Author DP

Ravijot Chugh

6+ of articles published

Experienced Mentor / Insightful Adviser / Creative Thinker

Domain:

upGrad

Current role in the industry:

Chief Product Officer at Climb Credit

Educational Qualification:

Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

Expertise:

Product Management

Entrepreneurship

Analytics

Consumer Internet

Start-ups

Management Consulting

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8 Product Manager Interview Questions & Answers [Frequently Asked]
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8 Product Manager Interview Questions & Answers [Frequently Asked]

A product manager role is as exciting as it is eclectic: it requires you to fill a unique gap in the organization. You often juggle multiple hats, and are responsible for making sure that everything that needs to be handled is handled. Ensuring you align all resources and teams to get your product shipped is a challenging task – and can be overwhelming at times. You will need to be strategic in your thinking; convincing in your leadership, and inspiring in your execution. And you will also need to be willing to assess the gaps in your team and do the jobs that nobody else can do well. Congratulations if you’re that person, and are ready to land your dream product management job. In this article, we will help you prepare for the D-day – so that you walk in that interview room capable of handling any question that is thrown at you, Keep in mind that for a job that has such high-stakes, there would be questions from all paradigms that you need to know, prepare, and answer the right way to get through. There may also be some questions asked which may not have a direct answer but are asked to test you for your thought process, problem-solving skills, and check how analytical and out of the box you can be. Check out our management programs to upskill yourself. As promised in the title, here is a set of questions (and answers, we won’t bail you out on that!) that would help you understand and prepare yourself the best before the D-Day: Q1. What are some indicators of a product that is designed well? Answers to such questions speak about your understanding and clarity in the role of KPI’s in the life cycle of a product. This would make your interviewer aware of your approach to the product, the current demand, current competitor positions, and features, etc. Here are some indicators of a good product: “It just works” – The user doesn’t have to constantly think about how to use functionality within the app.  It just works intuitively. The product has just the right number of features.  It is very normal for a popular product to start putting in more and more features until it starts suffering from ‘featuritis’.  Remember that ‘Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away’. Fast response times. The product should always respond in as short a time as possible for any user action.  Slow response times can kill an app even if it has killer features. The product shouldn’t incorporate features just because the competition has them.  A feature should be incorporated only if it suits the overall vision and design of the product. Optimal use of the real estate available for a product. If you take the example of a web app, each page should suitably use the real estate (screen space) that is available to it.  Every visual element on the page should be placed in its appropriate position (A place for everything and everything in its place).  Care should also be taken to ensure that there is enough white space around the visual elements. Aesthetically appealing: A pleasant looking UI which is easy on the eye. Q2. How will you build a go-to-market strategy for our product? This is a bookish question that you can undoubtedly expect. The answer can be somewhere along the lines of what is explained below. Explore our Popular Management Programs 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 Programs A go-to-market strategy is what lays the roadmap to your product launch, gives your brand a refresh, or helps you reach a new audience. Essentially, a go-to-market strategy should answer the following questions: What is the best time for your product to hit the market? What exactly are you expecting from the launch? What problem is your product solving? How is your product different from similar products in the market? Have you woven your product into a story that you’ll tell your audience to explain your product? What marketing strategies and channels are you looking to capitalize on? Are you looking at a fixed budget for it? How does your current and future budget look like? What are the KPIs of your product? Once you’re aware of the answers to those questions, you’ll be one step closer to devising the perfect go-to-market strategy for your product. 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   Q3. Why do you want to become a Product Manager? You need to be sure that you have the answer to this question before you walk into that interview room. While we can’t answer this for you, we can help you with some questions you can ask yourself to find the bigger answer: + Are you good at managing people? + Do you have a “get things done” attitude? + Do you like leading teams and are you good at it? + Do you enjoy responsibility and can push through resistance? + Can you juggle a lot of tasks and not cave under pressure? + Do you have knowledge spanning multiple verticals of an organization? + Can you inspire and lead people from diverse backgrounds and company departments? Once you have the answers to the above questions, you can lead your response as you want the narration to start from right from the skills and abilities or the experience. Also, you can talk about particular ideas that you may have, any specific insight that you’ve gained after using the company’s products, etc. Q4. What do you like about [Insert Company’s Product Name]? What can be improved? Show them that you did your homework and you know what they do in the company and have an apparent reason why you applied for a job with them. Start with things that you like in their product features, the user experience, or how well their solution is designed to fit the problem. Interviewers are looking for real-time insights