May 24

AMA SESSION WITH VICTOR OLOMO

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On 2nd March, 2022, we had Victor Olomo as the PM guest on our bi-weekly

ProductDiveAMA.

Meet Victor
Victor Olomo is a Product Manager with over 8 years of experience in the technology industry. He is currently a Product Manager at Shara, where he is responsible for translating customer insights across Nigeria and Kenya to deepen product market fit and contribute to product innovation, especially within the growth team.
Before Shara, Victor was at Rovedana where he was in charge of the product vision alignment and the product strategy and roadmap of the company. He has worked across several sectors – consulting, logistics, HR and fintech. He’s passionate about solving customer problems and building products that speak to these problems
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He has worked across several sectors – consulting, logistics, HR and fintech. He’s passionate about solving customer problems and building products that speak to these problems.
He holds a degree in biochemistry but has been a product manager for most of his professional life. He enjoys reading fiction and plays Fortnite to let off steam.

ProductDiver: What are the things you look for when hiring a Junior Vs Mid Vs Senior Level Pm?

Victor:
Junior PMs

Ability/grit to learn
Ability to persuade
Communication!!!
Patience

Mid PMs (in addition to that of Junior PMs):

Finesse of soft skills
People management skills
Persuasion skills

Senior PMs (In addition to that of Mid PMs):

Leadership skills
Finesse of soft skills
Conflict resolution skills.

Personally I look out more for soft skills. Technical skills can be learned. Soft skills are an art and it is very critical to the role of a PM


ProductDiver: How do you approach discovery and idea generation for product features?


Victor: If starting out a new product, there’s an hypothesis for why I want to create this product. First steps are to validate this hypothesis – user research (is there a need for the
product), prototype (users engaging with your solution to the need), build/iterate and observe as users interact with your product. Observing user interactions and how it solves
the problem they have gives insight on how to improve the product. If it is an existing product, I’m already observing how users interact with your product (analytics and other similar tools). Again, I’d have an hypothesis for delivering more value to the users (any product feature should deliver value). Sometimes it is clear what to do, other times you’d have to validate the hypothesis with research, prototyping, building/iterating as the case may be. Thankfully, specific to my current role at Shara and the nature of our
Victor: If starting out a new product, there’s an hypothesis for why I want to create this product. First steps are to validate this hypothesis – user research (is there a need for the
product), prototype (users engaging with your solution to the need), build/iterate and observe as users interact with your product. Observing user interactions and how it solves
the problem they have gives insight on how to improve the product. If it is an existing product, I’m already observing how users interact with your product (analytics and other similar tools). Again, I’d have an hypothesis for delivering more value to the users (any product feature should deliver value). Sometimes it is clear what to do, other times you’d have to validate the hypothesis with research, prototyping, building/iterating as the case may be. Thankfully, specific to my current role at Shara and the nature of our product offering, I’m always speaking to users, so it is easy to run these discovery processes.

ProductDiver: Could you shed some additional light on some of the elements to consider
when developing growth strategies for a fintech product.


Victor: This is an interesting question. Fintech has a lot of verticals. You have the payment rails like Paystack and Flutterwave, you have the lending companies, the aggregators, etc. Growth varies across verticals. For where I work at the moment and at the stage we’re at, our acquisition is mostly Sales led, so growth strategy from a product angle, at this time, is how we can create tools and pipelines to optimize this sales led approach, in order to bring in more users.
Generically speaking, eventually you will want to create a flywheel where demand attracts supply which in turn attracts demand. Taking Paystack for example , the eventual flywheel is getting enough merchants in, so that customers are using Paystack as a means of payment and because more customers are getting comfortable with using Paystack, more merchants want to get on Paystack.
PS. This is me simplifying the entire process. Your growth strategy should be one leads you to a flywheel.

ProductDiver: What does one transitioning into product management need to do to get at
the very least, an internship?


Victor:

  • Learn what Product Management is
  • Work on projects, even personal projects count
  • Position yourself to show your interest in product management and the work you’re
    doing towards this
  • Network, Network, Network

ProductDiver: how did you transit and what was the experience?


​​Victor: My experience is interesting. I didn’t transit. I got an internship after NYSC and I haven’t looked back. Product management was still very unknown at this time. During the
internship, I had to learn Javascript , so I could empathize with developers. This was a requirement by my boss at the time. It was an interesting /intense experience but I’m grateful for it and no, I don’t code now but I can read, debug to an extent and offer suggestions/feedback.

Connect with our guest PM on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/victorolomo

Join the ProductDive slack community here: http://Bit.ly/PDSlack


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