Hacking Your Way to The
Top: Essential Skills for
Product Leaders
Tathagat Varma
Knowledgepreneur
http://thoughtleadership...
What is your “top”?
PM Stats…
Execs didn’t
understand
PM!
No PM role,
or not well
defined
75	%	
48	%	
PMs
undergone
training
2	%
Evolution of PMs…
Factor	 Then	 Now	
Business	 Rela+vely	long	business	cycles,	Low	
compe++on,	Longevity,	Protec+ons	
Vola...
So, who is a PM?
What do PMs do?
What do PMs don’t do!
•  They don’t sell
•  They don’t do design
•  They don’t write code
•  They don’t launch products
• ...
So, how can I get to the “top”?
Do your job Develop passion
Develop a fixed Medici mindset
“T”
T-shaped PM
Core	
PM	
Skills	
Market	
Research	 UX	 Engineering	
Business	
Analysis	
Finance	&	
Pricing	
…	
Tech	 Compe++o...
Find opportunities solve messy problems
Wait for orders Take initiative
Think conservative creative
Start writing
Be a expert critic coach maker
hZp://www.sloma.org/images/makers2014.png
Learn by doing experimenting shipping
Avoid Mitigate Accept Embrace failures
Be a scribe newscaster storyteller
Work hard smart hard really hard!
Influence with without authority
Manage Control Trust the team
Fear Enjoy the ride!
Recap
•  Product Manager is an orchestration role. Be a
leader, not a boss!
•  While expertize of various functions is not...
References
•  Good Product Manager / Bad Product Manager,
http://a16z.com/2012/06/15/good-product-managerbad-product-manag...
Hacking Your Way to The Top: Essential Skills for Product Leaders
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Hacking Your Way to The Top: Essential Skills for Product Leaders

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My talk on leadership skills for Product Leaders at Institute of Product Leadership's seminar on Oct 22

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Hacking Your Way to The Top: Essential Skills for Product Leaders

  1. 1. Hacking Your Way to The Top: Essential Skills for Product Leaders Tathagat Varma Knowledgepreneur http://thoughtleadership.in
  2. 2. What is your “top”?
  3. 3. PM Stats… Execs didn’t understand PM! No PM role, or not well defined 75 % 48 % PMs undergone training 2 %
  4. 4. Evolution of PMs… Factor Then Now Business Rela+vely long business cycles, Low compe++on, Longevity, Protec+ons Vola+le business cycles, Intense compe++on, Ephemeral, Open Tech Largely stable tech Mostly evolving tech R&D Mostly large R&D / Capex / IP / First World Mostly frugal / Opex / Open Source / Global & Distributed User Rela+vely consistent / basic user needs Highly fragmented and constantly evolving user wants Market Long market windows in largely proven markets (MRDs ~3-5 years) Short market windows in new markets (where is the MRD?) Product Long gesta+on cycle (1-3 years), Global products Short gesta+on cycles (1-3 quarters), Local products Focus Focus was mostly tech Largely Product + UX + Design Specs Market-research / Monolithic PRDs Hypotheses-valida+on / Dynamic product backlogs Dev Forecast driven / Predic+ve Feedback driven / Adap+ve Talent Techies grew into PMs Growing trend of hiring PMs
  5. 5. So, who is a PM?
  6. 6. What do PMs do?
  7. 7. What do PMs don’t do! •  They don’t sell •  They don’t do design •  They don’t write code •  They don’t launch products •  They don’t create marketing campaigns •  They don’t support customers •  They don’t fix bugs •  They don’t do siteops •  … •  …but…knowing and doing it doesn’t hurt!
  8. 8. So, how can I get to the “top”?
  9. 9. Do your job Develop passion
  10. 10. Develop a fixed Medici mindset “T”
  11. 11. T-shaped PM Core PM Skills Market Research UX Engineering Business Analysis Finance & Pricing … Tech Compe++on
  12. 12. Find opportunities solve messy problems
  13. 13. Wait for orders Take initiative
  14. 14. Think conservative creative
  15. 15. Start writing
  16. 16. Be a expert critic coach maker hZp://www.sloma.org/images/makers2014.png
  17. 17. Learn by doing experimenting shipping
  18. 18. Avoid Mitigate Accept Embrace failures
  19. 19. Be a scribe newscaster storyteller
  20. 20. Work hard smart hard really hard!
  21. 21. Influence with without authority
  22. 22. Manage Control Trust the team
  23. 23. Fear Enjoy the ride!
  24. 24. Recap •  Product Manager is an orchestration role. Be a leader, not a boss! •  While expertize of various functions is not really required, knowledge of them could be handy •  The “top” for a product leader is making the dent in the universe! •  You surely need to know PM skills (IPL could help – and yes, this isn’t a paid endorsement J) •  More importantly, a product mindset is a must!
  25. 25. References •  Good Product Manager / Bad Product Manager, http://a16z.com/2012/06/15/good-product-managerbad-product-manager/ •  The Myths of Product Management, https://medium.com/@cwodtke/the-myths-of-product-management-7376eaf549a3#.ruyqduarj •  The Product Manager’s Essential Reading List for 2016, https://medium.com/@sicross/the-product-manager-s-essential-reading-list-for-2016- c7fd4c0491bf#.ej9qnsx0d •  So you want to manage a product?, https://productcoalition.com/so-you-want-to-manage-a-product-c664ba7e5138#.sdzh5mmhz •  Where do product managers come from? An analysis of 1,000 PMs, http://hackingrevenue.com/product-management/where-do-product-managers-come-from/ •  Do Product Managers need a Technical Background?, https://www.productmanagerhq.com/2014/08/do-product-managers-need-a-technical-background/ •  Behind Every Great Product, http://www.svpg.com/behind-every-great-product •  Learning by Shipping, https://blog.learningbyshipping.com/2015/01/11/ces-2015-recap-for-makers-and-product- managers/ •  What is a Product Manager? A Different Perspective, http://www.productmanagerclub.com/2016/10/12/what-is-a-product-manager-a-different- perspective/ •  http://www.slideshare.net/280group/product-management-survey •  Gapingvoid for some great visual ideas!

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