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Walmart Product Manager Kartik Sondhi guides you to become a good Product Manager


GGI Business Review is a new business series, capturing snapshots of the GGI Harvard Case Style Masterclass by CEOs and Industry Leaders.


This particular piece is a snapshot from Kartik Sondhi's GGI Masterclass.


 

What do companies like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, or Tesla have in common? What is the secret which has propelled these companies to the heights at which they stand today?

All of these companies have one thing in common: they constantly put effort and money into this one thing to ensure that they stay on top.


This one thing is a GOOD PRODUCT!


A good product ensures that a company is able to stand out amongst its competitors while making sure that the product is providing solutions to the problems of the consumers. Now another question that arises is who will deliver these products for the company?


The answer to this question is, a Product Manager. A Product Manager is responsible for the creation of a product that is demanded by the consumers to solve their problems and fulfill their needs.


Walmart Product Manager Kartik Sondhi, takes us on the journey of how to become a good product manager who ensures that the company’s vision is smoothly executed while being accepted by the consumers.


WHAT DOES A PRODUCT MANAGER DO


A good product manager is responsible for the following processes in a company:

  1. Identifying the customer needs and finding out what is it that the customer really wants from a product.

  2. Driving execution toward the company’s long-term vision through the development of the product and its features.

  3. Defining the success criteria for a product through various metrics that act as a feedback loop for the product manager.




ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR BECOMING A PRODUCT MANAGER


Now that we know the role of a product manager in a company, we need to explore the skills that are a prerequisite for being a good product manager.

  1. VISION The development of apps and tech products requires a focus on the long-term vision of the company to ensure that the company can strategically place itself in the eyes of the consumer based on its long-term vision. So, the product managers need to ensure they are aligned with the vision of the company.

  2. STRATEGY Every company wants to differentiate its products from that of its competitors. Having a strategy helps in differentiating the company’s products while ensuring that the customers can access the products easily.

  3. DESIGN Everybody needs to understand the apps or technology that is being made by a product manager, so it becomes essential to ensure that the design of the resultant product is simple and easily accessible.

  4. EXECUTION Here, we need to define the task for the engineering team who then carry forward this idea into the execution phase while collaborating with the tech and the design team. This in turn leads to a working prototype of the product.

There is one more important skill which is a soft skill, that needs to be mastered to become an efficient product manager. It is Stakeholder Management. As a product manager, you are required to collaborate and work with multiple teams, starting from the CEO to tech, design, or engineering teams. So having good stakeholder management skills leads to efficiency in performance.


PM INTERVIEW - CASE FRAMEWORK


Now that we have discussed the nuances of how to become a good product manager, another question that arises is how to get through the interview to become a product manager.


The following framework guides us through the typical case interview-based format of a PM Interview.





A typical PM Interview involves solving a case that is generally focused on how we can improve an existing product. Now, the product can be anything ranging from a physical product like a laptop to a tech-based product like an app. But sometimes just to test your creativity, you may be asked to design a new product altogether which might be a non-software-based product.


Following are the steps to approach a PM Case Interview:


OBJECTIVE The first step is to clearly identify and clarify what is the objective of the company while identifying what is it that we are trying to solve for. This process essentially revolves around identifying what the company wants.


IDENTIFY CONSUMER PROFILES The second step is to identify who is really using our product or app. Here we need to identify the consumer profiles which are actually using our product and segregate our consumers. This step essentially focuses on identifying, who are my users, what they do in their daily lives, and what are their needs.


PRIORITISE NEEDS When we have segregated our customer population into different profiles, then we need to identify their needs and explore what are these consumers actually looking for. When we have listed all the needs, then we need to prioritize which is the biggest value addition for the maximum amount of people and has low alternates or substitutes.


SOLUTION Now that we have identified the different needs of the consumers and have information on the current priorities, we need to look at the solution part where we explore what can be the different features of the product and how can it solve the needs and problems at hand in different ways.


METRICS Metrics are the North Star for a product manager. These act as a feedback loop that helps to identify what is really working and what is not working. Metrics generally lead to a new objective altogether which then leads to the repetition of the chain of steps mentioned above.

TIPS FOR BECOMING A GOOD PRODUCT MANAGER

  1. THINK BIG Product Managers are there to push the company to the next billion and not the next million. So, a good product manager needs to Think Big!

  2. HAVE MULTIPLE SOLUTIONS As a good product manager, you should always have more than 3 solutions ready, so that if one solution is not fully executed then we can use the other one. This also highlights the level of creativity of a good product manager.


Finally, all the good companies in the world have good product managers who ensure that they build the future of the company through the various skillsets that they have developed over time.


 

Kartik is currently working as a Product Manager with Walmart. Prior to this, he was working as a Senior Manager in the Product division of Paytm. He has previously worked as part of the Product Teams with Ride Hailing and Fintech Firms - Shuttl and Neogrowth. He has also worked as an Application developer with JP Morgan Chase as part of their Investment banking line of business. Kartik is a postgraduate in MBA from ISB Hyderabad, and a computer engineer from RVCE.



 


If you are interested in learning about GGI's MBA Scholar program, you can learn here.

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