into your communication and prioritization skills. Try to include the following in your answers: User testimonials Specific product features Cost-benefit overview Top Management Skills to Learn SL. No Top Management Skills to Learn 1 Consumer Behaviour Online Programs Financial Analysis Programs FinTech Programs Online 2 HR Analytics Programs Online Communication Programs Online Effective Communication Programs 3 Research Methodology Programs Mastering Sales Programs Business Communication Programs 4 Fundamentals of Journalism Programs Economics Masterclass Online Programs Q5. How would you go about building a relationship with a key remote department head/department head that is based in another location? In a world where technology is helping blur geographical boundaries, people are choosing more and more to work remotely. This can sometimes create challenges in relationship building and managing them effectively. However, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. A product manager can begin by asking the remote colleague about their job, and what can be done to provide him with support. The product manager can explore the problems that the department head is facing, and work out solutions to resolve them. The key is regular communication, and without that, it’ll be impossible to build a good relationship with the department head. If possible, they should make arrangements to meet the department heads in person during early on in their career and build a rapport, so they feel more connected to the organization and to the product manager – which will motivate them to put the best foot forward. Q6. What are the identifiable differences between a project manager and a product manager? Before you begin answering this question, you should take a moment and explain how exactly do you differentiate between a ‘product’ and a ‘project’. After all, these two concepts are often confused, while in practice, they are extremely different. To begin with, a project is a temporary endeavor – it has a beginning and an end date. Product, on the other hand, is permanent, and needs to continuously evolve to meet the changing needs of the users – it has no end date, it’s a lifecycle of iterations and evolution. With that in place, you can guide the interviewer through the differences between a product manager and a project manager. Since projects are temporary endeavours, a project manager is required to oversee a fixed scope of requirements. Their job will be to work along with the strategies defined by the product manager or leadership team. Their primary aim is to ensure the successful delivery of a project within the constraints of time, scope, and budget. A product manager, on the other hand, can be thought of as a mini-CEO of the product. They set the vision of the product and lay out a strategized roadmap to bring the best results. Product managers interact with customers to decide what is to be prioritized. The entire lifecycle of a product is managed by the product manager, and that is the reason why their efforts are always ongoing. Q7. When an important decision needs to be made and key players have differing opinions, how would you proceed? Product managers are facilitators with strong leadership skills to turn conflicts into opportunities. The development of any product is generally overseen by different teams across the organization – IT, marketing, sales, HR, and more. With so many cooks, a product manager is the one who has to make sure that the broth isn’t spoiled. So, this is one question you can definitely expect at any product manager interview. The best way to proceed when different key players are having conflicting opinions can be understood by following these: Listening: First, a product manager needs to be a good listener. He should be capable of handling a chaotic situation in a way that each voice gets heard. Only when every point is on the table can sense be made out of anything at all. Agreeing: Now, with everything on the table, you need to find common, agreeable grounds. No matter the conflict, the central goal of every contributor is mostly the same. A product manager needs to decide on an agreement point that will pave the way ahead. Focusing: Once common ground is set, a product manager is required to focus on the problem at hand, and with all the solutions in front of him, come up with a common solution, that aligns with the ideas of most of the (if not each) people involved. 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] Q8. And finally, a B-School favorite Case Question. How many windows are in NYC / How many footballs will it take to cover the CenturyLink Field stadium in Seattle? There’s no one number answer to that question. But believe us, the answer isn’t that difficult as it appears from the problem and it all lies in understanding the issues first. The recruiters see the effort, identify how you reason strategically and analytically. Windows can be divided into three main categories – residential, offices, and retail. You can calculate each separately. This would give you an initial number to start with. Nearly 10 million people are living in New York, and each person would have at least have three windows on average in 2-person apartments. That gives a total of 30 million residential windows and 30 million official windows (using the same three windows average in office scenarios). There is no right or wrong answer. Also, note… Apart from the above-discussed questions, it’d help if you’re acquainted with the latest tools, technologies, and trends in the Product Management domain. You can also explore some case studies and understand the differences between good and bad product management. With that, we come to the end of our list. Don’t stress too much while preparing for the interview, relax, be yourself, and you’ll do good! All the best. Study Product Management Courses online from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Executive PGP, or Advanced Certificate Programs to fast-track your career. If you are highly intrigued by what you read, you can enroll in the Post Graduate Certificate in Product Management offered by upGrad. The certification program delivered by experts will help you kickstart your career to be a successful product manager.

