Real World Product Management – Episode 10

Irina and I are talking to Nikolai, a design lead with a lot of experience working with various products in healthcare and finance. We talk about the examples of when making something happen isn’t as easy as it seems, having education as a prerequisite for a Product Management role and a few more things.

Transcript (courtesy of Otter.AI)

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

Hello everyone. This is another episode of the real world product management podcast and we have Nico he solid line here today with Irina. Akiko I can you please go ahead and introduce yourself?

Nikolai 0:26
Hi Ron. I’m Nikolai Chesalin and thank you for invitation, I work at EPAM as a systems designer, but my actual role more like a product architect, and today I want to share with you some insights from my experience. During the time of my career, in napalm and before working on different product products, I will cover some insights from mobile applications for Like fitness tracker and like application, healthcare application, a lot of products related to financial industry and some innovative things that we build the inside the EPM system.

Vlad G 1:16
Cool. If you don’t mind me asking, Can you start with healthcare because I think this is one of the more relevant of things that we all care about right now, given the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. So talk to me about your healthcare related products. What did you do? How did you do it? What were the challenges? It was very interesting experience. It’s one of my favorite products I’ve been working so far. It was a mobile client for the large healthcare institution in New York,

Nikolai 1:52
probably one of the largest Cancer Center in New York, and they had a problem. Actually, I will describe to produce We’ll start from the mobile, but it was like an open door for another one. So they struggled with the situation they have. They had like a portal, tons of clients, tons of users. But they realized that people don’t use features that they had as a product. And furthermore, they need to push more data and make sure that people gain this data at that moment for them was crucial to make sure that they will have like remote experience like when you check in with the doctor, check your prescriptions, etc, etc. Today with all the entire situation of current team, it’s it’s become essential, but that that moment, it was like six or seven years ago, it was kind of a new thing. And I just want to give you some Overview period of that time healthkit wasn’t introduced by Apple yet. Think that we use them that product for checking real insights from end users like testflight wasn’t bought by Apple. So a lot of things that today is the standard. They were completely new. And it was interesting, but we had problems like every single day, even everything was like, designed properly, I would say appropriately. We had a standard, good process of cooperation, etc, etc. we resolve new issues almost every day why it’s happening. And this is probably one of the reasons why I don’t believe any senior specialist can say hey, and very senior I will be able to ideate and bring product to life without any serious problems. I don’t believe to this because if you deal with more or less in your thing, you have a lot of data. And you don’t control the data and correlations around this data. And as a result, you have a number of issues, for example, how you can handle different business logic around things. And it’s not only how to find the proper way to handle the things. It’s also always how to do this on a computer level coding, designing, etc, etc. but also on the business layer, how people transform or interpreted different rules. So let’s say we have an exception that this temperature way far away. Bob normal, the the regular program say, hey, he had 200 degrees temperature, what’s the problem? It’s not a division by zero, I can show it, no problem at all. For doctors, obviously something wrong, it’s kind of impossible, almost impossible situation. And for the business, I mean for people who are running this institution, it’s even bigger problem because they have a number of obligations, legal things, etc etc. And as you can see, very small thing can

I can trigger a much bigger amount of work just to resolve a simple situation with validation of one single parameter. Obviously, not everything so bad as this one. But this is a typical situation where you need to find a quick solution. How to deal with this on all layer. And I can say that it’s it’s the case in many situations, but it happens very often. And in reality, what I believe when people say, Hey, I don’t know all recipes for all kinds of situations, but I haven’t experienced how to dealing with them. Product Management as many correlated areas like user experience, for example. Very interesting can the same time very difficult areas because when you come to interview in any organization, expectation, on the other hand, that you already have some serious experience, and most questions, they came, hey, Okay, tell me about your experience dealing with this thing. And you can have a perfect indication Good, good score in your diploma but practical experience. It’s something that is essential. And these type of things back to my example of the healthcare, healthcare application. It’s very interesting how people who work on a product, try to observe it from different angles. And here it’s very important, I believe, to establish governments of resolving all kinds of questions or discussions at some point. Because if you don’t have established governance, of running processes, or even some meetings, eventually you will came to the chaos or just stronger voice will win all the time. So this is a kind of experience. I’ve got working on that Healthcare application, make sure that you have a governance, don’t be afraid of problems. And we had a problems like everyday. And I’m talking about just things related directly to the product. technical issues a separate topic, which is also interesting, but not a part of this conversation.

