Real World Product Management – Episode 05

In this episode, Irina and I are talking with Kyma – a seasoned Business Analyst who has a lot of interesting insight into BA’s world and how BAs are interacting with Product Managers. Additionally, Kyma brings a lot of questions that most BAs are asking but are having a hard time finding answers about product management. 

Transcript (courtesy of Otter.AI)

Please note that the transcription below was generated automatically and may contain misspellings and errors. If you want to help with cleaning the transcript – please get in touch!

Vlad G 0:07
This is real world product management.

Hello, everyone. This is yet another episode of the real world product management. And I have two people on the line with me right now. I have Irina and Kim. Can you ladies please introduce yourself? Irina, why don’t you go first?

Iryna M 0:29
Sure. Welcome back. I’m happy to be with you. Once again. We’re going to have quite an interesting topic today, where I’m going to represent product management era mostly and passing the word to Kim, who will be talking from beside today.

Kima 0:44
Hi, everyone. My name is Kima. I’m promote Mati and I’ve been in business analysis for the past eight years, quite a long time. And so yeah, I’ll be happy to talk about my experience in business analysis.

Vlad G 0:57
Just for those for those folks who are not thinking was the former Soviet Union geography? Can you please tell us where do Mati is?

Kima 1:05
Sure, um, what is former capital of Kazakhstan? And for those of you who don’t know, Kazakhstan, it’s between Russia and China does like it’s a big country.

Iryna M 1:16
Yeah. So Kima is closer to me than to Vlad, I guess. I’m located in Minsk Belarus.

Vlad G 1:23
Yeah. Awesome. Thank you, ladies. Alright, so as we’ve just heard, we are doing BA versus product management. And first obvious question that I would like to put on the table is what are the differences between a BA in product management and for the record, I did not have any ba background. They never played a role of ba ever. I was a software developer that I went through project management that was that felt very much like product management because of stuff I ended up doing and I became a product manager. So I know Irina has a A lot of the background I know Kima has a lot of BA background. And now that we’re all here, let’s talk about the differences between what BA is doing versus with product managers doing

Kima 2:10
Yeah, so um, maybe I can start with the definition of business analysis and I’m sure Irina will well saw at Thompson here. So business analyst in the like, previous when I was starting was definition was like the bridge between the customer and the team. And if you look at the BA book, business body of knowledge definition, the last version, it’s more defined like business analyst is a catalyst for change enables a change in the organization by defining the needs and bring the value to the customer. So this is pretty much it. Basically, business analyst is the person who supports the change and the person who communicates both with a product development or project development team and the customer.

Iryna M 2:55
And if we’re just go straight towards by Wikipedia and Product Management definition there were there, you would see that usually project managers are the ones who are responsible or at least orchestrating product development as the process together with the business business justification planning for requesting any kind of verification validation and users can actions. Sometimes it’s also involved pricing financial aspects of product development part. And of course for managers are the ones who are supports an anti orchestrated product launch as well as a new type of marketing activities, important sales activities and also sometimes helping to establish support model for the product. So this is what you would see for product management. I was saying that from their perspective over the past experience, product managers tend to be more on the business side and and business analysts. tend to be more between business and technology side technology side, but I would say that BAs and usually much more technology savvy, technology aware people comparing to product managers.

Vlad G 4:15
Funny, you brought that up because my my experience and that’s why I love having people with different approaches and different mindsets. Part of my experience was introducing change to organizations. So I was as a product manager, I was the agent of change, not not be a CPAs were more of to tell us what to do and we’ll figure out the requirements for it. And a lot of things a lot of times as a product manager, I not I was technically savvy, I was sometimes even more technically savvy than vas and I was able to get into nitty gritty details of software systems by being more technically savvy, and then explaining to them what the what the thing is. And the last part to again, back to what you were saying began as a product manager, I was the connection between the business and delivery, I was the exactly in the place where you’re putting the BA in, in this in this layout. So it’s funny how they overlap, how the positions overlap, or how the roles overlap and different organizations. Yeah, I think there’s I think there’s a conflict in there somewhere.

Kima 5:33
Yeah, you know, I think it’s, as they say, it all depends. But once I’ve heard this interesting thought, that product manager is more outward or externally bound looking. While business analyst is more inward looking, what it means. It means that product manager is involved with marketing research, who is I know users analyses and so forth, like benchmarking While business analysts might do this work, business analysts is more concentrated on the internal processes within the organization. So it might be one of the differences, but I do agree there might be some overlap between the two.

Iryna M 6:15
Yeah, and probably you know, that’s very true. That depends because if we go to the market right now and take a look who’s been called as a business analyst, you definitely would see that such role and such title exists in many other areas outside of software development, and the meaning for that would be different. So that probably, you know the first reason one of the reasons why conflict race. I actually quite aligned was keema mentioned about being extremely fees for product managers who versus being internally faced for business and Elise, and but I think coming back to your example, probably you’re just paying most of the roles. You’re just never in You got here we’re doing these, which has actually happened in quite a lot. Because many people who are looking for product managers to D, they actually put quite a number of their responsibilities in the worker description, the position description, that actually should be part of the responsibilities. The reality is, though, that not every company has a business, at least our business analysts a billable hour or separate competence, who has a separate department or whatever is needed. And still, someone has to work with the requirements. Someone has to be a bridge between delivery and business side. And if you don’t have such people as these assemblies, there’s nothing else to do except to have Product Manager to, uh, to ask a product manager to be such person. So yeah, that’s actually happening quite a lot. And I think more conflicts coming into play right now with product owner role being added because now You can have a setup where you have Product Manager, product owner, sometimes even proxy product owner, and business analyst. So that becomes even more tricky, I would say. Yeah.