by Ravijot Chugh

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01 Jul 2019

8 Key Skills Required For Product Manager
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8 Key Skills Required For Product Manager

In functionality, Product Managers are similar to a microwave (We don’t intend to imply that they’re grilled a lot) No, but in all seriousness, a microwave can cook, grill, heat – according to what you want it to do. Likewise, product managers are generally found to be extremely diverse in their skill set. Right from technical to interpersonal, managerial to working in a team – these highly talented individuals have most, if not all, of it under their cap. Apart from being masters of all trades, a product manager is also required to keep himself updated with all the recent happenings of the market. Whether it’s related to the latest technological trends, or regarding the new tools in the market – a product manager has to generally keep his eyes open and thinking caps on at most times. The product manager is like the constant (C) in an indefinite integral. You think of eliminating it, and you’ll fail the laws of Mathematics (or of productive business, in this case). Product managers, more often than not, are an active part of product development throughout the pipeline – from inception, designing, developing, to finally launching it in the market. Though the work description and names differ from time and scenarios, for a product manager, the one thing which stays the same is the product success. They all need to deliver a great product, but things don’t turn out to be that way all the time as some fail, some struggle, and some survive. Check out our management programs to upskill yourself. That should tell you all about the skills required to be a product manager, correct? No? Of course not. That was a very vague (but accurate) description of a product manager’s skills. Worry not, if you’re with us, we’ll take you through. Getting to the point. What are the skills required to be a product manager? #1 Strategic Thinking After setting the product’s goals and key initiatives, the product manager needs to realize the higher-level vision. This starts with asking the right questions and then understanding the market and competition. This is where the product managers need to establish what they want to achieve and how they would reach there – the product roadmap building. All the above formulation and strategy making also requires prioritizing data and having good depth of knowledge over Beta Testing, marketing, audience segmentation, SWOT Analysis, and more. #2 Excellent Oratory Skills Keeping a lot of people in the loop, adjusting their language as per the audience – from customers and sales personnel to marketing and finance – product managers coordinate with both the internal and external stakeholders throughout the product life cycle. This requires a higher level of expertise in multiple fields. For example: even if the product manager isn’t an engineer, he needs to have just the right knowledge to understand the product’s design, composition, and applications. He also needs to work with the marketing specialist to extract valuable insights from the market data and predict the costs of the product. To achieve all of this, the oratory skills of any product manager needs to be extremely lucid. #3 Neat Negotiation Skills As discussed earlier, a product manager works with teams, both internally and externally, of varied domains. Tech, Marketing, Sales, HR – the product manager is generally found shaking hands with each of them. Since he’s the manager, he needs to get work done. To get that done efficiently requires good negotiation skills. Whether it’s about finding the cheapest solution to a problem or hiring the cheapest agency/freelancer to get some work done – a product manager is expected to seamlessly handle all of it. Without knowing the proper way of dealing with things to get work done, a product manager will face certain challenges along his journey. It gets smooth if you know how to negotiate your way through the potholes! Explore our Popular Management Programs 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 Programs #4 Analytical & Resourceful Product managers are valued for their meaningful analysis, problem-solving with holistic approaches. These mini-CEOs can guide the direction of content, UI, development, marketing, as well as visualize the outcomes at both macro and micro scales. There are several industry leaders who have revealed that they hire product managers who have a substantial background in Design, Marketing, Engineering, Statistics, Sociology, Psychology, etc. to make the entire team understand when to pay attention to matters and when to leave it alone and when to wait it out for self-correction in the system. 