Vlad G 8:23
Right? So you’re saying you had a product design problems around this product? Or were they more around agreeing to what the design decisions would be or agreeing what the product decisions would be? Give me like a couple of examples of what these problems

Nikolai 8:40
Okay, a couple more examples. For example, when you have a results, and let’s say, you have a, your cardio results, right, EKG results, and this was a part of that product that you have Big. It’s not only about the product decision, it’s also about details of the product decision. And let’s say on a very high level, somebody says, Hey, we want to provide some overview of AKG to our clients to our patients. No problem. Can you do this a mobile application? Yes. And this is a kind of a high level decision. In reality, when you want to make sure that it will be feasible in the product, you need to go much deeper. And when you go deeper, you realize what kind of problems you have, for example, what kind of definitions you need to provide, to make sure that you’re okay that you are in compliance with the standards that you like. text messages like please, this is just for you and your doctor, security things how you can deliver This thing. And when you start going deeper, it’s important to understand your border border so that you don’t want to go too deep. Otherwise, you will be just working on one perfect feature of the product that will never be able to release. And for me, it’s about balance, how you can deal with it. Let’s continue with this example. So I want to have AKG in my mobile application. Good. We have some sketches, designs, workflows. What are the typical workflow for the user? As I mentioned before, we even had a chance to run like early test tests. So we use a test flight. So we have a small group of adopters, so alpha testers, of applications, so the good thing that we were able to gain Feedback very quickly, but run after that we realized them you when you deal with the data, you need to have more than just a group of 100 people. And this is a one of the important takeaways. Then when you work on the product with the data you need to GM and defy common rules and validate validate more or less common theories, because it’s not always good when Oh 100 people say that works perfectly. What what happened with another 100 or another 1000 and here we are, slowly but surely jumping in the area of the scalability of the product. And this is a problem. I believe that many applications many products facing when the starting on some Most small small use case and rapidly grow. And here it’s important to understand the difference between scaling in terms of base of users and scale in terms of data that running through the product. And how this data will affect results that we see through the product.

Vlad G 12:25
I think I’m sorry to interrupt, I think you’re you’re actually distinguishing two different things. One is the actual scalability, scalability as we will understand it, and the other one is scalability of adoption. So the more people adopt it, yeah,

Nikolai 12:42
exactly. Sorry for a computer probably. And this is the will the perfect example, what kind of problems you will have, because I believe a lot of people who are dealing with a product so on different stages, they have a situation okay? We pass all our the checks create testing, positive feedback from initial wave of users. But when we can predict something, and, again, life science or healthcare products, for me means a lot of data and a lot of regulations. And we have similar areas like geolocation. It’s not something that is very restricted, but very similar problems. When you bring product to the life, and even initial feedback from relatively large group of positive, just in couple weeks, you can have tons of negative things. Because once you have the bigger thresholds of active users, results and feedback can be completely different. And I just want to give you a couple of well known examples that are related to my situation with health Application good Apple Maps, the initial intro, introduction of Apple Maps, it was something like big revolution and initial users, they the results of the initial test focus groups, etc, etc. was super positive. People were very optimistic. But we should remember that the most of these test users they were from Bay Area and berry initially in FMS were very good. But when people start using this apple map on a regular basis, just in couple weeks, a number of negative feedbacks, it was outrageous. The same situation we potentially could have with any application, especially if life science, when we be very cautious how we define the process, how we define the future, what helps and not us.