Kima 8:15
That’s gonna be a lot of fun. And now, you know, I want us to think about this case when, okay, well, I’ll say I’m saying and I think that you disagree and we have started in discussion right. Product Manager is again more concentrated on the product, like how this product is placed on the market, how this product brings a value and so forth. While product owner is again, operates within the company, Product Manager might not be necessarily thinking about the company itself while the focus is on the product. While product owner is like at least in my you know, my perspective, from my perspective is a person who operates from the Company interests. What do you think?

Vlad G 9:04
I Yes, you were right I would disagree. I think product managers very concerned and this is very company focused, because the goal of each product and I keep stressing this and pretty much any dialogue I have around product management competency or product product mindset, overall, the idea is that product is not does not exist in a vacuum product is not built just because we can product is built to answer and result and solve for customers needs. So, there’s a customer problem customer issue and the product is being built as a response to that there for sure. Yeah, right. And therefore, product or product manager is very concerned with the internal view because that solves a customer problem for the company for this particular companies will use working with Additionally, there are there are aspects variables, Part of the responsibilities of their part of the scope of Product Manager, for example, connecting with delivery connecting with or setting up support model, even legal, then all these all these parts, all these items are internally facing. So yes, absolutely. As a product manager, I am responsible for taking the product to the market, but it’s one of one of those one of those nightmares of keep haunting me. These imagine, I don’t know 17th and 18th century army, and you have a general on the, you know, on the white horse in front of the army and he goes less attack he goes forward, but nobody follows. He’s just all alone. In front of in front of the enemy army, and everybody’s like, okay, dude, the guy decided to take a walk, that’s fine. So that’s, that’s kind of this kind of a picture that you paid for on a successful product manager. So you need to make sure Or your team, the company behind you is following you. And that’s why you still have to be company faced as well.

Iryna M 11:07
Just to, just to add to what Vlad mentioned, actually, I saw several cases when compensation and bonuses and all of that, for product managers is highly tied to the results of the products that they’re leading. So with that you actually has to be a company for Christmas as well, and especially with business and business goals, focus and business focus person. You know, I think what you mentioned about being extraordinarily Paul close to me, versus internally focused, that’s not exactly tied to the area or for specific VCs or which goals you’re trying to achieve, but they’re mostly tied to the activities that are fulfilling Gordy and in my mind The main difference between all these various roles would be the percentage of the time that you’re spending on one type of activities versus others. Because I actually did seen that quite a number of cases when product owners were part of the marketing activities as well or part of the sales features. And the same is very true for business analysts, especially if you would like to grow this these people into the product managers later on. I think that the question is, how much time should you dedicate to do the sales features or how much time business analysts should DK to help marketing department with the materials development and so on? So again, to me, the main difference who would be not only the focus but also percentage of the time that you’re spending on each of these various areas and activities?

Kima 12:51
And you know, then, like, I’m interested to hear Vlad’s opinion on the product owner versus product manager role. What is the difference then? From your prospecive?

Vlad G 13:03
That’s one of my favorite topics.

Iryna M 13:06

Kima 13:08
Let’s start.

Vlad G 13:10
Yes, there’s a there’s a canned definition I always provide, but it’s mostly for people who are not involved in product development. And that is it sounds something like product owners are is a role within agile team they sit in the team and they are teams external interface the product owner is the person or or a cook conductor that connects the team to the outside world because one of the responsibilities of the product owner is to shield the team from all the external things and make them focus on actual development and they are responsible for bringing in the new requirements are new once and asks then making sure team understands them and provides things back to the outside world. Whereas the product manager is someone in the more strategic level, who sees a big picture who sees the whole product or product portfolio. And effectively he tells product owners what needs to be done. And and the lingo here is pretty important. We’re this product manager, we’re not telling them how to do things. We’re not telling them what we want to do. We tell me what needs to be done. And then the rest is up to them how they want to figure it out.

Iryna M 14:31
Yeah, so I kind of would like to mirror what Vlad was saying about product owner and product management. And the reason for that is because we predict management usually that’s supposed to be a career path, you all can become a senior product manager or director product management. But for product owner, we don’t have such saying as Senior Product Owner, and that sounds obvious for most of us, and that’s actually happening especially because you We treat product owner just as a role. So, yeah, you can be titled even as a software engineer or Scrum Master whatever. And at the same time to be oriented, business oriented person and drive the team in the role of product holder. So disregarded the fact that you actually can hire a product owner in person for such title to de steal, most of us would see that just as a role. And partially that’s coming from that reason in that this came from Scrum where a product owner was just as a role that can be played by anybody similar to Scrum Master. So what I wanted to share here that when we were trying to find this border between Product Manager and product owner, so, you know, what’s this period of time was the flag or criteria that would let you know that you Not on the product or owner any longer, but you are now ready to become a product manager. Right? So we were looking at these and realized that one of such criteria A can be the timescale on which you will work in. Yeah, and on which you’re looking at your product. So usually product owner is the one who really defines how you’re doing how you’re going to achieve a particular goal as well as mentioned, but you’re doing that on a shorter timescale. So usually you have like a release or couple of releases in front of you, which kind of defined goals for those who you know what you’re trying to achieve. And most probably, you’re looking for the next three, six, probably nine months. You know, sometimes it can be up to 12 months, but I would say really rarely happening. And as a product owner, you have those goals kind of given to you. You don’t have the exact path Through these forests, how you’re going to achieve those goals, but you know what you need to do. And you have expected timeline for these. And again, this is something that’s a little bit more tactical, because if these goals were set for you, as a project manager, you actually the one who is working on more strategic level. So you are trying to define those goals for the next 12 months and longer in the role of Product Manager. And with that, you have to do all this external feast activities that we discussed before. And product owners just the one who’s helping you to achieve certain goals that were set by your so you’re the older of those goals, that laser are being communicated to product owners that lead to being the cheat by the entire team. So this is how we would treat that. And this is how we would do this limitation or separation between protocol and their product manager. It’s the scale and The timeframe and of course, percentage, as I said, time that you’re spending, dealing with markets and sales support and so on.

