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Captaining the Boat : What I Have Learnt From Two Years as a Product Manager

In the fast-paced landscape of fintech and startup ecosystems, product managers serve as the captains of the ship, steering their products through turbulent waters to deliver innovative solutions. Rishav Bose, Market Surveillance Product Manager at KRM22, shares profound lessons derived from his enriching journey. In this blog, Rishav shares his insights, exploring the fundamental principles that define his approach to product management.

Professional Background and Evolution:

My voyage commenced as a support analyst, a role that meant I connected intimately with the product. This foundational experience paved the way for a seamless transition into the realm of product management. Over two high energy yet fulfilling years, I discovered the essence of his role lay in the ability to respond to key events unfolding daily in the financial risk management domain.

Key Lessons Learned:

  1. Customer-Centric Approach: Staying customer-centric and avoiding feature development for its own sake is critical. Genuine listening to customer feedback has been a revelation, altering my perception of how customers utilize the product.
  2. Balancing Listening and Initiative: A delicate equilibrium between actively listening to customers and maintaining the initiative in designing solutions is crucial. A product manager’s role is to listen but not cede the design process entirely to customers.
  3. Embracing Failure and Learning: Product managers can be fallible, I deem it crucial to fail fast and extract valuable lessons from mistakes. Furthermore, discovering unexpected uses of the product by customers contributes to continuous learning and improvement.

Approach to Innovation:

  1. Diversified Idea Generation: I am a strong advocate for not exerting excessive pressure to generate revolutionary ideas. By that I believe that good ideas can emerge from various sources, including customers, support, business, competitors, and industry trends.
  2. Execution Over Originality: Even non-original ideas can yield excellent results if implemented effectively. Acceptance of the reality that not every decision will please everyone is integral to my approach.

Balancing Creativity with Business Realities:

Sometimes you have to stop getting bogged down with all the nitty-gritty of sales, commercials, business strategy and company direction and let your creativity drive. By way of example, we recently changed the way the application launches, which has always been a pain-point. Essentially, users had no indication of whether the app was launching as there was no progress bar or info screen. It was so common that users stopped raising as an issue and treated as a “quirk” of the app. The business savvy-decision would have been to add a simple splash screen that says “the app is launching”.

However, we took it several steps further and refactored the user-experience while launching the application. Not only did we add the splash screen, but we also improved the time it took to launch the app by loading individual screens and tabs on demand instead of everything at startup. We also added in features that would reload the user’s sessions and tabs from previous logins. We received great feedback from multiple customers and we can see it improve their experience of using our application. By thinking about more than just the immediate problem, we surpassed expectations and it didn’t cost us the world!

In conclusion, I feel lucky to be learning my product management trade in a fast paced start up. I am looking forward to taking Market Surveillance to the next generation.