Not going to tell only negative or very scary things about being involved in product development. It’s how you can call our significant amount of negative scenarios. And there are a number of checklists, the best practices what you can do in a specific domain areas. And this is where the the statement I’m booting this domain area matters. So when you become when you real subject matter expert, or you know, good people who can help you with this. This is a crucial moment where you need to connect this people.

Vlad G 15:48
Yeah, I kind of agree with that because a lot of times people think that it’s easy to figure things out and a lot of times they think they know, but they don’t And as a specific person who built if you healthcare products myself, I can totally relate as a matter of fact, I’m actually curious. I was curious to hear your your experience in the European Union. Because in my back of my day when I was building health care products, we had two separate UT teams won, the team was strictly focused on health, health related data to make sure we’re not having patients waiting 17 grams or, like in your example temperature of 200 degrees. So that data makes clinical sense. And the other UT team was a focus on user experience. So they didn’t care if the temperature was whatever or the weight was, whatever. All they cared about is that it shows up in proper places with proper notation with proper labels so that when doctor is used to seeing temperature in you know, I don’t know, top right corner always it’s Suddenly moved to be swapped with a pressure blood pressure in a, you know, bottom left corner so that if he’s looking and it’s, you know, it’s those things that are really important to people are out there, they’re out there, they’re truly users, they’re not going to give you ideas about how to make things, right, because they that’s not where the mind is. And it was really interesting to hear how you guys handled it.

Nikolai 17:28
Yeah, and just to summarize, I want to go through the different layers of my particular case. So our audience can imagine what could happen with a particular case in vape products. So as I mentioned, EKG from technical perspective, good data, draw the illustration, couple nice functions. That’s it. Let’s try to look at this all from the product perspective and your responsibilities as a product. Manager what you do? What kind of question you ask, do we have enough data to really be able to provide the data or the things how people will be able to read this data and more important questions, what it gives to our end users, what kind of failure what kind of cost of operation for us is the owner of the product that will be how popular we think. And all of this question is related to a specific area, like marketing, financial analysis, etc, etc. So the same thing, but it could be relatively easy from technical perspective. And from the product perspective, it become as a separate I can say like a separate discipline, but here even one feature could be extremely complex. When you observe this feature from the product perspective. And of course, when it’s quite complicated chances that you will fail, at least in the beginning, extremely high. So

Vlad G 19:12
let me let me interject here and ask you this question. Because I think I think it’s an interesting thing to understand. And it’s not a tricky question. It’s really about your experience from the previous some of the previous episodes, we’ve talked about the data driven design data driven decisions, or even you know, product managers got feeling from your experience, only that we all agree that you know, doing things by the book is not always the best way to do things. What is the way to make decisions about building features in the product or about ability products, like if I like this example, because you’re talking about features that sound easy for so if you do burn ization based on how easy it is versus how much value it is it probably would be it would be picked up. But you’re saying there might be, you know, dangerous, dangerous waters up ahead if you do that. So from your experience, how would you decide? And I deliberately say decide not prioritize? How do you decide what to build and when to build it?

