Hello folks! Welcome back to our weekly AMA series. This week we were glad to have Aatir Abdul Rauf, Director Product Management and Marketing at vFairs.
In this AMA, Aatir answered questions about testing hypotheses and features, upskilling as a PM and important product metrics. He also shared details about his day as PM. Find all this and more below!
How do you test hypotheses and features before launching a SaaS product?
How much of your week do you spend on upskilling yourself? How was this when you started as a PM?
Around 30 minutes every day but I do it after work hours. It's impossible to weave that up-skill time in my daily schedule. I read a lot of stuff on Medium and some favourite blogs (like Ken Norton). At the start of my career, it was probably a bit more because I would need tons of perspective before embarking on specs. However, I started 12 years back when the content volume and quality wasn't as good as it is right now.
Is it better to be a generalist PM or be focused on one particular industry?
I personally prefer being a generalist PM who can carry the principles of product management across any discipline. However, every PM eventually needs to gain some specialization in the domain they operate in. Without that knowledge, they’d lose out on product strategy and competitive differentiation.
What’s one user insight that helped drive adoption significantly from your experience?
Which aspect of product management do you like the most?
Building technical user flows, logic, solutions & prototypes that eventually solve actual pain points. I love it when customers tell me "I don't know what I'd do without this." I'd say seeing a product live on production after a hectic sprint is a great feeling but positive feedback is the oxygen we live for.
What is the one belief you had when you were starting out in PM that you think is not true anymore?
I was made to believe that data is everything at the start of my career. "If the data doesn't support a theory, don't take the plunge." However, I've realized that more than being blindly data-driven, one needs to be evidence-driven and have data-informed intuition to build great products. Customer feedback is evidence, industry trends are evidence, competition is evidence.
How important role does interviewing potential stakeholders play while building product strategy?
Extremely important considering the fact that you simply can't move to build anything unless you have spent time with your stakeholders and interviewed them systematically. Craft a questionnaire and understand underlying jobs-tobe-done and motivations for the stakeholder. This information when consolidated across multiple stakeholders then becomes the basis of your hypothesis and future product development. The worst thing a PM can do is to conjecture in a silo without validation.
For beginners breaking into PM, how does one navigate between product marketing and product management?
What are usually the most important business and product metrics for a B2B SaaS company?
How does feature experimentation (A/B testing) differ in B2B SaaS products in comparison to B2C software products?
B2C products which have scale produce results far quicker because of the traffic footprint. A/B tests conclude in a few weeks’ time with enough statistical confidence. In my experience, B2B has a much lower volume which means tests run for longer. Because of this, the iterative process in B2B involves a lot of upfront validation with customers, rather than hyper-quick "test and trial."
How does a day as a PM look like at VFairs?
It really depends on what area you are working on but generally:
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