Vlad G 18:10
Make sense, I just want to throw in a bit of a curveball here. And you will see this in the marketplace people are hiring product owners. And by product owners, they mean portfolio product portfolio managers, portfolio managers or liat product line managers. So they’re really high level senior position and they understand ownership in the direct not a product owner not as an agile role or not a scrum role, but more of real ownership, you all you will own this product line or this product portfolio. And you will make all the decisions and you will be responsible for financial results. Basically, back back to what I was saying, where performance is tied into the product performance or portfolio performance. That’s exactly what they meant. So and that’s that That’s kind of a thing that I keep seeing. I see this last. Now, not these days, but I’ve seen this pretty often. So I think it’s so relevant. And whenever you talk about product ownership, you need to be very careful, because not every organization is on the same maturity level. And some organizations are pretty new and they are adopting good things. Some organizations are, again, not very mature, pretty new to the whole product mindset, but they’re not adopting the right methodologies or right approach. And they would call like, anybody who does anything with a product. Oh, there are the owners, so the product owners, right. It throws more monkey wrenches into the whole understanding. But I think what Irina said makes sense, in most of the cases, most of the scenarios,

Kima 19:49
okay, yeah, that’s interesting.

Iryna M 19:51
So, yeah, so now with that, Kimbat, Kima, a question to you, from your experience, who Don’t think you or actually it should show me putters in different way. Who would you prefer to have on your team isn’t a product manager product owner? And why?

Kima 20:11
I would say that, in the ideal scenario, based on the decision you provided, we would have both. Because again, if it’s an agile team, it’s of course, we need to have product owner, and then the product manager who’s looking like the, you know, as we said, outbound. So I wouldn’t say that it’s kind of if there is no if there’s no choice if and if I had to choose. I think the product manager role is important, because in some cases, business analysts can perform the role of the product owner.

But given the choice, I would prefer to have both

Iryna M 20:51
sounds great, unfortunately, this is no it was happier. The real live vigorous, not every company has a budget for all these roles, and not every company has tend to buy into the deck many people and you know what the wart all this people going to be doing? But yeah, I would agree with you that it’s great when you have ever wanted and you have clear in detail over their responsibilities.

Kima 21:15
Yeah. And and you know

yes sorry, it just I have a question to you guys. So we have business analyst, product owner and Product Manager right and what do you think would be the career path for business analyst to go further so is it more like again I understand that there might be a choice and business analyst might choose, but where you are because you guys have this product manager perspective right. And maybe you have this view where business analyst can grow where he would fit better is it product management or product ownership?

Iryna M 21:59
You Now I would say that it can be both and not only those who are of course, saying that as a business analyst you can easily grow into product manager that would be straightforward and easy answer here. The reality is though, I saw different cases happening in life and sometimes business analysts realizing that they would like to be more on the technology side and a little bit more process oriented. So they’re not that business oriented, but rather process oriented. Again, they feel really comfortable in administrating the protests, orchestrating all of that, and with that, they are sometimes switch into their role of Delivery Manager. That’s, I would say, like, probably not happening a lot. But sometimes I saw that, especially if you live to be the you know, this kind of the manager who is working with the team and kind of managing the team, that staff have in the past so that you can take as a business So is in nazzer, Korea past that’s happened in a much more often is, is tapped over to consultancy and be in a business consultant. If you’re a great business analyst, you most probably have enough of knowledge in a particular domain in the particular sphere. And if you’re developing yourself, our inter the next step in Korea, whatever it is, it might not be decided at that point. But you’re ready to work your region looking outside of only one company that you’re working with. And with that, your understanding the word is happening on the market, what what are the actual trends, what actually can happen with their with your competitors in the near future. So you’re getting more and more insights from the from the market side and at certain point of time, you can realize that this is information that you can sell together with your experience and your impulse to business consultancy and product management of course, this is a possibility to grow there. I would say you know coming back to your question between the product owner shape and product management the way how are usually the position that is actually see as a business analyst in terms of the career paths, but try to take on a role of product owner and that’s kind of coming back to our previous conversation that product ownership is mostly a role not like a career paths right. So, you can, you can try that you can be you can quite easily take yourself into the position of proxy for the folder and then product or that is usually, again, fairly quickly and easily doable for a nice skilled business analyst. And then if you feel like this is the right path, if you feel like this is the job that you would like to do you know, deal with all this paratis and business conflicts and deal with the business objectives and so on, then you’re definitely moving to the next stage in your career reaches product management. So I would say product ownership is a great step between business analysis and business analysis and product management. So this is how I would position that.

Kima 25:18
Okay, that’s interesting. Thank you. And the question to Vlad, it’s a bit maybe controversial question. But still, do you think that product manager can it’s the other way around when Product Manager becomes a business analyst?

