Thrilled to announce the arrival of Moshe Mikanovsky
We are so thrilled to announce our new Director of Product Managent -- Moshe Mikanovsky. Moshe is a leader in product management who started his career on the engineering side, specifically within the enterprise real-time B2B software space. He fell in love with product management after seeing the gap that existed between what customers wanted and what engineering produced. Moshe enjoys applying his lean iterative approach to develop products that exceed users’ expectations. Moshe co-host the Product for Product Podcast where he talks about products that product professionals use. He published his debut novel The Resurrector in January 2022. Living in Toronto, he can’t stand the cold winters but loves his Canadian home and the maple trees all over. Welcome aboard and buckle up! It’s going to be one helluva ride...
We asked him to participate in our new interview series, where we ask product podcast hosts to answer 5 questions on different product topics.
[Q] Do you think that company strategy and product strategy are the same? Should they be the same?
Depends really on what the company does, if it's a product company I would say that the strategy for both company and product are much more the same then other types of companies. In general, there should always be a direct relationship between the two, where the company's strategy is defined first based on its vision, and then everything else is derived from that to achieve that strategy, including the product strategy.
[Q] Should product managers be involved in defining, refining, and managing the company strategy?
For the organizations that their core existence is the product, for sure, the product managers should be part of creating the company strategy, as it is tightly coupled with their product strategy. For other organizations, where the product might just be an enabler for another value-creation means (like a service), product managers are usually more the recipients of the company's strategy, and should align their product strategy to achieve the company's.
[Q] You’ve interviewed many guests on your podcast. How do most people go about defining north star metrics (OKRs)? How do you think the product team should leverage them?
I think that most people don't really understand OKRs or how to do them right. My podcast usually focuses on tools that they are using in their product management stack, so it's a bit detached from the core process of building their products. But at the same time, I've noticed that without a good discipline and good understanding of how to define objectives, which key results fit them the best, and the ability for teams to constantly track them, they fizzle out after one or two cycles. The best way I've seen product teams leveraging them is by having a small number of objectives, which are aligned with the strategy, and empowering the teams to try different things until they are able to achieve their objectives.
[Q] Can you provide your reflections on how product managers should identify their problems. How should they leverage their users to come up with solutions?
I usually try to focus as much as possible on the problems definition rather than the solutions. The main reason is that solutions are easy to find and sift through. Problems, on the other hand, are harder to identify properly, and harder to confirm that they are the right ones to solve. So as product managers we have to be mindful about many aspects - who has the problem, where can I find them, how can I observe them to see where their problem might be, should I believe them when they say a specific thing, and then, how do I verify that an identified problem is a real one rather than a perceived one. With these observations and relationships created with the users, product managers are almost like therapists, who can plainly put a mirror in front of the users to offer different ways to see the problem, which can trigger ideas for solutions with the users. That should tie back into the previous assessment - what is a real problem, as we don't want to create work around with bad solutions, or solve the wrong problem. And, we definitely don't want to create new problems.
[Q] Finally, what is the main pain point that you think product managers are feeling today?
Cultural fit in the organization. Many orgs know they need product management, but they don't understand why and how to do it. With a bad cultural fit, the challenges product managers need to face are mostly uphill; stress with and between stakeholders, pull and push in different directions, changing directions on a regular basis, feature factory teams... There are many issues that are counter-productive for product management, and usually stems from bad culture. And changing the culture is not the job of the product manager but of the person at the very top of the organization.
About Product for Product Podcast
Product for Product is a show hosted by Matt Green and Moshe Mikanovsky aimed at helping listeners navigate the growing depth of product management tools while also providing our insights into the categories that make up the PM role. We will take listeners with us on a journey of discovery through areas of product analytics, road mapping, productivity and many others. If you want to keep up with the latest in product management come along for the ride!
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