AMA SESSION WITH JESSICA FELIX

On 9th February, 2022, we had Jessica Felix as the guest PM on our bi-weekly #ProductDiveAMA.

Jessica Felix is a Senior Product Manager with success developing and launching multiple product and growth strategies. She Specializes in launching new services and products from concept to roll-out, building organizations from ground up, improving team performance while securing customer loyalty and forging valuable relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

Jessica is passionate about Technology and how it can improve processes in our interactions. She has successfully launched and shipped products across e-commerce and Fintech. She holds a degree in computer science and several other certifications. Jessica is passionate about business solutions and scaling  loves reading in her spare time.

ProductDiver: How can a PM deal with information overload?

Jessica: Take a break. Reassure yourself that you got this and can handle it. Then take the information with the highest priority and break it into small chunks. Identify the terminology you don’t understand and read up on it or reach out to an expert on it. Eventually you will have a grasp of all the information. Information overload is very common to PMs and is a very valid pain point. The root cause is usually because you have heard a lot of information you don’t understand, Not necessarily because of too much information.

ProductDiver:  What are the things you put into consideration when developing Product Strategy? Also how does it influence your product roadmap?

Jessica: Before putting together a product strategy it is important you have a very clear & concise understanding of the vision of the product and what the company is looking to achieve both short term and long term.  It’s is important to make sure that all stakeholders align on this and it’s well documented. After this is established, you then begin to determine how you will achieve the vision:

– Who are your target users?

– Who are your competitors?

– What resources will you need?

– How long will it take? e.t.c

Based on the above information, the roadmap on how you will achieve the vision is mapped out and planned.

ProductDiver: What are the main things you think about when setting product and growth strategies with your team?

Jessica: Have a clear understanding of the problems your product is solving. Getting this right is the foundation upon which ant strategy is based. B2B growth strategies differ from B2C and the resources you have available will also influence your strategy. Every product exists to solve a particular problem. Two same products can exist to solve two different problems.

ProductDiver: How do you develop Product Sense to better prepare yourself for interviews?

Jessica: The best way to develop product sense is by building products. It’s a skill that gets better with time. You have to be dedicated toward building your product sense beyond interview sessions. That way when interview sessions come you are equipped and ready. I recommend reading products books and blogs to build products sense. Also think of different products scenarios and determine what you will do, and determine why you decided to take that solution, understand the rationale behind your decision. Two top resources that comes to mind are: Cracking the PM Code & Harvard business reviews.

ProductDiver: Most companies require at least 3 years of experience. As a beginner with just a few months internship, would that disqualify me?

Jessica: It doesn’t disqualify you. Experience doesn’t just come in the passage of time. It comes with the amount of exposure and problems you have solved. I encourage you to give a product portfolio to easily convince the recruiter that you are capable of the job.

ProductDiver:  What’s the best way to manage developers and technical personnel?

Jessica: They are different frameworks for team management. I advise you to become abreast with it. It’s important that your team members enjoy work and not forced to work. A common one is the Agile Methodology. It uses a sprint session and daily stand up meetings to manage development processes. Explain the process, and how your interaction with your teammates will flow. What you will be doing during your daily stand up meetings (which mostly is to take feedback). Also talk about how effective communication will drive good work flow. Make sure you understand how each team member likes to be communicated with.

ProductDiver: When you are asked to quote an amount you should be paid as a fresher, and in order not to shortchange yourself,  what should your response be?

Jessica: I advised you to do research on the company. A good platform to use is Glassdoor and Nairaland. Different companies have different salary structures for the same roles. Also take into the amount of work you will be doing. If you can’t find relevant information, charge industry standards. Charge your worth and do it confidently!!

ProductDiver: What are the top 3 advice you wish you knew when you started as a PM?

Jessica: Understand the vision of the product. What problems are you trying to solve? Understand this in a clear and concise manner. Understand your target users, the best way to do this is too constantly talk to them. Be data driven. As much as I believe in intuition. Let it be backed up by data

ProductDiver: What is your biggest product mistake & can you help with tips for launching an MVP?

Jessica: My biggest product mistake was under-estimating how important soft skills are in product management. You can have the best Strategy and technical skills but if you don’t have soft skills, you are most likely not going to get things done effectively. Effective communication, Empathy, singing other people praises, Mood management are my top 4. My best advice for launching an MVP is to launch fast, test and iterate. Don’t wait until everything is perfect. You have to be innovative and fast at the same time. You are in a race again time.

ProductDiver: As a product designer who is also into product management and doesn’t want to lose touch with design, Is it possible to continue with my design business (just as part time), even when I get employed as a PM full time?

Jessica: It is very possible. I know a lot of people in this category. Also being a product designer will give you a huge advantage as a PM. You will see that a lot of skills you have acquired as a Product Designer will be transferable to Product Management.

ProductDiver: What has been your most challenging experience as a PM and what did you do to solve them (if at all you were able to solve them)?

Jessica: My most challenging experience as a PM was developing the soft skills needed to be a successful PM. In my real elements, I do not like talking too much and really don’t mind if people do not like me. I discovered it’s important that you ensure with deliberate efforts that your team members like and respect you as a product manager. What I did to solve it was improve my soft and people skills

ProductDiver: How do you handle challenges that require you to come up with original or novel ideas?

Jessica: Every individual has activities they carry out that enhance their creativity and deep thinking. When you become a PM you find out that you become extremely busy. It is important that you create time to think and do activities that enhance your creativity. It’s important that you do this as often as needed. How I handle situations like this is to make sure that my mind is in a creative mood and I do a lot of research, talk to users and look at past trends and data. Based on the information I find. I come up with a solution.

ProductDiver: How do you destress when all these workload starts weighing on you?

Jessica: By doing what you take stress off you and reminding yourself that you’re a Boss and you’ve got this!!!

ProductDiver: As a PM just starting out, what do you think should go first? An internship or a training school?

Jessica: A training school. A training school will give you the foundation knowledge you need to practice during an internship. But if you have an internship available, you can take it and hone your skills on the job. The best form of practice is by doing.

ProductDiver: What are the strategies one needs to put in place or let me just say, building a portfolio as a new PM?

Jessica: A new PM must constantly thrive to improve their product sense by reading product blogs and understanding business trends. I advise you to pick an industry and develop the required knowledge in that sector.

Connect with our guest PM on LinkedIn at Jessica Felix. Join the ProductDive Slack Community here.

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