Nikolai 20:19
And I want to kind of divide my arms for my personal opinion and reality because I believe for our audience, it’s interesting, not just one or two opinions, but like some statistics from the reality from our experience working for different large companies. So from my experience, I will go like 80 2080 based on the facts, like data analysis, marketing analysis, some research, deeper search results, probably user’s cognitive results, etc, etc. I still keep some room for for the, for the hatch. So what my guests tells me based off of working in a specific industry, or dealing with things, because I’m, I always remind myself when we build product, it’s always more than just set of features. When I build products that for a huge group of people, it’s important to keep in mind that you need you need to build a conversation and community around this rather, if you will not be focused on this and will be focused only on the features. You have a great chance of that you fail here, because product could be good done by the book, but nobody will use it and we know these examples from from the world and we know also some examples in our company, then one product become more Popular than another one. And it’s relative. So my, my personal opinion 8020 and 80. It’s like cold analysis and data, and 20 just emotions. It’s more like your gut feeling, what will work and what will not do? So this is the first part of my answer. Second part of my answer reality. In reality, you can come up with the perfect justification of the decision. Why is this feature should work, but it’s important to understand what is your weight? And what are the who are the players on the table? who make the decision? Is it another single ultimate person who made the final decision, or it’s a kind of a conglomerate of people who put the like a number After that you have kind of a process, the threshold of voting should you go with this feature or not? And fortunately, and unfortunately, in many cases, the ultimate voice is ultimate decision is based not on your scientific research or even on a hunch of the previous 2015 years of experience, but it’s based on something that completely irrelevant to this product for some company strategy, or some personal preferences, and that is why we can see some unexpected things in the product and verify often we see them big companies and not only big companies. They fail with the obvious things. Because

even if I will not work in the product management area, I will ask why they done this. They are smart people. This is a reason why it happens. And we can observe these every single day, when we ask ourselves why they crave this interface in the car like this, or why they put this an application or why they eliminate this feature. Very common, what we can observe when people decided when management decided to remove some features, and then return this features. This is exactly how it happens. It’s not about numbers, small table, different opinions and just somebody have a bigger, bigger voice than yours. That is why it’s very important when you do a product management or do a user experience, design or redesign of the product. It’s important To have a support or at least understand preferences of the people who made the decision. And you need to understand this preference not to try to adjust to this preferences, but just to keep in reality, what will definitely not go all how you can provide your justifications, not just things by book, but taking the current reality of management.

Iryna M 25:33
So let me jump in over here and start asking slightly different questions in your world, and in your experience, you know, we kind of really started talking about that, but still, you know, looking back at your experience that you’ve got, in how many physicians and how many different companies, engagements clients, so whomever you worked with, you actually had the chance to meet a decision on the particular parameters in the role of Product Manager. And in how many of those positions you actually will resume to ensure that you’re orchestrating or making sure that the decision has been made. But then there is some big bodies sitting at the table who are making the final call. I guess at least one of their discussion points that we heard here earlier, is really product manager who should decide on versus and is it actually happening, especially enterprise world, when somebody in their own product manager can decide on the pirates? So looking back at your experience, How was it for

Nikolai 26:40
you? Uh, um, for my personal experience, I would say that I was quite lucky in terms of more number of positive decisions. So a number of good products good, I mean, useful products that bring good good value for end users. bring money for the Creator. So of his products were built. I will try to answer this way. If we’re talking about smaller organizations, small companies. It’s it depends on another small companies as a matter of fact, it’s very depends on engineering and culture in general inside the company. So some organizations, huge financial institutions, they have a rule that every single voice should be heard. It’s not always good, but at least you know this rules. And in this case, of course, they also have ultimate voice, in this case, ultimate voice make a decision based on some good estimations, the opposite to this. I have relatively small number of cases, when people even I mean product People even didn’t try to do some proper things by the book, because they were aware that management do what they think they should do. A management said that we have smartest people in the room, I would say, based on my experience, and it’s more than 15 years in industry, and a couple dozen giant clients and the same amount of smaller, I would say 20% it was about making decisions by management without any consideration of product people. Yeah, it’s quite sad but not so worth statistics. And for for the rest amount of cases. It was relatively fair decisions, but these decisions were by the Choose already good enough options. And they made the decisions based on some higher interest. But again, important point here that they made this decision by, and they choose the solution from already good enough least.

Iryna M 29:15
So I guess what you’re saying here that about in the, in about 80% of the cases, pro the people has brother people have the power to make the decisions and to kind of dictate the purchase or define the next Captain song.

