with DW or not. Here, we’ll provide the answers we got from our own exercise to enhance your understanding, and hopefully aid you in this process of deciding whether or not to set up your own data warehouse. Question #1: What answers do you want to get from analytics/data? And at what frequency? As you must have noted already, this is the most important question of all. You must involve other teams (Sales, Marketing, Business) while answering these questions to make sure you don’t miss anything. What this meant for us: We wanted 3 important answers from analytics/data: a. Which channels in marketing are performing well i.e. multi-channel attribution? UpGrad’s marketing team uses different channels, both online and offline, for user acquisition. We conduct offline workshops and events for professionals seeking a career upgrade. We also use online channels like Facebook and Google to attract these professionals. So it becomes very important for us to know which channels are performing well, in order to craft our marketing strategy on a weekly, or even daily, basis. Further, we also want to know whether re-marketing or offline efforts have any effect on converting these users into paid students. b. What does our conversion funnel look like? Our funnel looks much larger than most companies. First visit — signup — application start — application submit — test-taken/exempted — shortlist — paid. It is critical to know what the funnel looks like based on multiple different features like city, age group, acquisition channel etc. c. Can we predict whether a user will end up paying or not, i.e. lead scoring? Lead scoring can be based on two things — fit and interest. The fit is determined by user attributes like years of experience, GRE/GMAT/CAT score etc. Interest is based on how active the user has been on the website, or how responsive the user is to calls or emails. Apart from these, we wanted to: d. Track every student performance in a course or program so that we can help them at the right time. e. Monitor student’s ratings and reviews of the course content. We got many more such questions from different teams… but you get the idea. Top 4 Data Analytics Skills You Need Question #2: Which of these answers are already provided by the current setup, or would require only minimal tweaks? Asking this question will give you a good sense of current database capabilities. Make sure you have the right engineers in the room when you ask this (hint: most of these would be backend engineers in a startup who look after the transactional database). What this meant for us: a. Multi-channel attribution Before making a purchase, visitors makes many visits through different channels. Sometimes they simply find you on Google and come to your website, and sometimes they come to attend an offline promotional event. So when a visitor finally buys the product, we want to be able to attribute which of the channels have been most effective. To do so, we have to merge both online and offline data* in one place and run different attribution models. b. Conversion funnels Our funnel again includes some offline components, like shortlists and tests which are uploaded manually into Salesforce by the counselling team. The funnel requires merging webstream data to Salesforce data. c. Lead Scoring Most of the lead scoring tools are basic. For example, you can score on the basis of events streamed in Pardot (by Salesforce). We needed a system which could merge data from Salesforce, web analytics, and emails to give a final score based on fit and interest. d. Student performance Since this data is stored in a transactional database, we could find a visualisation tool like BIME or Tableau to pull the data and create these tracking dashboards. upGrad’s Exclusive Data Science Webinar for you – ODE Thought Leadership Presentation document.createElement('video'); https://cdn.upgrad.com/blog/ppt-by-ode-infinity.mp4   e. Student’s ratings and reviews Same as (d) above. So, we started building a data warehouse schema, keeping in mind a, b, and c. Many startups don’t require lead scoring and have only one source of data for conversion funnels and attribution. For those startups, a Business Intelligence (BI) tool is more effective than actually building a data warehouse. Explore our Popular Data Science Certifications Executive Post Graduate Programme in Data Science from IIITB Professional Certificate Program in Data Science for Business Decision Making Master of Science in Data Science from University of Arizona Advanced Certificate Programme in Data Science from IIITB Professional Certificate Program in Data Science and Business Analytics from University of Maryland Data Science Certifications Question #3: Will things look different as you scale over the next 1–2 