Madhurita Mahapatra

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

I have been fortunate enough to have worked across B2B and B2C products with varied problem statements , challenges and different stages of product lifecycle. Throughout it all what has remained constant is when the satisfaction level peaks. For me this happens every time we finally build that conviction/proof of concept for any bold hypothesis.

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

Earlier in my career I struggled with the depth and breadth of user research . In product management, the hardest part is always the insights you gather from your customers and what you do with it . Execution and impact realisation become easier when problem discovery is done in the right way.   With each feature I got better at it. Overtime, I built in-depth understanding of how to build the right personas for each use case , user interviews: figuring out the right probing questions, ethnography staying close to what users do  instead of what they want , finding different channels to gather secondary info, usability and tree testing and last but not the least synthesising actionable next steps.

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

Currently, Product Management is a coveted field and most young and aspiring PMs believe it is a glamorous job and everyone focuses on how to get into it without thinking if they are ready for it. In reality , it takes a great deal of patience, hustle, rigour ,clarity , influence and relationships every single day to do justice to this role.

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

List is long. The ones that stand out are :  
1. Avoid taking failures personally  
2. Be married to the problem and not the solution  
3. Spend enough time and effort to understand second order effect of what you build  
4. Communication both verbal and written is 5. Retrospect often , individually and as a group

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?

If not product management, I would have either dabbled in graphic designing or psychology . I enjoy the creative , storytelling and visual aspects of graphic designing which also overlaps with PM.  I’m always curious about consumer behaviour - what drives them to take certain decisions/actions which also overlaps with PM.

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

Not specific to Product Management but I wish I spent more time in retrospection. In the early years , I have spent more time building and developing skills which gave a healthy growth trajectory in my career. While they were important , I wasn’t aware of the need for retrospection. This feedback loop has helped me identify my blind spots , course correct as needed and helped me grow with lifetime learnings.

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

I have been fortunate enough to have worked across B2B and B2C products with varied problem statements , challenges and different stages of product lifecycle. Throughout it all what has remained constant is when the satisfaction level peaks. For me this happens every time we finally build that conviction/proof of concept for any bold hypothesis.

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

Earlier in my career I struggled with the depth and breadth of user research . In product management, the hardest part is always the insights you gather from your customers and what you do with it . Execution and impact realisation become easier when problem discovery is done in the right way.   With each feature I got better at it. Overtime, I built in-depth understanding of how to build the right personas for each use case , user interviews: figuring out the right probing questions, ethnography staying close to what users do  instead of what they want , finding different channels to gather secondary info, usability and tree testing and last but not the least synthesising actionable next steps.

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

Currently, Product Management is a coveted field and most young and aspiring PMs believe it is a glamorous job and everyone focuses on how to get into it without thinking if they are ready for it. In reality , it takes a great deal of patience, hustle, rigour ,clarity , influence and relationships every single day to do justice to this role.

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

List is long. The ones that stand out are :  
1. Avoid taking failures personally  
2. Be married to the problem and not the solution  
3. Spend enough time and effort to understand second order effect of what you build  
4. Communication both verbal and written is 5. Retrospect often , individually and as a group

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?

If not product management, I would have either dabbled in graphic designing or psychology . I enjoy the creative , storytelling and visual aspects of graphic designing which also overlaps with PM.  I’m always curious about consumer behaviour - what drives them to take certain decisions/actions which also overlaps with PM.

‚Äć

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

Not specific to Product Management but I wish I spent more time in retrospection. In the early years , I have spent more time building and developing skills which gave a healthy growth trajectory in my career. While they were important , I wasn’t aware of the need for retrospection. This feedback loop has helped me identify my blind spots , course correct as needed and helped me grow with lifetime learnings.

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