Unknown Speaker 29:31
Yeah. And it’s important to understand that even if you think, Oh, I’m just a regular Product Manager, and I have a manager and that manager has another managers, we need to understand that this triangle or moving from data to wisdom, right, if you put your best effort to make sure that your results clear enough understanding on a higher level, and by the way, this is another very powerful Don’t think why many things are fail, that very bright people, they just can’t communicate on the level that higher the people stands on a higher level in the hierarchy of the organization. They simply couldn’t understood what people say. So if every single product related person will do his job on the best possible way, even if he can see this, this moment, here, he intentionally or unintentionally effects on the final, final decision for the product. Even even if you think all I told them, this feature should fly. And after a number of meetings, his manager tell him your feature will not fly but you’ve done a great job. What the hell does this mean? Potentially it means that somebody just didn’t like your solution, but I was I was able to observe a number of cases when solution was so good enough that management decided to put this as a additional killer feature in the next major release of the product to make sure this great feature will bring not only satisfaction to the clients but will be good thing for money wise

Iryna M 31:32
and probably will really last one here for me, do you think that that that would have freedom would depend on the domain on the particular area on the particular company as your business that we are talking about because, as you said, you know, you’ve been working with quite a number of different clients and companies, our products And I’m just wondering if you ever had a chance kind of to sit back and compare those and see how are the managers and they are free though and where they’re allowed and not allowed to do is somehow differ from industry to industry? Oh, yeah.

Nikolai 32:21
It’s funny that you mentioned this thing. Just recently, I tried to compare again cultural perspective and cultural traditions in different companies, some of them our clients, some of them not, but I try to put the different organizations in the clusters, where product development, culture is high enough, developed enough to, to deal with this, but in some organizations, this Culture is exists, but it has a different interface. And this is why I started from the data point, the data driven products very standard thing from one perspective, but very few people don’t really understand that it works in both directions. I mean like on the product side, a non engineer can you can easily focus on the product features, but continue your conversation on the data development language with the people who are involved. So, I will try to say that

I will try to provide a couple examples. In some organizations, you have a right to say, Boy, I want to continue to work with the features and you can face higher decision Just the decision of your colleagues. That way, we don’t want to go with this feature. And you can always have a choice. I don’t want to work on this. I want to switch team or I okay. I disagree with you. But I commit and this thing like disagree and commit is very crucial and important to make sure that our organization will continue to work efficiently. From my experience, the number of fail, where because people disagree, they didn’t commit and they feel they felt like a personal failure that they suggestion of the features where they stay on a shelf on the table and didn’t move to the product. This is not like In one case, this is not only the case when it happens. But this is very often case, when people when the results of this simple business decision, probably not very fair business decision was the trigger for problems with the product development.

Vlad G 35:25
Okay, thank you. That was that was interesting. So I want to move on a little bit, because we seem to have stuck stuck on just one example of healthcare. Let’s Let’s go with finance. Yes.

Unknown Speaker 35:38
I want to talk in this case, just briefly about the example and you tell me Is it good enough about the application that was very interesting for me. The application was like a core core component of very huge private investment company, which is also based in New York, and may Other major cities. And the intention was we just want to do a lift and shift. And this was a kind of a moment of an add No. charisma stupidity. When I was able to say to the Senior Director of this company, well, of course we can do this, we are professionals. But this is the wrong direction. You will spend another X amount of money, you’ll have lift and shift of your product, but you don’t solve any problems. And somehow I was able to convince the senior person from the client side that we need to spend some time on the discovery. And here’s the problem when you can lead somebody, especially on the client side, that you can provide something better than it was before, you really need to do this. Because one of the assumptions that wherever consulting firm wherever product managers will come to us. It will not help us significant because we know better how to do this. And partially it’s right. If we’re talking about financial institution, obviously, you will not be able to understand financial market better than they are until you’re on the same level of understanding, but you need to find the framework, how you convince people on that side, to provide you a chance to prove that your process can bring some value. So this is what was done by me and my team. We explained that instead of trying to do like lift and shift on a very huge application, I believe it was more like Couple hundreds of cream, we need to understand like essence of the process to understand your users and what they actually use. And in the end, it was very elegant tablet ready web application. In total, it was like six or seven screens, imagine a couple hundred screens. And after that, like just a couple less than 10 screens.