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.mp4webinar  #5 Practicing Empathy As a product manager, you need to be at ease as you meditate through varied skill set like data analysis, communication, the psychology of the users, market research, etc. At each step, you’d need to understand and weigh down the opinions of the stakeholders and the customer’s requirements. Even though these customers are absent during the entire process physically, they are the biggest virtual stakeholder whose opinions hold high relevance for the product to come out successful. Such long sightedness requires empathy as it helps in identifying and analyzing the views expressed by both the creators and the users of the product to deliver exactly what the world needs from your product at that time! #6 Amazing Attention to Detail A good product manager can spot the possibilities where others would have seen it nothing more than a wasteland. For the continually changing vision due to the feedback and its responses received by the client/team members, the product managers are responsible for all the intricacies and accepting all the information that may go against his assumptions. Product Managers have an art of interpreting and visualizing data like an expert. They assemble their observations after listening carefully, observing keenly without prejudices and figuring out the most effective way to address everything one step after another. Top Management Skills to Learn SL. No Top Management Skills to Learn 1 Consumer Behaviour Online Programs Financial Analysis Programs FinTech Programs Online 2 HR Analytics Programs Online Communication Programs Online Effective Communication Programs 3 Research Methodology Programs Mastering Sales Programs Business Communication Programs 4 Fundamentals of Journalism Programs Economics Masterclass Online Programs #7 The “fight, not flight” outlook To be a successful product manager, you need to have the conviction to say NO many times instead of succumbing to the scenarios. As products are built with limited resources, time and a barrage of ideas, the product managers are inherently tied to the success of the products and can deliver more than anyone else. Therefore they need to keep looking for ideas and the product strategy and users should determine what features would come next. #8 Long-sightedness A good product manager can forecast the approximate benefits of the product and could easily do so by applying past experiences and leveraging comparable benchmarks. They also help to measure interest once projects are launched and factor those learnings into future prioritization and forecasts. The product manager sets the vision, and through profound observation, derives meaningful products that can solve real-time customer problems. Study Product Management Courses online from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Executive PGP, or Advanced Certificate Programs to fast-track your career. 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] Conclusion This list touches on the significant roles that a product manager fills in the value that a product manager brings into an organization and to be one of the 10% of product managers. To achieve the same, the product manager needs to be master of each skill category and requires an immense amount of unique focus and expertise right from the beginning of the product’s lifecycle – from creation to sunset. If you are highly intrigued by what you read, you can enroll in the Post Graduate Certificate in Product Management offered by upGrad. The certification program delivered by experts will help you kickstart your career to be a successful product manager.

by Ravijot Chugh

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21 Jun 2019

Eager To Learn About Product Management? Explore it with Duke!
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Eager To Learn About Product Management? Explore it with Duke!