Vlad G 25:34
I haven’t seen that happening. And I think I know why. Uh huh. first product managers unless this is not a career path, unless this is a retirement path. Product Managers deal with a lot of a lot more than ba does, at least from my perspective, I’m yet to see a single VA taking product to the market. product managers do this all the time. may have seen the A’s helping with marketing, legal interfacing with delivery, but they’re not the orchestrator. They are not the responsible of the responsible party for all of these activities. And I don’t think Unless Unless there’s a there’s a, you know, the person who spent 1015 years in product management role and then they decided, you know what, this is overwhelming. I want to focus on just one part of this, just figuring things out. I actually can see myself doing it. Okay. In 510 years, you know, what I really don’t enjoy talking to legal anymore, which is not true. I do. But, you know, 1015 years, you know, it’s the same thing all over, standing up, support organizations, the same thing all over again to marketing. It’s the same thing all over. I am bored. Let me go and do something really exciting. And that is that exciting part is figuring things out as a business analyst, or producing going down into nitty gritty details of systems and given the experience that I would have by that and given the expertise that we have, by that it’s probably would be a pretty interesting, pretty interesting role and pretty interesting position to be in. So theoretically, you know, as as, as we all know, theoretically nothing has nothing has zero probability. And so small chance and it’s probably will happen eventually some of the people, but not as a general rule, not as a career development, kind of like a change of a career or, you know, path on the retirement. It’s just, you know, I just want to do things for fun.

Kima 27:43
Yeah, sure.

Iryna M 27:43
And Kima kinda to be on the same topic. You know, with all these new roles, product ownership, being that and being all over the place like to the more and more companies are asking for a product owner to be a part of the team arizer for business and ways to be a part of this team. Do you think that will ever get to the point when business analysts is not needed any longer? So there is a product owner, Product Manager, and basically all of the activities that be doing today, between those two. So what do you think is the future for business? Always?

Kima 28:18
Yeah, that’s a good question. And you know, here, I think there are several things. The first thing is that business analyst has this specific activity. And as let’s say, this is quite, you know, I would say deep and focused on kind of analyzing the requirements and understanding the business need, focusing on the business value. So this is quite, you know, focused activity. So, I think in this activity, at least from my perspective, it will never be extinct. You know, while product management is indeed is has wider, things like wider scope of things. I believe that product manager will always need support a business analyst how Unless there is a kind of, I don’t know, maybe to some small product and product manager can perform both things like business analysis and Product Manager. But I do believe that product management, business analysis will always be needed. And as you said, Actually, I agree with you that again, I, I didn’t know is it the world changing or is just in my career, I’m changing my perspective. But what I see that when I was a middle business analyst or junior business analyst, I was more focused on the lower level of, you know, requirements. So I was more into functional requirements, analyzing the details, being really the breach with between the customer and the team, and just, you know, kind of handing over their requirements with right now, I do see the role changing, but I think it’s more to do with my career path, that I have more perspective and now it’s more focused on the business value, which would bring. So right now I think business analysis might be indeed, heading towards consulting, when you can really see when you’re, you know, when you’re deep down into the domain, and you understand the business processes within the company within the customer, and you can indeed consult what would be the more efficient again, this is the second thing, which would, I would say, prevent of business analysis to be extinct. So answering your question, no, I don’t think that business analysis might be you know, just fully disappear after all.

Iryna M 30:38
I hope that it will not do though I I truly believe that there was enough before is for enough a word for all of these roles. Yeah. So I guess now we’re, we are getting to the point in the conversation, where we can start talking a little bit about the remote work, you know, in our world today. When we have number of offshore teams and pretty, every pretty everyone, the company has an offshore team. Always it’s a question of budgets, but it’s also a question of visibility. Which role would you have? Would you prefer to have on site being together with the client together with the business side together with the entire company, versus which role can see offshore and be closer to the offshore delivery team? So came up a perspective from your side on that. Where do you think the separation should be and if it should be at all?

Kima 31:45
Yeah, it’s a very good question. And actually, for the past four years, I to have this either side, I was working on site on the customer side on the customer premises, and two of the past years, I was working offshore so I can compare him Guess the news was working on site, of course is created, you always have the, you know, access to the stakeholders. You can basically if you build a good enough relationship

Iryna M 32:11
with somebody, yeah. Likely,

Kima 32:14
you can just walk into the room say, Hey, you know, what could you please clarify just need your five minutes and you know, it’s more opportunity, first of all to build their relationship with the customer to make them trust because I think it’s even from the psychological perspective when you see person every single day, you kind of trust him more, I guess. And second thing, see, of course, you can, you know, yeah, you can always go into any of the doors and ask anything. With the Having said that, I think there is there are disadvantages, for example, being always on site gives you always this, more of the business site. You know, you’re all Working on the business need business requirement business solution like you’re taking one perspective, while being offshore makes you more Caesar deliver Tim perspective probably I do know that there might be of course balance and you can find that. But working on site can be quiet. I wouldn’t say stressful, but you know, it makes you put on the spots. You’re always there. And well, well you when you’re short. Okay, I’m going to talk about the second part here. When you’re working remotely of site. Sometimes if you’re working the different time zones, you have only certain hours overlapping, right. And during those hours, you can work with a client and when you’re they are not there when the kind of stakeholders are, you know, they are sleeping or something they’re in different timezone. You have your time to focus on concentrate, and I think it is very important for business analysts not only to communicate with the stakeholders or with the team It’s very important for him to have his own time to do the analysis. That’s why they’re always called business analysis, you know, to understand the business, the main the business person is where the problem lies, what would be the best solution, understanding the business and so forth. So you do need that time. It all depends, of course. But all I’m saying that if you’re working on site, you might not need enough. You might not get enough of that time on your own while remote work can allow that. But I think there are a few important things working remote which might seem like little things, but they’re critical actually. First thing is constant communication. Because when you are working off site, you kind of again, you might focus more on the delivery team, on working on your analysis thing and so forth. While you might get you might lose, you know, focus on the customer. That’s why I always make sure that we have enough communication points with a client with a customer Sometimes, you know, your clients might say, Hey, you know what, I think it’s too often maybe we don’t need to talk that often so forth. But eventually, in my experience, all clients did agree at the end that it was good. So communication never hurts. So you need to actually put that communication point in your, in your agenda in your calendar. And then second thing is that, please do put your camera on, it might seem like a little thing. But I think that, you know, seeing the actual person instead of just static image might change the attitude. And of course, there are more tips, but this is what I found.

