My first six months into Product Management

Last updated 16 Mar 2018 . 4 min read

Just six months into product management at and the exposure I have experienced is terrific.  From conceptualization to getting a product live, it is a roller coaster ride of learning and improvising at each step. Here’s what I have learnt so far.

Making PRDs is not your core work

Documenting your product requirements in the most comprehensive way possible is a great thing but it is not the most important thing you do.  You are required to solve the customers’ problems and making their lives easier by making your product simpler to use. More than PRDs, it is important to understand your customers’ needs and their challenges. Try to identify the root problem that you are trying to solve and then go on to conceptualizing a solution for it and documenting it.

Getting a new feature live is just half work done

Once a new feature is live, your job is not done. Analyze how the feature performs. Is it solving the problem that you initially built it for? How can it be further improved? Measure the effort that was put into building this feature and estimate the ROI.

Estimate deadlines and ask your team to adhere to it

One of the many things that I have really struggled with is allowing some projects to continue for too long. Hence putting up a deadline for each task under a project, be it documentation, design or code, is a must to avoid unnecessary latency. Moreover, a deadline for an ongoing project will help you line up and initiate future projects in a more organized manner.

Ask why before what

Before you initiate on what to build next, ask yourself why do you want to build it. Why would your customers like this feature? Try to uncover a reason for each and every element you think of and put in your product. Don’t justify. Instead evaluate your reason and its importance.

Take more time to think and less to execute

Thoroughly assess your product in its conceptualization. Get it reviewed by someone who is not associated with it. Make it as easy as possible to code an implement. Always include your design and development teams in conceptualization. Clarity of product to everyone will result in efficient execution.

Showcase your developments to your customers

No feature will market itself. You need to put it out in front of your customers. Catch their attention by on site marketing. Notify users about your new updates on the most viewed pages and in the most prominent places. The more people get to know, more will use it and more feedback for you to improvise.

Prioritize your projects

Setting priorities for multiple projects is something that I initially struggled with. Whatever input I received on the product, I initiated on it immediately. Over the time, I have learnt to implement the 80-20 rule: fix the 20% on product which will bring 80% value to customers. Setting priorities will help you deal with the dynamics of the entire product development process. Whatever inputs you get during development, make sure to set the right time of taking them up.

Conduct Controlled Experiments

While experimenting with new products or product features, always keep in mind to implement them in such a way so that you can measure their performance independently.  It might be difficult to assess a feature which is being impacted by multiple other features on your product. Define proper metrics to measure the performance of your product and make sure those metrics are independent to that product. Also, try to assess the impact that you new product may have on other product elements.

Data is your best friend

Record and analyze everything that you do and everything that happens. There is no better place to go to than your data house whenever you need to make decisions. Monitor your data regularly and draw actionable insights. Explore what your competitors are doing and how are they performing. Data and insights would not only help you decide what to do and why but also what is not to be done.

Product Management is an exciting and challenging role to work in. The mission at of putting 1 million women at work makes it all the more exciting. Catering to the diverse needs of women at various stages in their career gives us the inspiration to build great products.

product management at SHEROES
Gagan Mahajan

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