According to LinkedIn, Product Manager ranks among the most promising jobs in 2019. Product Managers act as the pivotal drivers of growth in any organization, be it a startup or an established company. The only glitch – there is a massive gap in the demand-supply chain of Product Managers, as recruiters often find it challenging to acquire the right mix of talent, skill, and expertise in this domain. So, what is the need of the hour? A well-structured and well-designed program to train young aspirants and furnish them with the right skill set required to excel at Product Management. To address this issue, UpGrad and Duke Corporate Education brings before you an opportunity to master Product Management in just five months! Collaborating with Duke Corporate Education (the executive education arm of Duke University), UpGrad has launched a Post Graduate Certificate in Product Management to introduce aspiring students to the promising field of Product Development and Management. In this five-month course, students will get the opportunity to get hands-on learning experience from renowned faculties of Duke Corporate Education. 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 At the launch event of the certification program, Michael Chavez, the CEO of Duke Corporate Education stated: “Product Management is an area of great potential for India’s booming technology and startup sector. Our Product Management program, co-certified by UpGrad will give working professionals the opportunity to build the right skills required to excel in this domain.” The program has been exclusively designed to teach students about the various aspects of the product development life cycle, including target audience (user) research, user-centric design, product planning & development, product analytics, user engagement & growth, minimum viable product (MVP), and also, product marketing and leadership skills. Apart from getting hands-on training from expert educators, students will also be exposed to mentorship sessions with experienced Product Managers of top brands like PayTM, BookMyShow, Zomato, and Myntra, to name a few. They will work on a host of industry-related assignments and case studies. Which of These Product Management Tools are You Already Using? UpGrad’s support doesn’t just stop here – students will get dedicated career support and counselling through mentorship sessions, one-on-one interview preparation, resume feedback, and also placement assistance. 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 Certification programs have numerous advantages. They help you gain a competitive advantage over your contemporaries. You get  a closer look into the real-world industry and business scenario; so, you gain practical knowledge. Apart from strengthening your knowledge base and expanding your skill set, you also get to enhance your professional credibility. Long story short – certification programs can help you grow your career immensely. The co-founders of UpGrad, Ronnie Screwvala and Mayank Kumar are positive that the Post Graduate Certificate in Product Management will help bridge the gap between the education of Product Managers and what they are required to do in the real-world scenario. The partnership between UpGrad and Duke Corporate Education seems like a potent match – the program brings together UpGrad’s highly successful online learning pedagogy and Duke CE’s aupGrad’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 cclaimed academic expertise, all rolled into one. The five-month certification program is priced at Rs. 1,50,000.   Study Product Management Courses online from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Executive PGP, or Advanced Certificate Programs to fast-track your career. 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] Now, the question remains – are you ready to be a part of this unique learning experience?

by Ravijot Chugh

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29 May 2019

Decode your way into Product Management
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Decode your way into Product Management

