I will like to write my product philosophy in a style borrowed from my product career mentor, Ravi Kumar (Senior product manager at IONOS, Germany).
Synopsis: I believe in testing hypotheses through customer discovery, building lean products by shipping features fast through customer feedback and ensuring every arm involved in building is aligned with proper communication and management. We can avoid local maximum for a live product by analyzing key metrics and testing improvements with customers.
Philosophy in detail
I believe product management is a mixture of art and science. The creativity required to hypothesize and create solutions is an art, but it should be validated by science.
On building products:
- I believe in building products that make life easy for users, either by solving a task or reducing the time it takes to do a task.
- I believe that your product is not ‘the product.’ Your business model is the product.
- I believe in being revenue-driven because I believe revenue is the true indication that you provide worthwhile value to your customers.
- I believe outcomes are more important than out put when building products. It is not about the doing, but in the satisfaction customers get from your product offering.
- I believe less is more in building. So, prioritization and simplification are very important.
- I believe success in launching products and features is positive customer feedback for the products and features.
- I strongly believe in lean startup and agile principles of product development.
On customer Immersion:
- I believe I am a strong customer advocate, and I begin decisions with genuine care for customers.
- I should understand my customers and their pain points better than anyone else in my organization.
- I believe building products and customer feedback are not mutually exclusive and depend heavily on each other.
- I believe in ‘outside in’ product development. So I have to talk to customers regularly as Steve Blank advocates.
On being data and metric driven:
I believe in being data- aware instead of being data- driven.
On the nature of my role:
- I believe in making sure my product keeps increasing its value to the market, thereby keeping customers satisfied
- I believe in investing in product discovery efforts more than anything else. I believe dwelling in the problem space to understand it makes sure our solution eventually solves the problem.
- I believe I am responsible for simplifying complex information and communicating it in the clearest to drive shared vision in building.
- I believe all forms of communication are essential aspects of my role. I must not just communicate but make sure the media for communication is simple and easy to understand.
On Structures and Alignment:
I strive for alignment from vision to execution for my products, from product vision, product strategy, product roadmap, product backlog. This includes mastering stakeholder communication and reviews.
On Attitudes and Mindset:
- I believe in inculcating a mindset of deep empathy for my customers.
- I believe in loving the problem and not the solution. And that is why I am a big believer of the Jobs to be Done framework.
- I believe in mistrusting my opinions and building tentatively by identifying and testing right hypothesis through experiments.
- I believe in staying humble and always be prepared to be proven wrong with my decisions.
- I believe in being conscious of not falling into the trap of confirmation bias. The default position is to find evidence for invalidating my own assumptions and hypothesis.
- I believe in practicing 10X moonshot thinking. Product managers need to be bold visionaries. I do not want to limit myself to features and functions but stretch my imagination to a big, hairy audacious future. — Inspired by Ken Norton
- I believe in inculcating a Craftsman mindset in product management. I dedicate my life towards mastering my PM skills.