Vlad G 35:36
Interesting. I know I know things about camera and I’m not disagreeing about stuff coming from. Let’s put it this way. from past experience. Having a video chat is not always the most ideal situation, because people tend to do things When they especially when they’re deep into thinking or they’re kind of like go with a flow, they doing things that you may not want to see or, you know, you as a person may be doing things that you don’t want others to see. And it gets, it gets distracting. It gets very so instead of thinking of what you’re saying, I watch how you scratch your head every 15 15.5 seconds. And that’s, that’s distracting because I’m not focusing on the conversation. I’m focusing on things I’m looking at, through the camera. And in my past experience, I actually found myself preferring not to watch the video and if I’m on the call where people use video and I see live people I try to tune that out or overlap it with no one knows where to take my notes, so I don’t see their faces. Instead, I am focusing on what they’re saying. And focusing on taking notes of what important for me. That’s interesting.

Kima 37:01
Yeah, I get Yeah, it’s interesting, Vlad. And I think it depends on the which at which stage of the relationship you are with this client. Because I do agree that we know when you’ve seen this person for I don’t know, every single day for the past couple of years and probably don’t need to build this trust, and you can of course, switch of the video, although I do not do so even now. But on the other hand, if you’re at some early stages, you might want to switch on the video because, you know, it makes you more human. As you said, there might be some things which are not ideal and so forth, but it Yeah, it’s, it makes you vulnerable, and at the same time, it makes other person trust you at least Yeah, it’s, it’s my opinion.

Iryna M 37:44
I actually would fully agree with Kim over here, I would say that it heavily depends whether you know how the particular person looks on the vault. And from the past experience, you know, we have going to be company We’re here and we’re talking to many, many people. But then once we had that, like conference or in person event where you meet all of these people in person, all of the sudden, the tone of your messengers, even the tone of your emails, which might sound a little bit crazy, but really the tone of your email messages changes, once you know how this person looks. And once you know how this person behaves just then in real life, and even his creation of fees, it still changes how you would talk to this person.

Vlad G 38:38
Okay? I mean, it’s possible I I’m not disagreeing I’m offering a slightly different perspective on this. And I do agree that it helps. I’m just thinking, you know, sometimes it can get distracting.

Iryna M 38:53
You know, it’s probably a good topic for our next session. How would you make sure that there is enough attention Communication but at the same time not to be overburdened with the returns in your calendar and have time to work to do the actual work right? And then how would you have that many meters during the day with video but still have a break and still have still have this feeling that you’re not very tired of sitting straight forward in your chair all the days or all the meats has left your house? So problem that can be part of the next conversation

Vlad G 39:31
I mean, we definitely need to explore we definitely need to explore and given the current situation we definitely need to explore Yeah, how people think feel and how they manage this remote work with the cameras on and I I’ve seen a few stories different guy that want to go in deep into this but I’ve seen a few stories about remote work being tracked how you do their most remote work. Yeah, and not not all of them are pretty so full, full. Definitely. Nice to Florida.

Iryna M 40:01
Okay, so So coming back to the usual topic, Vlad, what’s what’s your perspective about remote work? You know, Kima was saying that yeah, you have advantages and disadvantages of being business analysts and being on site versus offshore. What do you think about product manager is possible at all to be a product manager and to be remote.