Learn how you can acquire the technical skills of a product manager A product manager’s job is not easy – neither to define nor to execute. When there are so many definitions of what the role is, it gets tougher to define what the role exactly entails. There are a 100 things a product manager is responsible for along the product journey; right from conceptualization to design to building the product to taking it to market. For a role that has touch points across the business, it is important for an aspiring PM to understand the skills that a product manager must have. Through a series of articles, UpGrad will help you figure what it takes to be a PM. We will also tell you what you can do, every day, in order to develop these skills and smoothen your transition to a product manager. There are basically three key areas that the work of a PM is focused on. For the sake of not repeating the clichéd Venn diagram, the skills are listed as follows: – Technical skills Design Skills Business and managerial skills In this first article of the series, we are going to talk about what the first bucket – the technical skills required to be a PM and how you can develop them. 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 Technical skills: A PM is typically not required to write code to develop a product. However as someone whose core role is to solve problems using technology, a PM still needs strong technical knowledge to: Define how the product should function to solve the problem at hand Accurately define and prioritize product requirements based on the effort required to build them Efficiently communicate with the engineering team to brainstorm solutions, validating timelines and checking progress Also Read: A day in the life of a Product Manager – Making it all work There are a number of things an aspiring PM can do to build their technical expertise: Learn how to code – In all probability, you will not be required to code as a PM. However, knowing how to code will get you well versed with the terminology, help you understand the tech constraints and feasibility much more accurately, and help you communicate your requirements and collaborate far better with the engineering team. You can either pick up a book (like Beginning programming – for dummies, Coding – for dummies), or get on codecademy.com (or other online tutorials), or simply start googling (What is backend development? What are stacks?) to give you a start. You don’t need to be an expert, but it helps to know the basics. Talk to the tech team at your current employment – Another great way of learning to speak the tech language, is to try and engage with the tech team at your current job. Talk to the engineering guys; try to understand what they do, how the team functions, what is the typical software development process, what would they expect for a product manager to know. This can be a good point from where you can then start googling and reading about tech terminologies, as suggested in the previous point. You could also take their assistance in teaching you how to code – you could probably ask them to send you debugging assignments once a while, to get you accustomed to coding. 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   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 Learn SQL – SQL is a programming language designed for managing and querying data in a database. As a product manager, you will often need to play around a lot of data. Learning the basics of SQL will help you go a long way in your PM journey. It isn’t complicated and won’t be an investment heavy on time. Develop a technical viewpoint – Technology will be at the core of whatever product you develop as a PM. Starting to think about products with a technical lens will prove to be extremely rewarding in helping you develop a product vision. Every time you use an app, think about The technology that the app is using How is the app different from its peers on the technology front? What can you do to improve the app? You could run by your suggestion with the technical team at your office, over a casual chat, to know if have been thinking in the right direction – from a feasibility point of view, and getting their opinion on how they think about the app. Doing this exercise on an ongoing basis will definitely help you develop a technical viewpoint of looking at products. Stay updated on the tech ecosystem – Start reading about what is happening in the technology space. Start following Quora, Mashable,TechCrunch, Verge, Tech Insider, Gizmodo, and others. Read digital news. Have discussions about what is new, what is defunct and what is upcoming. It will help you in ideation, conceptualization and execution alike. Hack up a side project – And for the final and most effective hack, pick up a fun side project and try and build it from scratch. Could be anything from a simple photo app or a chat bot. Try and get others to use it. Building something from scratch for actual users to use will make you appreciate the intricacy involved at every step and go a long way in improving your technical knowledge. 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] As a PM, you will be interacting with the tech team day in and day out. You will be the sole point of contact between tech, design, business and users. It, therefore, becomes extremely important for you to understand the tech language so as to be able to play the role of a translator well. Practicing the hacks mentioned above while tweaking your daily schedule just a little bit is going to help you in enormous amounts in your journey of being a PM. Stay tuned for two more articles of the edition to learn about design and business skills. Till then, sharpen your tech skills and get closer to becoming a PM! Study Product Management Courses online from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Executive PGP, or Advanced Certificate Programs to fast-track your career. Featured Program for you: Design Thinking Certification Program from Duke CE

by Ravijot Chugh

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04 Jul 2016

How do I transition to being a Product Manager?
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How do I transition to being a Product Manager?