Nikolai 38:30
And the funny thing that people were really happy because now learning curve is so small. Yes, we eliminate some functionality that most people didn’t use, and it wasn’t essential, but it was a kind of a happy story from one and now I will tell you like the real deal will be extremely hard work and it’s not something quite high. We’ve done a great analysis. And we made the magic. The Magic was like hard work and the hard work that every single day I need, I had to fight for another day. Every single day, I had to fight to have an opportunity to continue work on the thing. So for the first two weeks, I literally had to fight to be able to continue work on this product for another day. After the first couple of weeks. I need to fight less often a couple times a week. But still, the pressure was so high that it’s still one of my most difficult projects and corresponding products for me, because the pressure was on the top level. People didn’t believe to me that it could possibly happen till the very end I will say even till the first couple months of production, use of the product. A significant amount of positive feedback. So they didn’t read me I’m sorry, throughout, I just want to understand this, what the struggle was the struggle was that they did not believe that you will be able to build better solution provided what they had. They just wanted to replace it with something more modern, not not just that they didn’t believe that it will be possible. For them, it was like a pure adventure, that they spend some amount of money because they point was to prove that I’m wrong, and they don’t need to apply the same principles. Father,

Vlad G 40:39
what was your what works or what were your winning arguments?

Unknown Speaker 40:45
My winning arguments was I don’t have a silver bullet. I don’t believe it. But we have some good recipes that we can have long hanging fruits and as a result, or we Hearts of the end users. And to show other opportunities, I didn’t promise them that will solve all kinds of problems that they have. I just promised to them that we’ll be able to help in a specific area. And I try to be very not pessimistic, but my prognosis was like, hey, and my play game was you need to spend X amount of money not to solve all your problems, but this will improve your situation here and there. But we will use not like lift and shift which will be just a little bit cheaper that I need to help you. But it will open for us opportunity to go deeper to more essential problems that you have. So my point that my fight was for small when the fight was for a bigger And the fight was against mine. And invented sounds like wow, you build a product that people really appreciate. And as a matter of fact, this company’s still our client. And as far as I know, they just recently asked it ditional help for other products. But it was a crucial moment how us can survive. It was like three months of non stop work day by day. So in the end, when we very often listen, oh, successful story. behind any successful story, there is a number of small alleged failures. And this is reality. My takeaway from here for our audience, that even if you need to fail a number of times during the day but it’s still aligned with your strategy, and you don’t have Red flag that you need to stop, you need to continue. And you need to continue to work harder on the things because very often when we see a night white papers, videos, oh, it was so cool project we came, we see the problem was solve it and we bring like 20% of savings. That means that most likely not often, but most likely people try to solve a bigger problem and potentially they spend much more money. This savings will help you in the next five to seven years. So it’s important to check the reality and understand what was really done and how difficult it was. So my point there is almost no quick and simple wins. In product management. I

Vlad G 43:56
would I would actually prefer that as someone who’ve been fighting these battles daily. Most of my time being the product manager, I can totally relate to that. One more thing that I wanted to kind of stress and that would be my next question for you is, you got to have a certain level of skill and certain level of chops, if you will, to be able to fight these battles to be able to fight these battles every day. And to me, I mean, you’ve been around a number of years, I’ve been around a number of years in a production world, we kind of take it for granted. But what I’m seeing in a lot of cases are people who think they need to read a couple of books or you know, get an MBA, that’s my personal pet peeve. And they’re golden. They they can go and do product management in the mosque. So what is your take on that? What do you think they lacking or what do you think is needed? And Irina, if you have anything to add, feel free to chime in? So yeah,

