Pradip Khakhar is the founder of The Product Angle, a company that helps companies bring product thinking into their organizations to build products that people want to use and buy and enabling the next generation of product people.
Pradip started his career as an engineer and has since held multiple roles. After spending years working on the other side, Pradip understands and values the cross-collaboration of building products. Awesome products are built by awesome teams working together.
On and off Pradip has been building products since 2003. As Pradip progressed in his career he realized the importance of soft skills. Soft skills such as influencing, persuading, negotiating, saying no, managing conflict while building trust within your team.
Pradip noticed product managers negotiate every day and with multiple stakeholders across the company. However, almost no product management training program offers any negotiation training. This is why he created our first workshop call Practical Negotiations to enable product managers to level up their negotiation and stakeholder management skills.
You can connect and follow Pradip’s work online in many ways.
Pradip writes a blog over at The Product Angle for aspiring and junior Product People. he aim’s to answer your burning questions.
Pradip hosts a podcast called The Product Angle Show where he talks to product people as they share their insights on product, growth, and working with people.
You can also find The Product Angle Show on YouTube if that’s your Jam. Consider subscribing and sharing if you find it valuable.
Pradip’s writes a newsletter where he explores building a products that people want to use and buy and accelerating your product career. Get actionable insights from my learnings delivered to your inbox (which is also Pradip’s personal website).
Product Management has exploded in popularity over the last few years. When considering if a career in product management is for you, think about the below three things.
Understand why you want to be a product manager?
The role of a product manager can often be a thankless job. In reality, the job isn’t glamorous, you don’t own anything and stakeholders do not report to you.
If you enjoy solving your user’s and team problems, driving business growth, crafting exceptional experiences, and working in teams, a career as a PM might be for you.
On the other hand, if you like to work alone, need to always be right, hate emails and meetings you might want to do some more research into the product management craft
Understand your strengths, weaknesses, and what you want to do. Importantly understand your unique why.
While there are similarities between the skills needed to be a product manager, however, knowledge of the domain plays a part as well.
For example, a product manager in the video streaming business will have some similarities and some differences to a product manager for a healthcare SaaS product.
In particular the product manager at a healthcare SaaS product will need to be aware of healthcare rules and regulations such as HIPAA and will likely work closely with the legal team. Whereas the video streaming product manager likely will not need this knowledge.
2. Ship regularly and understand tradeoff’s
Building products is extremely difficult and nuanced. You’ll be pushed and pulled in many directions. What will you do if the sales team needs additional features to the product in the next version to close a huge multi-million deal?
Or while talking to customers and prospects you see some trends that the team has not accounted for and may impact your strategy and roadmap?
Not only will you need to set the vision and strategy for the product, you’ll also need to get buy-in from stakeholders. You’ll need to ruthlessly prioritize and sequence, as you execute and get your product in your user’s hands.
Remember progress over perfection. Shipping small iterations regularly allows you to gather feedback from real user’s.
3. Build your soft skills to communicate, collaborate, and negotiate effectively
Products that people want to use and buy are built by exceptional cross-functional teams. As a product manager, on a daily basis you’ll be communicating with multiple stakeholders.
You will need to lead with influence (not authority) and build relationships and alignment. Some say half the role of product managers is to communicate.
Be comfortable with talking to customers and prospects. Learn to make them feel comfortable and ask questions that get them to open up and give you valuable insights and feedback. Share this information with as many people as you can internally.
For additional tips and skills read 10 Product Management Skills to practice.