Vlad G 40:27
That’s a good question. Yes, I’ve been doing this for the past two years, full time and I’ve been doing this previous five ish seven ish years, part time, which is which means I have been a product manager with teams partially or completely remote or I was working from home or I was working from a remote location. So technically, I was remote and the team was on on the premise. It’s possible Ideally, yes, I want to see my clients, the people I work with. Not not us, but not necessarily the team I’m working with, not necessarily the delivery or legal or marketing. But I, in the ideal world, we’re all in the same place. But you know, we’re not in the ideal world ever. So it’s possible. It’s doable, it takes longer for my experience. And it takes longer to make things happen. Because first of all, because of this, casuals you only stick to the schedule, so you can’t have a conversation in the court or you can have a conversation, somebody else’s office. Hey, are you available? I have a couple of questions for you. You can however, have conversations over, I don’t know slack teams, whatever you guys are using. And that helps. Again, the problem is it’s not instantaneous. You have a crazy idea. You want to boss it off by someone but everybody’s in the meeting. And you pick a couple of people they’re not responding. So the your interest kind of dies. down, you switch over to other activities and by the time they respond, either you don’t remember what you want to ask or you don’t really care much about it anymore. And it’s like yeah, probably was not a good idea, nevermind and you lose momentum you lose traction. So, some things are definitely getting lost in translation. There are certain personal like, just like hearing that, just like you said, there are certain personal connection that you make with people and there are certain personal feeling that you get once you’ve acquainted with the person in real life. That is that is missing if you’re constantly remote. At the same time, maybe because you’re more formal. Maybe because your communications are easier easily tracked, as in you have emails, you have chat, you have notes, you have recordings of meetings, so it’s easier to go back to the conversation and see if you’ve missed anything. A lot of times in interpersonal you probably in somebody’s office, you want to discuss something, you get things done faster, but it’s hard to track them. And in my previous life that happened to me a lot, where I would occasionally pop into somebody else’s office, we discuss something, we resolve things in 15 minutes instead of three hours of meetings. And then I send out meeting notes. If I’m, if I remember to do that. And if I don’t, no one’s aware that this is what we’ve decided. And I’ve seen I’ve seen actually companies actually struggling because of that. They have conversations in place. They have certain decisions made in place and then they forget or maybe not to distribute, though there is also those conversations. So to me, it’s a blessing and the curse. The Blessing is that everything is easier tracked. The curse is that you don’t get that personal dodge. You may not even pick up certain letters language that is easier to understand for the other parties. So yeah, I think again, it’s a double edged sword.

Iryna M 44:10
Now from my perspective, I would say that the best case scenario would be for a team and have a product manager. So actually now from the requests that we’ve been processing so far, in most of the cases, it’s kind of requested that product manager would stay on side to gather with the business and closer to the clients versus product owner and business analysts to be closer to the delivery team beakers and fishes, the guys that to whom they should interact on a daily basis. And my personal best scenario would be for my team where they’re really close tied and personal connection between product owner and Product Manager. And you can jump with in your deer in these communication between them. These two guys and the importance of time, so you’re actually not losing these great idea that just came to your mind while you were in the shower, for example. And at the same time, you have a product manager who can popping into someone’s room and into someone’s office and just talk briefly about that really quickly. And then feel all this tension and political scenes and you know, all these little emotional details which are going on the sides. And then as a product owner, you’re kind of doing the same for the offer team, and for everyone who is actually seeing offshore and then you have this whole chain between your two how we’re doing in both of the sides, but that requires really close and really trusted relationships between these two guys. But to me, this is a path to success when you have remote and remote team and on site team. Yeah

Vlad G 46:01
Now that you mentioned it, I’m sorry, I just have to bring this up the story about my past experience, I had a distributed team, where we have people all over the United States, literally any place in the United States, we had a person we had seven or eight people team. And we had a person, each and every part of United States. And one of the people on my team was very serious, very uptight, very professional. I’m not even sure which other words to use to describe this person. Very official, everything down to the point, nothing special, nothing, you know, nothing outside of work. And at some point we have we were having a scrum trust, Scrum related conversation or something. And one of us, not me some other key member use the phrase from a very popular Saturday. shop and everybody related to that almost instantaneously. Everybody said, Oh, yes, I know what you mean. And it was very funny when that person very uptight person very serious, very professional. Nothing outside of the boundaries of work immediately became very relatable and Oh, yes, since you’ve seen this show, I’ve seen this show will we can connect another level that in my head at least broke some some of the walls around that person breaker raised? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, the whole world would not have any Nice.

Iryna M 47:37
Yeah, that’s actually a great story. Okay. Um, so I guess we’re kind of a slight movement to, to that. Yeah. to that organization to the so. So Kmart, I guess was MSL for most of the product management side today and, you know, kind of been sharing our experience from that from that side. Then you’re the one who was hearing your parents from the business analysis perspective. So other any questions that you would ever ask to product managers be there or business analyst? Yeah,

Kima 48:13
I have a few actually in two of them I guess relate to the product management and one are like general questions so I will start with a product management questions. So um, why do you think is that that it’s been recently that the product management role is becoming popular so as you guys said earlier, if you like to look at the market, probably more more and more there’s a product management role which is needed. So why do you think is becoming popular now?

Iryna M 48:43
I probably count step in over here and then Vlad would add

you know, my experience mostly comments from the enterprise world, and why my answer prices are seeking for product managers today. It’s not on the current state. would like to have such roll, it most happening occurs, they would like to have more product oriented mindset and product oriented approach. And now in my world product around that approach means result oriented approach. This is how I treat this personally. And these big enterprises, they actually used to behave in certain way using certain frameworks and patterns. And it’s worse, it used to be more project oriented when you have a timeline, when you have a budget that’s being allocated to a particular department. And this budget is allocated on the year in the Beasley is and whether you’re on this found that overspend that you’re in the bad situation. So you, you trying to be exactly all the number. So you’re most worried about these budgets and your plans for the next year in here. And yes, of course you do care About the business side and business objectives, but this is not exactly what’s driving what you’re doing within the department. And these days to be more competitive to be more aligned with your customers, with your clients with ant users, you can behave as he used to be with these budget allocation, you know, and plans and really being project oriented. You need to switch to the product mindset where you’re trying where you’re experimenting where your junior reads and amberly Deaton hypothesis when you’re trying to innovate. And basically, you’re trying to change Arison if not on daily or weekly basis than at least a monthly basis. And of course, that completely changes the framework and the way how you used to work. And when big organizations, big enterprises so looking at all of that they Oh yeah. So this time Basically this week, that means like a gentleman says mindset and product mindset. And in order to implement and support that product mindset, you always need product managers. And here where demand is coming from, from the market for such roles, and also where demand is coming from, for me AWS roles that are related to product development and production implementation. So, I would say product management is just the part that we see over here in terms of the growing demand, but really, it’s more requests for the transformation and it’s more more and more requests for these product lines had to be implemented to be adopted within a particular company.