Unknown Speaker 44:58
let’s move This way to have an MBA is definitely a plus. And it’s, I want to be very, very specific here. Any good education is definitely plus intelligent person always can utilize this experience, this experience in education, or let’s say you’ve finished a number of certificate programs is good, you gain something new. But it’s important, how much of this knowledge you can apply in reality in the situation, because you can have all knowledge and you basically can stand freeze, and not doing anything at all. And this is how we differentiate one group group of let’s see product managers who can act right now and another group of products managers who don’t have or they also could have my point, have education is not a bad thing. It’s not a guarantee that you can solve real problems. So in terms of the like, what I recommend to do, again, it depends where you are in your career paths right now, if you already have some experience, let’s say in engineering, or marketing, and for some reason, you said, Oh, I want to be a product manager. I saw that cool video on Netflix. I want to be like that guy. It’s a good inspirational point. But definitely you need to go A to Z at least couple times. And you need to be ready that you fail a number of times before you will be able to do something that will bring you success satisfaction. Oh, I am a very successful product manager. I’ve done this and that. This is why many companies who hire interns of fresh gradiated even like position intern for a product manager position, they understand this, and in many cases, and they provide for you some work that will be useful for them fresh blood, new fresh ideas. But then at the same time, I don’t believe that any products manager who has enough weight in organization will put his take on a person who could be extremely bright, but didn’t done this before. At least some amount the number of times, of course, he will take in consideration his experience. But product management, it’s an area when you need to have some statistics, not just because people think that you’re not smart enough, just to make sure that your decisions are not just based on academics, and they based on a real production experience. Again, tricky point and mechanics. Very, very thin border here. It’s how you transform things. And I will try to provide a couple examples here. Or I need to build a need to provide a new product to have new users for this and that and you start building amazing products. You do a lot of research. Just like you started in a good university of yours, and everything by good and if you look from the first side, you see Huh, not bad. It’s actually great plan, but it will work. First if you have enough budget if you don’t have a problem. And that’s it. It’s like comparing pilots of airplanes. One, if you don’t have enough hours, you can be bright. You can have all skill, all essential foundational skills, all knowledge. But before you pass like golden amount of hours, people will not be able to believe that not just believe they will never give you a airplane was 500 passengers. And they will tell you now you’re responsible for this. And the same situation here. If we’re talking about small student project, why not? Yes, of course. If we’re talking about Product project and corresponding product with a huge budget and potential effect for entire organization. This is exactly the situation when you don’t have a second chance. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 50:14
I just wanted to really quickly to chime in over here. So lots coming back to a question about the education rating and NBA for product managers. Being the hiring manager for both for product manager or small company, I can tell that we didn’t reach out to any single person because he or she didn’t have an appropriate dedication. And NB definitely applause but this is this is so doesn’t give your sign that this candidate will do better than anybody else. If part of that we were doing research, whether there were assist tender certification of tender education that you can take product managers similar for like BMI, for example. managers, for example, that would be recognized all over the world and that guarantee that you kind of token to the person who knows what the product management is about. And unfortunately, this research didn’t take us to the conclusion didn’t take us to the physician when we found one certification or one program that would give you this recognition as their world wild Product Manager. So with that, I would say that education and the right education is definitely a plus but still a practical experience and the records that you have experience of launching products would matter much more during the interview during the hiring process comparing to the education itself. So MBA, yes, if you can do that. But if you think that MBA will take you to the great product manager position than now on Fortunately, this is not true.

