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About PM Nirvana
The goal of PM Nirvana is to share ideas, learnings, and guidance on building a fulfilling product management career.
I believe that Product Management is a life skill. It offers a unique opportunity for an individual to grow not only in a career but also as a person. A PM is inherently a leadership role that starts with deep empathy for the community you serve (which is typically the customers) and the people you work with. This requires substantial emotional intelligence which, unlike IQ, can actually be built and improved with deliberate practice. Product management offers a continuous opportunity to evolve this EQ, build meaningful connections, and become a better human.
For me, a nirvana, a fulfilled state, for a product manager constitutes the following:
Deliver value: are you delivering value to the business, the customers or the community?
Stakeholder alignment: are you aligned with the strategic direction of your org?
Ownership: does your team feels inspired and ownership of the product you lead?
Growth: are you learning and growing in your career?
In this blog, I intend to share my learning through real examples on how to get closer to each of these criteria through micro habits and frameworks that you can easily apply in your own role.
I feel truly grateful that I have the opportunity to pursue Product Management. An engineer at heart, I jumped into product management when I was working as a lead software engineer at a, then startup, company named Limeade (ASX listing: LME). Those who worked at startups know how almost everything is up for grabs if you are curious and up for learning. While developing some of the fundamental services for the Limeade architecture, I started as a Technical PM focusing on the performance, reliability, and scale of our platform. I got intrigued by the company's mission, the value we bring to the customers, and how we amplify the impact via product-led partnerships. Before I knew it, I found myself experimenting and driving my own lean startup within the org. A small pilot led to us acquiring the company I integrated with which brought me the confidence I needed to build a long-term strategy for the company's ecosystem platform.
Working for a startup had been a fulfilling experience which then led to the craving to make an impact at a larger tech. While working at Expedia Group, I learned a lot about online marketing, A/B testing, incrementality, and leveraging machine learning to surface the best imagery and pricing to potential travelers.
I realized my heart was still with the enterprise customers which is when the OneDrive SharePoint opportunity showed up. My experience at Microsoft helped me build products that impact thousands of customers and millions of users.
Whether it's a startup or a large corporate, the basic tenets of product management remain the same. It takes the same growth mindset, deliberate practice, and empathy to build a fulfilling career.
I haven't found my PM Nirvana yet although I get excited about the opportunity to get closer to that state every single day.