Beware of false precision

dilbert -model

Human beings crave certainty and in the world of product management it translates to “estimates of value”. Product managers have to make tradeoffs regularly on what initiates to work out next. At a certain stage of the company the need for “formal estimates of the value of doing X” will kick in, otherwise, how do you know to work on X or Y? There will be an overwhelming desire to quantify everything to the nth detail before deciding what to do next. We all know the dangers of that – If you torture excel enough you will get the answer you want. Use of a complicated bottom-up model in the early stages of a product’s evolution is a huge warning sign for me.

How to counter this?

Continue reading “Beware of false precision”

Magic and Fintech – a thought experiment

A thought experiment on the sort of fintech experiences and products we’d want as consumers in the distant (or near) future. The thought process is structured as a conversation between an older father and an adult son. Italics is the dad.

So son, hows your financial life going? Everything under control?

Oh, Fiona’s got it all covered.

Whats Fiona?

Continue reading “Magic and Fintech – a thought experiment”

Investment products are counter-intutive| do conventional engagement metrics matter?

Product engagement is a hot topic. As a product person, you are always looking for the quantifiable metrics that indicate that your product is solving your user’s problem and that you are on your way to product market fit.

The conventional metrics for product market fit usually sound like the below with the trend line going up and to the right

  • User engagement measured by DAU MAU
  • Time spent on your product (Session time)
  • Core loop (# of times your core customer value transaction is executed)

An area which I’m deeply interested in is – do these same metrics hold true when we are dealing with anything related with money? Our relationship with money is very complicated. In silicon valley we see everything as a technology problem, is that true with money? is the success of digital products that deal with money more of a behavioral finance problem than a technology problem?
Continue reading “Investment products are counter-intutive| do conventional engagement metrics matter?”

Idea killers, how to bounce back

whats-happening-here-concerns-me-enormously

A key skill in my opinion as a product person is to identify “idea de-railers”. Idea de-railers are specific phrases used to block ideas from going further. Once you can identify this pattern, it’s much easier to plan around it, and as leaders attack it head-on. Below follow some choice de-railers from my collection.

Obvious disclaimer, Yes product managers should be empathetic, yes everybody in the company is driving towards the same thing so idea-derailers seems a bit harsh of a characterization, yes this is not ideal company culture, yes yes yes. However, reality is an approximation of the ideal, it always helps to understand human behavior (good and bad) and have a plan to tackle. These are just techniques that have been useful to me 🙂  Continue reading “Idea killers, how to bounce back”

Practical tips for accountability in product teams

Accountability is a fascinating topic. The textbook definition is “the quality or state of being accountableespecially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions”. While a lot has been written about individuals, I’ve found in my experience, the actual mechanics of how to think about team accountability for product teams, pretty lacking. This post is an attempt to describe the framework that has been useful for me. A few of these tips are borrowed from the great executives I’ve had the pleasure to work with and a few are homegrown. Hopefully, this helps somebody who is just starting out or well into their manager/team leader journey.

Continue reading “Practical tips for accountability in product teams”