Rohit is a Senior Manager at Delloite India (Offices of the U.S.), he has led design and engineering teams to deliver large-scale digital transformation programs driven by user-centered design. He has immense knowledge in product management and digital experience. He also writes at https://rohitmalekar.in/
I highly recommend reading his The Product Management Grid post.
In just 500 words he shares
- His advice for aspiring product managers
- The common traits he observes in exceptional engineers and designers
- The books that have helped him in his career
let’s get started:
It feels obvious now but it didn’t come naturally to me - knowing that clients don’t work with consultants but people work with people. The brand on your visiting card can only take you so far in building relationships with your clients. When a client inks their signature on a contract, it is, in fact, a testimonial of the trust between the people sitting across the table. The most rewarding client service experiences I have had are the ones where over time the client team almost forgot that we weren’t part of their organization.
You’ve worked with exceptional engineers and designers, what common traits have you observed in them?
I would rate the ability to start with the end in the mind and active listening as the top two traits. Building a sustainable digital experience implies bringing people together from diverse career paths under the same roof — from practitioners who understood the human psychology of interacting with a computer screen to engineers who built the best-in-breed web and mobile apps. Being able to collaborate across the “aisle” to determine the true north for the product goes a long way to prioritize decisions and measure meaningful progress.
That would be “True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership” by Bill George and Peter Sims. It helped me accept my roots and my growth areas along with getting clarity on what values I stand for. A direct outcome was being able to integrate my separate identities at and outside work into one and bring my true self wherever I go.
I would say the ability to influence stakeholders to shape the solution. In some ways, Product Management is a misnomer, since, for the most part, you are managing the people who have a stake in the product, to be able to manage the product itself. Your ability to resolve conflicts, facilitate decisions and pitch ideas across a diverse set of groups is key. This includes sponsors or VCs who sign the checks, leaders who own the execution, user groups that define the needs, and the contributors whom you rely on to implement your vision.
If you are seeking a transition into a PM role, see if you can flex your impact in your current role to do one or more of the following behaviors. If you are not exclusively owning any one or more of these four topics, then you probably are not a product manager yet. And that’s not a bad thing. Rome was not built in a day and neither are successful product managers. On the flip side, if you do these four things well, you may be treated as a product manager, whether you have the title or not.
- Take responsibility to define and execute a research-first, human-centric, and iterative approach to build solutions
- Demonstrate ability to influence stakeholders to shape the solution
- Take upon self-imposed accountability to do what’s right for the user
Show a relentless drive to measure success against a business metric