Kima 51:54
So basically, the world is becoming more and more dynamic, of course, and more and more things are coming in. So basically, we need to To change your mindset to be more flexible in a way, right?

Iryna M 52:03
Absolutely and and so probably the main point to stay as close as we can be to the end users and to clients and to listen to their feedback and the work off that. This is probably thing number one to be successful today.

Vlad G 52:23
I agree with this. I agree with pretty much everything Iryna said, I’m not sure if I caught that that part. The product mindset approach is generally considered cheaper. And that’s why a lot of companies are looking at it and trying to implement it not cheaper, as in McDonald’s versus expensive restaurants, but cheaper in a way that you can get same amount of work for less or you can get more bang for your buck. So and that is actually true. It’s not something that you know, we pulled out of thin air, we actually seeing these types of successes, you know are in with our clients and the organizations I’ve used I’ve worked for before. There’s, there’s a definitely a benefit of product management approach, because of flexibility, because of the data driven decisions, or at least an attempt to make data driven decisions. Because of the new mentality or mindset, as we call it. How you approach solving the problem, you don’t just, you know, rush into the project. With a fixed budget, you’re you’re trying to spend money smarter, because there’s a pretty understandable lifecycle of a product, you send it up a product when it’s needed, how it’s needed, and then you continue supporting it as needed. So it’s all focused on business outcomes, not just, well, you know, we have $6 million, we need to spend it.

Kima 53:56

Vlad G 53:56
So there’s there’s that other aspect

Kima 53:59
interesting. Okay, thank you. Um, my next question is, what do you think are the three qualities for the good product manager?

Iryna M 54:11
It’s a good one

Vlad G 54:11
It’s interesting

Kima 54:13
I think there won’t be any people actually.

Unknown Speaker 54:18
Yeah, so you know, I don’t have a prepared for over here. I would say that good product managers do need to work quite a lot to unself skills, like communication skills, being flexible be to be able to serve as a servant leadership, be able to find to come to an agreement easily to with any person with any department and so on. So it actually comes back to the communication skills, and partial I know that it’s not usually treated as a soft skill, but you definitely need to be a good presenter or so together with their great speech that you are conducting union To be able to support that with nice images and presentations and tax, whatever is needed while you’re talking, so I would say, you know, there are a number of hard skills that you would need, but this is definitely important. And without that you will be successful product manager. Together with that, I was saying my next point, kind of connected, you need to be flexible. You’re really need to be able to listen to the people and understand their position, their opinion. And what’s even more important. If you feel if you hear something reasonable. And if you feel like this is the right thing, be able to change your opinion, your approach your mindset, whatever, based on the feedback and the input that you’re hurt. So really not to talk to you on the one right way because usually when you’re doing product development, there was no right way you’re and you’re just inventing ever since. And together we are in the bounce in since you need to be flexible. So I would say that’s, that’s point number two. And Point Number Number three, I would say that you still need to be educated in product management era and still have all of these known that you experience in hard skills and understanding what what is required from your role because, unfortunately, or from cases that we see over here, number of people have just been assigned with the role of product owner or being assigned to the position of Product Manager. But they really don’t know that they, for example, supposed to work with marketing. So still being educated in the field. I would say that that’s important as well. So this this, this is my verses that I just thought about right this moment.

Kima 56:59
Thank you. Yeah. Interesting. Okay, Vlad, anything?

Vlad G 57:01
That’s, that’s really cool because I have I think we only overlap on one.

Kima 57:08
Interesting, okay.

Vlad G 57:09
And this is good. This is good because because I don’t disagree with Irina’s perspective I may have, I may be calling things, similar things with different words. So let’s see how this how this will go. First and foremost, I, the one that overlaps with Irina, I just call it with a different word. I call it a storytelling. So it’s being a great communicator. Same way that Irina said is being able to get your point across and tell a good story is that whether it’s a story of a future product that you want to develop, and you need to convince your stakeholders or It’s a story of your success, or it’s a story of your failure, one of the most important parts of being a product manager is being a good storyteller because people aren’t going to listen to you. If you just keep telling them about, you know, this new brand new JavaScript framework that is absolutely amazing or this brand new AI algorithm that is just just going to solve the world hunger, nobody’s nobody’s that patient. But if you’re able to wrap it in a good story that immediately brings people to attention, and it immediately makes them interested in whatever it is you’re trying to do. And I think one of the major things that product managers do is they they’re champions of new products, or the champions of their existing products. And one of the goals is to increase adoption of your product. And that’s, that’s how you do it. You tell those stories. Now, the part where we start deviating a little bit. The next the next qualities that I think is really important is Product Manager is humble. And I keep regurgitating this thought that product management is a thankless job. If you did it. It’s a it’s a team effort. If you didn’t make it then it’s your personal fault. And that is where you know that Product Managers humble comes in. Yes, it is a team effort. You didn’t do it alone. And I’ve out of my career, I’ve never done anything alone. I always had help. From delivery from software developers from business analysts or subject matter experts. It’s never it’s never a solo game. It’s always a team effort. So it’s still true. And product manager needs to be humble in a way that they recognize and they they give credit, and they praise team members that help them achieve their goals. So in that sense, again, I think one of the most important parts of being Product Manager is being humble. Because if if you take away people’s credit, they’re not going to help you next time around. And it is it’s really real. If you’re not, if you’re not saying Hey, Kevin arena helped me record this podcast coming up that may never come back to me and I may never participate in another episode of this podcast. So there’s that And the third thing Which where we completely probably 90% away from the naming the same thing is product manager has to be curious and not educated, not necessarily educated, but curious to learn more and maybe it’s being the generalist of what is which is what I am in terms of product management, speaking but Product Manager always tries to learn new things as an example, again, I use personal examples because I can’t relate to them it’s easier. I I’ve studied 15 different things in the past week. They They range from a legal case management systems to pharmaceutical systems to logistic systems to oil and gas systems. Why because I think they’re these items. These knowledge points are the this information is relevant to understanding the current problems with the market. To help me do my job better, but also because I am, by nature curious, I want to know more about things that define the current world. And so when I come in and bring my expertise and experience to the company I work for or to a client of my company, they understand that I am actually bringing quality and a lot of expertise to the table. So in that says, my three items, being good communicator and storyteller, being humble and being curious. Yeah, those are my three.

