Ganeshram Mahalingam

Career Milestones

Organization and You

Core Competencies

Go to food for thought

Favorite Products

What accomplishment in your product management career has brought you the highest level of satisfaction and joy? Can you narrate why?

Two things here. On  the execution side, launching products from scratch is what I have enjoyed  the most. You get the opportunity to align and iterate on the acquisition,  pricing, and the broader value prop of the product. Managing a team of great  PMs is the other thing I enjoy. They have taught me a lot and this has helped  me gain different perspectives on solving problems.

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What aspect of product management did you struggle the most with? How did you overcome it?

Written  communication. Writing clear and understandable requirements is what I  struggled with the most. Things that I thought were absolutely clear, weren't  that clear to my audience. Plus, I missed few scenarios in the requirements  when I started out as a PM. Creating a master list of scenarios and  considering those early in the process helped me create comprehensive  requirements.  But overall writing  quality improved (and is still improving) only with practice.

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What's one common myth about product management that you find common among aspiring PMs?

The biggest myth I  have come across is the belief that there is one right way of doing  "Product Management". Depending on the nature of the company and the stage of product one works in, I think there are varied flavors of PM. A process that might work  great in one product might not necessarily be a fit for another product.  There are best practices, yes, but there are a significant number of  exceptions as well.

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What are some common pitfalls that product managers must be aware of?

I have experienced for myself. One, I know what my users want and hence I don't need to talk to  them. Two, relying only on data to make decisions. Three, waiting to act  until there is no ambiguity and everything is figured out. Four, launching the first version, but not iterating on the product further.

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If not product management, what career would you have picked? Are there any complimentary skillsets that you see between being a PM and your alternate choice?

User researcher. I would argue that understanding user is the single most important skill of a  PM as well.

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What is something about product management that you wish you knew when you started out?

Product management  is not a standalone field. A good PM understands the basics of UX, tech,  marketing, data analysis, and user research. And all of this learning is  accelerated by how well a PM can work with others in the team.

‚Äć

What accomplishment in your product management career has brought you the highest level of satisfaction and joy? Can you narrate why?

Two things here. On  the execution side, launching products from scratch is what I have enjoyed  the most. You get the opportunity to align and iterate on the acquisition,  pricing, and the broader value prop of the product. Managing a team of great  PMs is the other thing I enjoy. They have taught me a lot and this has helped  me gain different perspectives on solving problems.

‚Äć

What aspect of product management did you struggle the most with? How did you overcome it?

Written  communication. Writing clear and understandable requirements is what I  struggled with the most. Things that I thought were absolutely clear, weren't  that clear to my audience. Plus, I missed few scenarios in the requirements  when I started out as a PM. Creating a master list of scenarios and  considering those early in the process helped me create comprehensive  requirements.  But overall writing  quality improved (and is still improving) only with practice.

‚Äć

What's one common myth about product management that you find common among aspiring PMs?

The biggest myth I  have come across is the belief that there is one right way of doing  "Product Management". Depending on the nature of the company and the stage of product one works in, I think there are varied flavors of PM. A process that might work  great in one product might not necessarily be a fit for another product.  There are best practices, yes, but there are a significant number of  exceptions as well.

‚Äć

What are some common pitfalls that product managers must be aware of?

I have experienced for myself. One, I know what my users want and hence I don't need to talk to  them. Two, relying only on data to make decisions. Three, waiting to act  until there is no ambiguity and everything is figured out. Four, launching the first version, but not iterating on the product further.

‚Äć

If not product management, what career would you have picked? Are there any complimentary skillsets that you see between being a PM and your alternate choice?

User researcher. I would argue that understanding user is the single most important skill of a  PM as well.

‚Äć

What is something about product management that you wish you knew when you started out?

Product management  is not a standalone field. A good PM understands the basics of UX, tech,  marketing, data analysis, and user research. And all of this learning is  accelerated by how well a PM can work with others in the team.

‚Äć

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