(Note: This article was first posted on LinkedIn Pulse by Dalan Mendonca, Product Manager at Instamojo.) Answering a question that I get asked a lot. Short answer The Product Manager is the jack of all trades, coordinating with design, engineering, sales, et al. to make the product better and grow the business. In general, if you’ve: Taken a project from start to finish/operational state. Worked with diverse stakeholders to get your project out. Have a basic awareness of the multitude of things that shape a product like design, marketing, support, QA, analytics etc. you should be able to move into a product manager role. Long answer Step 1. Understand who a Product Manager is You may have heard about this job indirectly (as I did) or worked directly with a PM or two. In any case it might be useful to know the job before trying for it! PM are to products what CEOs are to companies. A PM (or the PM team) is responsible for every aspect of the product from the bounce of the animations on the app to the speed of customer service. You own that shit & any product problem is your problem. Sounds like a vague job description doesn’t it? You must be thinking so what does the PM actually do? The answer, whatever it takes to make the product successful. Yes, it’s a vague role because PMs by nature are generalists. The product manager will: Define goals for the product, decide actions to be taken, communicate that clearly to the team, get things built, see if it matches expectations, rinse repeat. The work varies based on the stage of the company too. A PM at an early stage company will be responsible for defining the product, understanding the market, picking the best features to push out in version 1, and probably also hiring the team. Slightly later, it’s about tuning the product to its users, testing out the assumptions underlying your product, and making something your users get with ease. As the product matures, the focus might shift to growing the number of users, putting the right metrics around it, optimizing the product to perform at a better scale, etc. Check out our management programs to upskill yourself. Step 2. Get/fake PM experience Now you’re like “Yeah great I get what a PM does, how do I become one?” Get product thinking — A product is the culmination of many things, the important thing is learn how to take a holistic viewpoint of products instead of sitting on one side of the iOS vs Android or insert you pet battle here> debate. Go own a project — Take something from start to finish. Do things you couldn’t have done on your own. Go cross-functional — Try to understand in depth what people in various departments in a company do on a daily basis. Figure out business models — Take your random idea and then imagine how you’d make money from this. How does X company sell its stuff/make money? Critique products — Love/hate some product? Explain what’s so awesome/sucky about it. What would add/remove from it? If you were to launch X today, what would be different about it? How did it get so popular? Working on a hobby project/product of your own is by far the easiest way to gain the above.  Explore our Popular Management Programs 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 Programs Step 3. Understand basic PM terminology What to build — Requirements, wireframes, product specs, functional specs, technical specs, flowcharts. When to build — Roadmaps, pipelines Measuring things: What are people up to — Funnels, AIDA, MAUs/WAUs/DAUs, retention, (likes, shares, tweets, pins), (likes, shares, tweets, pins)/ person, time spent, bounce rate, installs, searches, .. Money — Total revenue, ARPU, LTV, avg. ticket size, GMV, General management BS: Stakeholders, value proposition, .. just hangout with an MBA grad for a few hours and you’ll be sorted in this department. 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 Step 4. Know the different paths to get there If you’ve got can crack beginner product roles like Associate/Junior PM good for you, else you might have to take a hit and get some “management education”. Also, a lot of folks move into the Product Management from related roles like Product Marketing, QA, etc. Top Management Skills to Learn SL. No Top Management Skills to Learn 1 Consumer Behaviour Online Programs Financial Analysis Programs FinTech Programs Online 2 HR Analytics Programs Online Communication Programs Online Effective Communication Programs 3 Research Methodology Programs Mastering Sales Programs Business Communication Programs 4 Fundamentals of Journalism Programs Economics Masterclass Online Programs My own story I kinda got lucky. I had worked on product-ish projects since right since my college days. My first job was that of a data analyst on the Site Integrity/Anti-Spam team at Facebook — apart the regular data analysis/data modeling work that most analysts do, I got the opportunity to lead some really impactful projects where I worked with lawyers, engineers, policy writers, fellow analysts and security researchers. This was my first taste of blood in terms of working cross-functionally. Hereby lead I mean being the person owning the project and responsible for its success, not in terms of having any title that implied the same. Another experience that got me awesome exposure was an internal rotation I did within Facebook. Think of a rotation as an internal internship where you work with a different team for a while. I worked for the Global Sales Reporting team — this teams assists the top advertisers on Facebook in understanding what happened to their ad money; working here showed me a whole new world of online advertising — Clients, client partners, account managers, sales pitches, campaigns, demographic targeting, ad impressions, click through rates, ad inventory, various ad products/ad networks and a whole lot more. It was really eye opening to work in a team operating in the same company but working very differently because they solved a whole different problem. The above experiences amongst a litany of others, helped me make up mind about getting into the PM space. I decided to hunt for APM roles or Business analyst roles in companies where I could move into a PM role later. Did crack quite a few interviews where everything went fine but in most cases was rejected in the end for not having any prior PM experience. However all was not lost, I did crack an Associate PM role at Paytm, one of India’s fastest growing e-commerce companies. That gig however didn’t pan out for too long and I was out looking for another place — I ended taking up a Product Manager role (YAY! Promotion from APM :’D) at an early stage startup called Instamojo for the (possible) experience and challenge of seeing a company grow into something bigger and thats from where I write this today. 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] So around 18 months into this, having not (yet) being fired as a PM, I can say my transition into being a product manager hasn’t gone that bad 😀 Study Product Management Courses online from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Executive PGP, or Advanced Certificate Programs to fast-track your career. If you are highly intrigued by what you read, you can enroll in the Post Graduate Certificate in Product Management offered by upGrad. The certification program delivered by experts will help you kickstart your career to be a successful product manager. Featured Program for you: Design Thinking Certification Program from Duke CE