years? At scale, your transactional database might get very large and queries could get slower or start failing. You should plan for such situations as well, while designing the warehouse. What this meant for us: Our student activities database table will grow very fast as we add more courses and students. The queries have already started slowing down. It made sense to keep this in mind while designing the schema. Top Data Science Skills to Learn SL. No Top Data Science Skills to Learn 1 Data Analysis Programs Inferential Statistics Programs 2 Hypothesis Testing Programs Logistic Regression Programs 3 Linear Regression Programs Linear Algebra for Analysis Programs Question #4: Is there anywhere else you want to send the data that you want in your data warehouse? The data stored in the warehouse might have many different use cases, apart from the principal one. These use cases help you think through the schema, and include additional fields, if needed, while building the schema. What this meant for us: The lead score is used by the counselling team, so we have to send this to Salesforce. The fit score of the lead scoring can also be used by a particular course team to auto-exempt them from the course. The attribution model is used by the marketing team, so we have to send it to the BI tool in a particular format. Finally, Question #5: Do you have the right team to make decisions like: Which analytics database should you use, based on the scale and analytics use-cases? What should be the schema/data model for the current use cases? Is this schema scalable? What kind of ETL would be required for creating the analytics database? How much time would the ETL take? What would be the update frequency of different tables? How should you handle real-time use cases, like the one for recommendation engines? You will need a data engineer, a senior engineer who has already worked with data for 3–5 years at least, and a data scientist to make many of these decisions. 12 Ways to Connect Data Analytics to Business Outcomes After thinking through these 5 questions, a startup can decide whether or not to build a data warehouse. Here’s a simple list of pros and cons of a data warehouse, to help you evaluate even further: Pros — You will have full control over your data, and switch over to third-party tools easily as and when they get more expensive for you or don’t meet your requirements. You can build data science products! Recommendations, search, sentiment analysis, spam vs ham etc. Be careful and check beforehand whether you will require real-time data for these products, or they will need to be updated hourly/daily. As pointed out earlier, you can save a lot of time and troubles for analysts. The queries will be faster, and data will be reliable. Cons — You need to invest in engineering and data storage resources heavily, long before you can start reaping benefits. Chances are your first build will be far from perfect. If you are an early-to-mid-stage company, a lot of processes are still evolving. You can’t cover the cases that are going to come up in the next 3–6 months. Facing questions like why didn’t we think of that, etc might end up disheartening you. You will need to brush off these small setbacks, and keep your eyes on the long-term goal. Most organisations don’t have the right research and patience to build the Data Warehouse solution for their needs. You will need to invest a lot of time before starting it all up. Once you have completed this exercise, I am pretty sure you will be ready to embark upon the data analytics journey for your startup and will avoid costly mistakes. Comment below and let us know if you liked this post or found it useful. Stay tuned for the next one! Read our popular Data Science Articles Data Science Career Path: A Comprehensive Career Guide Data Science Career Growth: The Future of Work is here Why is Data Science Important? 8 Ways Data Science Brings Value to the Business Relevance of Data Science for Managers The Ultimate Data Science Cheat Sheet Every Data Scientists Should Have Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Become a Data Scientist A Day in the Life of Data Scientist: What do they do? Myth Busted: Data Science doesn’t need Coding Business Intelligence vs Data Science: What are the differences? *If we had only online channels, we could have used google analytics multi-channel attribution. We also have offline events data, which can be uploaded to google analytics. Problem solved? Alas! GA forbids you from sending any personally identifiable information. In absence of email information, it’s hard to link this data to other data sources, unless you map google analytics’ ID to emails in your own database, look up these IDs and upload offline data with these IDs into GA.

