A Day in the Life of a Product Manager

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At the end of the day, your job isn’t to get the requirements right- your job is to change the world. – Jeff Patton 

Quite a lofty statement, this!  

But it resonates with what a product manager should strive to do- change the world in our own  way with a product he or she believes in!  

With that  being said, what does a product manager in a FinTech startup really do? 

Here are my learnings –  

1.Know it’s a marathon but sweat the details!  

As a product manager, we are at the intersection of influencing company strategy while at the same time having a detailed view into actual product delivery. Vision and execution in equal measure!  

A good day at work is one where you go from discussing .csv file formats to product pricing discussions to a 6-month product roadmap! A key thing to keep in mind as a FinTech Product manager is that even if you are delivering an Minimum Viable Product (MVP) product that is a slice of what the vision is; ensure basic details are thought through. Your first users may not be delighted with your MVP offering but it must instill a sense of confidence nevertheless!   

2. Customer centricity at the core 

As Fintech product managers, we are creating products that deal with money decisions- a sensitive topic for many. Whether it is a product that deals with loans, investments, bill payments or even income; a key contributor to product adoption is understanding the user’s psyche. Some questions that must be thought through – What motivates users to make certain decisions? Is there a region-specific nuance around that? Are we bringing in a completely new product that requires user education? What can we do to make sure the product addresses key user concerns around security and data protection? How can we price it such that it competes well? 

While being customer centric is at the heart of any product development effort, it is even more pronounced when we create a product that deals with a user’s finances.  

 3.Regulation & Creativity  

As we endeavor to design the most seamless user experience with minimal friction points, it is equally important to ensure the product is compliant with the regulation that need to be adhered to. Compliance and regulations are in place to ensure that a product that deals with finances is secure and safe in every possible way. It is imperative for a product manager to view compliance as an aid to boost customer confidence and adoption.  

 Having said that, a vital task as a product manager- would be  to find a middle ground on what compliance mandates and how we can achieve the desired optimal user experience within it.  

 4.End to End Business Process  

A FinTech product by nature is solving for a complete business process. We are not solving part of the puzzle but redefining the entire flow. As the person tasked with defining the product, an understanding of the process end to end is critical. We need to ask ourselves the following questions: How does a user onboard?  What does the online user journey look like? What is the dispute management process if applicable? What are the other backend processes that need to be catered to for the process to be complete in all respects? How is the product being priced and how do we invoice the customer? 

 The nature of the product lends itself to a rich product experience with the internal stakeholders that include and not limited to – Marketing, Finance, Legal, Engineering, Design, Customer Support to name a few!  

 5.Iterate with data   

No product is created perfect in the first iteration. While we could do all sorts of secondary research and analysis as we start to design a product, it is imperative that we create a mechanism to get feedback from real users. Depending on the nature of the product- it could be a small in-house test or an extended version to a select group of users across defined personas or eventually a product analytics solution. Whether in the initial design phase or for continuous product improvement, a data driven decision will always hold the product in good stead.  

 Last but not least, especially in startup- time to market is key! As a product manager – you would be required to wear multiple hats. Do it and do it willingly.  

There is no richer experience than one that comes when you get your hands dirty! If you have the skill set to create an ad Hoc report that is required to launch the product or you can lend a hand to the marketing campaign – do it.  

 

Finally, remember that this is your product. Do what is needed to get it off the ground 

 

 

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