Kima 1:01:34
Yeah, thanks a lot. That’s interesting. And, you know, while you guys were telling this, I was drawing a parallel was a business analyst. And I think that again, in terms of business analysis and product management, there might be differences, but of course, there are similarities and especially in the term in terms of, of the good ba qualities, they do believe that communication of course, is crucial. presentation skills, storytelling, yes. Sometimes you do need to, you know, to tell Stories. Don’t have curiosity as well. I do think that being has to be curious. And humble. I think that you have a lot. It’s interesting that you mentioned that because I think that BA is a serving role, right? Because you’re serving the customer, you’re serving the team. And this is a thing where overlap happens. So I think in general, yeah, thank you, guys. For these examples. It’s very interesting. I think that it’s has a lot in common with BA qualities.

Okay, I do have the last question, but I’m not sure if we have time for that.

Vlad G 1:02:30
Let’s, let’s do a lightning round. Let’s do let’s try to answer it really fast.

Kima 1:02:34
Okay. Irina, at some point of our conversation, you mentioned that it’s kind of the question is, when do you understand that it’s enough of communication, because for ba the communication is important. And sometimes you know, you want to have you want to make sure that it’s a lot of communication, but on the other hand, you do need time for your own things. So how do you understand that the the communication is sufficient that it’s enough

Iryna M 1:03:01
That’s actually a good question that I didn’t have a straight answer for. I feel like I think that it should be driven by your feeling only. And until you see that people are open to communicate with you more. And as long as you feel that you’re aligned with your stakeholders with business objectives, and you don’t have this feeling Oh, yeah, that conversation happened without me. So I’m liking the information. That should be enough. But you know, there’s no silver bullets, like two hours pretty good. I don’t think that there’s measure like that. I would say that on the productivity side, you definitely need to measure the number of sessions and communications of meetings that you’re participating in. versus if it’s eight hours a day, every day, that’s that that’s really going to be too much and most probably you’re going to be really tired. was a really short period of time. So enough is enough, as long as it does not stop you from doing your work. And as long as you feel aligned with all the people whom you’re talking to.

Kima 1:04:12
Thank you, Vlad. Anything to add here?

Vlad G 1:04:15
Yeah, I’m gonna try the lightning way. So it’s all in the schedule for me. And if if I need no, I need to get work done. And I’m being overwhelmed by meetings. It’s all about time management. So I’m going to try to schedule the work, I’m going to block my schedule to do the work. And this will naturally expand, it will naturally spread away spread out the meetings. So I don’t have eight meetings a day, which I had before in my previous life, and I didn’t have any time to work. And that’s how I learned the hard way to do this. So I was just I would just block out time on my calendar and make sure nobody puts a meetings there. And if if somebody tries to schedule over I will decline and said hey, I can’t I’m working on something or I have another meeting find another time. I i’m not i’m not a slave to your schedule. I am I am a manager of my own schedule. So that was for me. And that that basically, right you have to you have to be able to say no in any position is that, you know, not just product management thing, which we’ll probably explore in the next episode is is the ability to say no, but yeah, that’s that’s the way I do it.

Iryna M 1:05:26
Yeah, that’s a good one. You know, sometimes we go one of the managers so give me the advice. Don’t let people book your schedule, book, your schedule yourself with the people. But I think you need to be very real at the very high position in order to be able to do that and for product managers, unfortunately. So it’s not always working like that, especially in my case, but probably you guys.

Kima 1:05:51

Vlad G 1:05:52
scheduling is very important. discussion, definitely worth discussion because, yeah, this is a big topic time management as a whole. How to senior roles versum a middle level role. Yeah.

Kima 1:06:04
Yeah, thank you guys. Alright.

Vlad G 1:06:07
I think I think we’re out of time. Thank you both. This I think this went extremely well and this is really interesting. I hope it’ll reconnect and cover topics that we’ve missed. Yeah. Thank you. Kima Thank you. Reena. It was a pleasure having you on this episode.

Kima 1:06:22
Thank you guys.

Iryna M 1:06:24
They have the same here. Thank you for inviting me and hope to talk to her again.

Kima 1:06:30
Yeah, see, stay safe, take care.

Iryna M 1:06:32
Work remotely!

Vlad G 1:06:41
You’ve been listening to the real world’s product management and I’ll be your host Vlad Grubman. Until next time,

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