by Deepak Singh

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14 Oct 2017

The Art of Decision-Making: For Managers, Leaders & Product People
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5307

The Art of Decision-Making: For Managers, Leaders & Product People

“The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. A professional has professional habits.” One of the key things that you do on a day-to-day basis, in both your personal and professional life is to make decisions. Whether you are building your company, thinking of accepting a job offer you just received or simply making a weekend plan, decisions are being made everywhere. Yet, very few people have formal training in decision-making. Like it or not, biases/prejudices play a major role in decision-making and often result in bad decisions. So how does one get better at decision-making? Is there a way you can almost always make good decisions? And did I throw the quote at the beginning of this post just like that, or does it really have anything to do with decision-making? I will try to answer these questions in this post. Let’s first understand how habits get formed. When you study the science of habit formation, you will discover that there are three distinct elements to a habit: Cue, Routine, and Reward. Let’s take an example. Many people have developed a habit of checking Facebook multiple times a day; even every hour. One major Cue to this behavior is boredom. Boredom when you are standing in a line, boredom when you’re not engaged in a conversation at the dinner table, etc. Explore our Popular Business Management Courses Leadership and Management in New-Age Business Post Graduate Certificate in Product Management Executive Post-Graduate Programme in Human Resource Management Professional Certificate Programme in HR Management and Analytics Executive Post-Graduate Programme in Healthcare Management Executive Management Programme in Strategic Innovation Digital Marketing and Business Analytics Certificate Programme in Finance for Non Finance Executives Certificate Programme in Operations Management and Analytics Global Master Certificate in Integrated Supply Chain Management upGrad's Job Linked Advanced General Management Program from IMT Ghaziabad Global Professional Certificate in Effective Leadership & Management Advanced General Management Program Strategic Human Resources Leadership Cornell Certificate Program Digital Transformation Cornell Certificate Program Executive Leadership Cornell Certificate Program Management Essentials Business Management Courses The Routine is opening the Facebook app, and scrolling through the feed. The Reward is you feeling a rush of excitement or joy or any other feeling, in anticipation of something to appear on your Facebook feed, having the ability to invoke those feelings, i.e. a message from a friend, likes on your photo, etc. Dopamine is a neurochemical that controls pleasure centers of the brain. Once released, it makes you feel better instantly. So whenever you are bored, your brain picks the cue, and your hands reach your smartphone. You open the app (routine) and get a hit of dopamine (reward). Habits are very powerful. Aristotle said,   “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” Be it in sports, academics, or even decision-making, this fundamental truth applies everywhere. So, whenever you are being indecisive (the Cue), most of us follow an ad-hoc decision-making process where we might miss critical elements (the Routine), and arrive at a solution. Arriving at a solution makes us feel good and relaxed (the Reward) because decision-making is a mentally exhausting process. Top Essential Management Skills to Learn SL. No Top Management Skills to Learn 1 Consumer Behaviour Online Certification Financial Analysis Certification FinTech Certification Online 2 HR Analytics Certification Online Communication Courses Online Effective Communication Certification 3 Research Methodology Certification Mastering Sales Certification Business Communication Certification 4 Fundamentals of Journalism Certification Economics Masterclass Online Certification You may have already concluded what I am going to say next. We just need to change the Routine to arrive at a better decision-making process. A better decision-making process will substantially improve the results of your decisions. The framework I have described below should help you do this. It is based on numerous books on this topic, along with my day-to-day experiences and interacting with multiple people that I have been fortunate enough to talk to and get ideas from. For the sake of simplicity, I have kept it brief, including examples wherever possible. There are 5 broad steps: STEP 1 (most important) Define Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD) to solve the right problem: Clayton Christensen, after studying ‘What makes products/companies succeed?’ for nearly two decades, came up with the theory of Jobs-to-be-done. The core of this theory is to literally discover the jobs to be done, and then come up with a variety of solutions. But why is this relevant here? Because every decision involves a specific job to do. For example, some of us like going to the spa and often, just the feeling of being pampered and offered tea in a nice smelling and sanitary environment seems like the main reason we go to the spa in the first place, or it is the key job to be done. But if you think some more, the job is to actually get a massage and release tension, stress or cure sore muscles. So, while a company specialising in creating soothing music for spa-like environments may continue doing so, we must not confuse the real job or the main reason why one would go to the spa in the first place. The real job might be solved by someone who innovates a product or service that recreates a spa massage on the go, making the need for every ancillary thing associated with current spas, redundant. Therefore, by not thinking through and defining the key jobs-to-be-done while making a decision, you have a risk of picking a surface problem to solve. Our Top Management Articles Top 7 Career Options in Management To Choose [For Freshers & Experienced] Online Product Management Courses to Kickstart your Career Top 10 Career Options in Business Management in India 8 Crucial Business Management Skills Every Manager Should Have Future Scope of Management: Scope, Salary, Career Opportunities Career Options After MBA – Highest Paying Management Jobs 5 Key Skills Required for Successful Management Career & How To Achieve Those Skills? What is The Nature and Scope of Management? Importance of Management in Every Organisation – [A Complete Guide] upGrad’s Exclusive Product Management Webinar for you – How to craft GTM Strategy for a Product? document.createElement('video'); https://cdn.upgrad.com/blog/panel-discussion-on-crafting-gtm-strategy-for-a-product.mp4   You need to make sure that you don’t define a job narrowly. Defining the real job will help you see other alternatives to the one solution you have in mind. And in order to define the job, Professor Christensen advises on following this two-step process: First, a description of JTBD shouldn’t contain adjectives or adverbs, like convenience. It should be all verbs and nouns. ‘We should aspire to be more honest’ isn’t a job really.   Second, if products in the same class can solve the problem, you are not uncovering the job. This is to ensure we are thinking at an optimum level of abstraction. For example, ‘finding a good place to stay’ is the right job, whereas ‘finding a good hotel to stay’ isn’t. By thinking first, you can book cheaper alternatives like AirBnB, or your friends might suggest some other good alternatives. This will save you some bucks. Your Favourite Character Reveals the Product Management Job You’re Meant For STEP 2 Evaluate your window of opportunity to make this decision: Can the decision-making be delayed? If it can be delayed for later, you can wait for more information to come in, and decide later. Do not confuse this for procrastination. STEP 3 Size up the decision: Sizing up the decision helps you decide how much time you want to invest in researching, and exploring options. 10/10/10 rule – will the decision affect you/the business by 10 days, 10 months, or 10 years? One should never spend the same amount of time to decide whether to take a home loan, versus whether they should go out for dinner.   Is the decision reversible? – If it is, you shouldn’t be investing a lot of time in it. Boiling the milk, versus actually making the curd, anyone?   What are the upside and downside? – Quantify outcomes in both cases. Make the decision on the basis of the upsides and protect the downsides. For example, should you be hosting a dinner party on the lawn, or indoors? While hosting a dinner party on the lawn might be more enjoyable (upside), a drizzle might spoil your evening (downside). In the rainy season, you should obviously host your parties indoors! Featured Program for you: Design Thinking Certification Program from Duke CE STEP 4 Research: Once you have sized up the decision, it’s time to research your options. Has someone made this kind of decision before? Can we use their advice on this?   Find and weigh options and make a list of pros and cons. Most times, we go ahead with the first feasible option that comes to mind. Don’t make that mistake and make sure you’ve picked the best possible solution. Career Paths and Transitions in Product Management  STEP 5 Write down the decision once you have been through the four steps. Since you would have a list by now, figure out the most important outcomes (1 to 3) and choose the option closest to meeting these. You can’t have a solution that meets all your needs, so don’t obsess over finding something that does! Bonus tip: Beware of Parkinson’s law of triviality, i.e. the tendency of people to give disproportionate attention to trivial issues and details. The example Parkinson used to illustrate his law was a committee’s discussion on using an atomic reactor compared to painting their bike shed. The reactor is expensive and can be understood by only a few people, so people assume that the decisions that need to be made about it can be made easily by those who work on it. In contrast, everyone can have an opinion on the colour of the bike shade and understands its implications. Everyone participates and wants to add their ‘expertise’ to the decision-making process. As a result, the atomic reactor is discussed for 10 minutes, and the bike shed for the rest of the 50 minutes in an hour-long meeting. I wasn’t a natural at decision-making. Many people keep ruminating for years on the decision to stay in a job, or start a business; never quite making a decision till they reach a point of getting overwhelmed when they think about it. I’ve been there, and understand how much regret it causes sometimes. This is a humble attempt to help all those thinkers who can become doers. This is to save all those ‘if only’s’ both in the near future and long-term. These rules have helped me immensely in relationships, work and at a personal level. I hope it does the same for you. 🙂 Study Product Management Courses online from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Executive PGP, or Advanced Certificate Programs to fast-track your career.  