Vlad G 52:01
Yeah, I agree with that. Now that I’ve asked this question, I probably should provide some some sort of response to that as well. Since you both have chimed in. Personally, I can say I don’t believe in the education but i believe i believe more in a practical experience. So practical experience in my book wins, wins over a day and night over just having even the really good education. And I agree, any good education is good. I need education. That’s good, but nothing beats practical experience and in my book,

Nikolai 52:34
and I just won’t put that there are common again, as a practical takeaway from this conversation for the people who listen us or will read us that there are some good recipes that helps like popular communities that bring attention have successful product managers are people who somehow affect product growth, product creation and creation, growth, etc, etc, everything related to the product, it helps, because in this case, you don’t need to run your own products, like a number of products and you still can gain insights from the people or like from the practical experience, it’s one useful thing. Another useful thing, it’s like, not a single book, but to keep kind of your your own. Your own. I don’t know Bible or navigation guide, what what you’re looking for afterwards. So for example, when I work for specific industries, three or four specific products, I always have like, hey, these top 10 guys are these top two firms. For some reason I think that they are leaders like real rhythms in this area, it doesn’t mean that they do everything correct. But at least reality check with them is a good starting point for validation any of your ideas, if that makes sense.

Vlad G 54:15
Just for the record, we’re almost at the time. So I want to start wrapping up. And as one of my regular questions, I’m going to skip one because we’re all working from home. One of my regular questions is how does it feel to work from home? We’ve been doing this for quite a while. So I don’t think that that is big anymore. But the other one is, again, it’s a regular question I asked every time on my podcast. Do you have any questions for Irina or myself? kind of turn the tables around let you ask questions instead of answering them.

Nikolai 54:51
Oh, I will be happy if we can extend your podcast to some kind of a workshop and bring questions from, from the audience, or do follow ups that way we’ll do that. Eventually, when we have enough questions, we actually did one of the episodes we did only around the questions from the audience. So that the next one might be in order. So this one is just for you. If you have anything to ask what is your favorite? What is your favorite trailer from your experience? Like quick example, in Tableau in couple sentences.

Vlad G 55:31
It was over engineered solution for and yet another manager for our clients of our product. So we had a product was a community around the product. And we thought about building yet another medicine messenger as both of the channel for critical alerts and marketing messages fail gloriously because nobody needs another messenger.

Nikolai 55:57
And what was your takeaway from that? imaging.

Vlad G 56:02
My personal takeaway was, it’s good to experiment because we spent two weeks of part time work and the problem about $50 on this experiment, instead of spending several months and if you thousands of dollars, thousands of dollars on building the prototype that we wanted to build. Cool.

Unknown Speaker 56:26
And I have a quick question for Irina as well. What drives you to keep running? Because we work for the same company. I am familiar that Rena is doing amazing job not just as a practical, professional, but also as a very proactive person in a product management community and what drives you to work in this area.

Iryna M 56:57
Spreading the knowledge, maybe They’re making Product Manager, product managers and product management as a true real discipline and practice. You know, I, I started this as a developer myself, I moved to business analysis, and now I’m in product management. And people tend to think that when they’re in product manager position, they can just sit back, relax and do nothing. So they are seeking that as a goal to dream over their career paths. And to me, I would like people to know what are the trade offs of this profession to know what the real product management is about? And that’s one of the reasons why we’re doing this podcast and probably, even if it correlates with the name of this podcast, and I would like to have more experienced and more skilled product managers Iran myself in order to learn from them, and not just for the knowledge and indicate them so yeah, we all would like to grow. So we all would like to learn new things, educate ourselves and having the right people around is basically the easiest way to do that in my mind.

Nikolai 58:23
Amazing, thank you!

Vlad G 58:26
Right, thanks, everybody. It’s been really great conversation. And we’re right at the time first, best six or seven episodes. So I don’t think we should be watching that closely anymore. So Nikolai, thank you very much for being our guest on the podcast.

Nikolai 58:42
Thank you for the invitation. It was a real pleasure. And I’m looking to join your big events, with workshops and our audience full of questions.

Vlad G 58:55
Hopefully, we’ll get there. Irina, thank you so much for helping me with this episode. Really. appreciate your being here.

Iryna M 59:02
Thank you and talk to you next time guys.

Vlad G 59:05
All right, thank you guys and talk to you soon. You’ve been listening to the real world product management and I’ve been your host Vlad Grubman. Until next time