Why digital product management after all (that)?

Image by Mind the Product

I think one of the most interesting roles out there is the one of product manager and get asked frequently why I find it interesting. That seems quite obvious for me, but (obviously) not obvious to all people.

The image above is very frequently used in product management courses and workshops — this one comes from a Mind the Product presentation but it could have come from many other places; I have seen it over and over again. Perhaps that question would be easier to answer if every time I had to answer I could design this picture.

The intersection between the many knowledge layers makes it visually clear the appeal that this role might have to people that are intellectually curious about at least those 3 different disciplines — and guess who is?

Tech

I have started my career in large tech management consulting firms, and although always being part of the smaller strategy teams within those organisations, early on I was exposed to the impact that technology can have in client organisations from operational improvements to strategic shifts.

Later on, I had the opportunity to work for a fast paced ecommerce startup in Brazil in its growth stage, where I contributed to the expansion of the product portfolio on the website and saw how technology enabled tackling such a big market.

Most recently I have joined courses and bootcamps for learning to code, which I find important even for product managers (and not only developers). After all, it is useful to know a bit about the ingredients you are baking your products with. Also, to become better at understanding some of the challenges the technical people working with you in a product can have.

UX

I am very interested in human psychology and the constituents of a good experience. In my personal project (you can say a sort of TED Talks focused on the Humanities) I had the opportunity to reflect on the different types of personas that would be interested, designing the talks (choosing speakers, venues and the voting mechanism used for choosing the talks) and the communication channels to engage the audience (newsletters and social media), and continuously tweak some of these elements to improve the overall experience.

Diving deeper into the UX processes and tools, I have come to the realization that perhaps, some of the problems that remain unsolved after the end of consulting projects, could have had a different outcome, if the client, its characteristics and concerns had been taken as the main piece of information to be obtained.

Business

This is the area where I have most strength and experience in, the long arm in my T-shape profile. From experience in leading management consulting firms to an MBA from a leading business school, all my experiences helped me develop an analytical mindset, having to justify recommendations based on data; a capacity to understand the goals of multiple stakeholders usually involved in a business; and a capacity to communicate across different organisational levels.

At the end of the day most organisations are driven by business goals and having a clear understanding of the goal of business, the analytical capacity to identify to what extent some of those goals are being achieved and break down the steps to be taken still remains for me some of the most relevant skills.

If tech is the tool, UX is the level pleasure in using the tool and business the understanding of the overarching objective of using the tool. The more I think about it, the more it is difficult to explain not the reason why this appealing, but to devise any other way of doing things or any other disciplines that would fit so well together.