by Deepak Singh

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16 Aug 2017

Do you know different Types of Product Managers?
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9177

Do you know different Types of Product Managers?

Product managers come in all forms and flavors. Product management, as a subject, is too vast and generic to fit a single description. Not only this; different types of product managers can also be divided into different groups based on their skills and specializations – the type of product they work on (B2B vs B2C, early, mature), or even at a higher level (whether they are builders, tuners, and innovators). If you are an aspiring Product Manager or have just started your career as one, you must be extremely confused about what is expected of you, which areas you should dive into and what are the things you should hone or work on. So, let me make it simple for you. A product manager is generally expected to work at the intersection of business, UX, and technology. Based on such a generic description, every Product Manager seems to have the same set of skillsets. So how do we classify them? In this post, I am going to classify some Product Managers (going by some of the greatest Product Managers of our times – as inspiration), based on what they bring to the table, a.k.a. their unique strengths. Depending on what your current skill-sets are, you can choose who you want to be like, or aspire to be, and build some really awesome things as a product manager. Check out our management courses to upskill yourself. Check out the video and Infographic below explaining different types of product managers! These are the Different Types of Product Managers: 1) The Tech Product Manager I know my rocket inside out and backward. I can tell you the heat treating temper of the skin material, where it changes, why we chose that material, the welding technique… down to the gnat’s ass. – Elon Musk is a product guy who has been a ‘techie’ throughout his life. He is the chief technology officer at SpaceX, a company that he founded to take on the multi-planetary existence of the human species. Marissa Mayer falls into this category as well. Explore our Popular Management Courses Leadership and Management in New-Age Business Post Graduate Certificate in Product Management Executive Post-Graduate Programme in Human Resource Management Professional Certificate Programme in HR Management and Analytics Executive Post-Graduate Programme in Healthcare Management Executive Management Programme in Strategic Innovation Digital Marketing and Business Analytics Certificate Programme in Finance for Non Finance Executives Certificate Programme in Operations Management and Analytics Global Master Certificate in Integrated Supply Chain Management upGrad's Job Linked Advanced General Management Program from IMT Ghaziabad Global Professional Certificate in Effective Leadership & Management Advanced General Management Program Strategic Human Resources Leadership Cornell Certificate Program Digital Transformation Cornell Certificate Program Executive Leadership Cornell Certificate Program Management Essentials Management Courses Pitfalls/Traps: These Product Managers try to solve engineering problems, which they are pretty good with. However, this means they can end up working as an engineering manager on the team, rather than a product manager. If this is the type of PM role you see best fit for you, you should focus on defining WHY you are building something, and WHAT you are building. You should leave the ‘HOW to build it’ for engineers. Advantage 1: These PMs work pretty well with engineers and it takes them no time to gain their trust and respect. Advantage 2: They can think through technical products (AWS, recommendation engines) pretty easily. Google/Amazon hires a lot of engineer-turned-product managers. What you should focus on next?: Building a good business sense and user empathy to see the big picture, and defining what products to build. Also, though not true for most, some may struggle with communication skills to get along with cross-functional teams. upGrad’s Exclusive Product Management Webinar for you – How to craft GTM Strategy for a Product? document.createElement('video'); https://cdn.upgrad.com/blog/panel-discussion-on-crafting-gtm-strategy-for-a-product.mp4 2) The Designer Product Manager Steve Jobs made this category very appealing, didn’t he? Most people remember Steve as the guy who revolutionized six industries. Few people focus on the common thread that runs between those six industries – animated movies, digital publishing, music, personal computers, phones, computing tablets. Steve was the guy who could strongly sense the future needs of consumers and focused (with almost a crazy precision) on design and aesthetics in all these products. Brian Chesky, co-founder, and CEO at Airbnb, and Joe Gebbia (CPO, Airbnb) are other examples of designer Product Managers. Top Management Skills to Learn SL. No Top Management Skills to Learn 1 Consumer Behaviour Online Courses Financial Analysis Courses FinTech Courses Online 2 HR Analytics Courses Online Communication Courses Online Effective Communication Courses 3 Research Methodology Courses Mastering Sales Courses Business Communication Courses 4 Fundamentals of Journalism Courses Economics Masterclass Online Courses Challenge: Many coders idolize Steve Wozniak over Steve Jobs because Jobs didn’t write a single line of code. And this would be a problem when you are starting as a Product Manager because you haven’t been anywhere near the engineering as a designer. Their method of working is quite different from yours. So it becomes harder for both to work together. Same goes for this Product Manager working with other teams, like sales and operations. Advantage: You understand what a good product looks like. You empathize fairly well with the users of the product and understand the difference between stated preference and revealed preference. All these qualities help you make and design much needed, beautiful products.   