by Ravijot Chugh

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13 May 2016

How To Launch Your Startup Faster: How To Do it Right?
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How To Launch Your Startup Faster: How To Do it Right?

As entrepreneurs, we often sweat about what the first version of our product should look like. We all want it to be so beautiful and highly functional that users fall in love with it instantly. However, many founders have fallen into the trap of building and iterating until no end in search of that elusive perfect product state before ever releasing it to actual users. The core philosophy behind the quote by Reid Hoffman is that the sooner we can validate our assumptions and gain more understanding about how our users react to our product, the better. It reflects the “Release Often and Iterate Fast” mantra increasingly followed by many in the entrepreneurial community. There is immense risk in spending time and money in building product features that don’t solve the core problem that you are you trying to solve for your users, or worse end up turning away your users because you released a bloated product. If a startup is successful, no one will remember how your product looked the day you launched. And if it doesn’t become successful, well then it doesn’t really matter. Think about this, how many launches of successful startups do you remember? Three key things Venture Capitalists look for in Entrepreneurs Below are examples of two of the most successful consumer internet startups in the world – Twitter and LinkedIn, and how their product looked when they launched. Their product design did not really set the house on fire but what it did do was allow them to launch early, gain valuable feedback from their early users and accordingly iterate into hugely successful products. It is very important to remember that releasing early does not automatically mean releasing a buggy product. The reason to launch early is for you to validate your core assumptions with your users and basis that take the decision whether to continue down the same path or take a slightly different one. For this to be true, it is very important that your users are able to understand your core value proposition and derive value from the product you have released. Remember you are launching a “Minimum Viable Product” and not just a minimum product. Learn Best MBA Courses from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Executive PGP, or Advanced Certificate Programs to fast-track your career. Entrepreneur’s guide to pitching to investors For us at UpGrad, it was important to test how students interact with the platform, how effective is the learning experience, what should be the process of content development, how do we structure our support team. We very quickly realized that it would take us a long time to build our student platform from scratch which supports the learning experience we were designing (engaging content, peer collaboration, active and regular interaction of students with the platform, etc.). So rather than wait to build the entire platform in-house, we decided to launch our first program early using a third-party platform, while regularly building and plugging elements that we assumed would drive engagement. Sure the user experience on the third party platform was nowhere close to perfect, but it has given us valuable learning as to what drives and does not drive students to engage with our product, and we will be using all this learning while building our own platform for the next set of programs. Idea Validation with Startup With UpGrad It is easy to say but it is a lot harder to actually put this into practice – to release a product that may be in your eyes raw or ugly. When you have a big vision and it has only been partially translated into a product, you would inherently be afraid to show it to users. But by waiting to have a better product before you show it to anyone, you can seriously compromise the intelligence you can gain and the early traction you can build. You will be surprised how often users don’t mind a minimum viable version of your product and look beyond the initial flaws and understand the broader problem your product is trying to solve. If you like to have one-to-one meetings with industry experts, networking with hundreds of entrepreneurs, and bag a seed funding to start your idea, check Leadership & Management program If you want to learn more about marketing and entrepreneurship, Liverpool Business School & upGrad offers Master of Business Administration (MBA) Liverpool Business School which helps you to transform your career. The program provides 1-on-1 mentorship from industry leaders, 1-week immersion program at University campus, dual credentials (MBA from LBS & PGPM from IMT), network with peers at offline basecamps and more.

by Ravijot Chugh

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09 Feb 2016

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