What you should focus on: Building a business sense is pretty important as this will help you prioritize things. As a designer, you get pretty good at recognizing flaws in a product. Prioritization will help you define what to focus on. Where you should go: Instagram/Facebook/Apple/Tesla would love you.   3) The Business Product Manager Ever saw that fast-talking MBA kid who seems pretty well versed in terminologies of business, operations, and finance? Probably starting off with liberal arts, engineering or economics major and going on to learn elements of business by either doing an MBA or some such. Some people in this category actually learn about business fundamentals by working with/for a fast-growing startup, as well. They are pretty good at communicating with, and understanding, people around them. Ken Norton falls in this category. Pitfalls: Not understanding technology/design very well can lead to conflicts, and it takes hard work to build credibility with designers and coders. Advantage: These are good thinkers and are able to paint and see the big picture to lead teams. What you should focus on: You have a lot of things to do. Start by understanding how tech works and evolves over time. Develop an eye for detail and rigor. You don’t see many of these in product manager roles unless they get an MBA. Our Top Management Articles Top 7 Career Options in Management To Choose [For Freshers & Experienced] Online Product Management Courses to Kickstart your Career Top 10 Career Options in Business Management in India 8 Crucial Business Management Skills Every Manager Should Have Future Scope of Management: Scope, Salary, Career Opportunities Career Options After MBA – Highest Paying Management Jobs 5 Key Skills Required for Successful Management Career & How To Achieve Those Skills? What is The Nature and Scope of Management? Importance of Management in Every Organisation – [A Complete Guide] 4) The Data Product Manager A future role, I must say. With the advent of gaming apps, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, the role of a Data Product Manager is also emerging. These Product Managers work on data products such as recommendation products, personalization, etc. They are pretty good at reading and finding patterns in data and since data is the key to decision-making in most meetings these days, they gain influence within many teams, over time. You don’t see many Product Managers right now in this category. Sebastian Thrun, who led the integration of big data into robotics, falls in this category. He is the founder of the leading ed-tech startup Udacity. Netflix, Amazon, and Google are companies driven by data algorithms and personalization, and they would love this kind of a Product Manager. Pitfalls: Focusing on data too much leads to losing sight of the big picture sometimes. Advantage: Being equipped with good analytical abilities can help you understand business, sales, and product equally well. What you should focus on: A good idea of user research will help you understand the ‘why’. Clubbing research and quantitative data can work wonders. You should also focus on understanding design elements well so that you can tell a good design from a bad one.   5) The Growth Product Manager Every organization has its own set of growth problems. Some find it hard to generate demand (e-commerce, content) at low cost, others find it difficult to meet supply once they have generated demand (Uber). Growth Product Managers work to solve these problems. This is a rather undefined role and varies a great deal from one organization to another. These Product Managers are generally very strong with data and communication. Further, business acumen helps them prioritize and solve the most important problems first. Chamath Palihapitiya, Head of Growth at Facebook, helped Facebook become the first social network to cross the 500 million user mark and reach more than a billion users. Pitfalls: Focusing too much on metrics leads to losing sight of the big picture here too. There are a lot of ideas you come up with while solving the growing problem for any organization, and the lack of quick experimentation and the right prioritization framework can lead to low impact work. Advantage: A well-defined growth problem gives you the kick to hustle and make a difference. Clear metrics can help you move in the right direction. What you should focus on – User research and psychology. This can help you most while taking the decision of what to build and why. Summing up, let’s list down some of the key and desirable traits of a Product Manager. It looks like you will need the following traits to become a great Product Manager: Good understanding of how the technology works Project Management Business Understanding UI / UX User Empathy & Research People Skills Data / Analytics The best PMs out there understand and work where the interaction of business, design, data, and tech happens. Project management and people skills are the most important aspects of being a good Product Manager since you are working with a lot of people, at any given point in time. That said, you don’t need to be well versed in everything when you are just starting off. So, if you were confused at the beginning of this post, hopefully, I have managed to diminish some of that confusion and some of you may even have figured out which role to aim for, depending on what your current strengths are. If you are an analyst/data scientist, you can learn elements of design and user research to move to a Data Product Manager role. If you are a ‘techie’, a tech Product Manager role would be easiest to mold yourself into. The same follows for a designer and a business person. Marketers tend to like the growth Product Manager role a lot, given the hustle it involves. I hope this post helps you gain some clarity in where you want to go as a product manager.  Don’t just be wowed by this article on Product Management, act on it! Looking to up-skill or sharpen your current skill-sets? Study Product Management Courses online from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Executive PGP, or Advanced Certificate Programs to fast-track your career. upGrad Post Graduate Certificate in Product Management is a great way to kickstart a career in this field. So, what type of Product Manager are you? 

by Deepak Singh

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24 Nov 2016

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