Accelerating Product Management Competency

She is a Corporate Education and training professional with a distinguished career in providing competency development solutions to businesses, training solutions to institutions, and career enriching interventions for employees. Rich expertise in designing customized learning solutions that help learners deliver to their potential. Her creed has been to design and deliver programs that do not stop at skill enhancements but transform learners into thinking at a conceptual level.

Product Manager of today is the mini-CEO of a product. One of the critical activities of product management is creating and documenting a product strategy. As per Gartner, 85 percent of organizations have adopted, or plan to adopt, a product-centric application delivery model. Currently, businesses employ a two speed architecture to become product centric which is a slow, contract focused legacy backend coupled with a lightning-quick customer centric front end.

•Today customers are changing their buying habits, and to cater to these changing habits a company must begin with a commitment to how the customer experiences our product, service, and brand digitally.

•Creating great customer experiences would mean being available for our customers in the spaces they inhabit and making it easy for them to get what they want through the channels they prefer. In this pursuit, organizations are keen to build product managers who are critical in digital transformation journeys.

The Need
The mandate was to accelerate the competencies of Product Owners who can drive digital engineering projects effectively for their customers.

The aim was to build Product Management skillset to work closely with external stakeholders on the client side and internal stakeholders to translate needs and business imperatives from product vision and roadmaps for use in setting priorities and guiding the work of the Scrum teams and Development teams. At an individual level, the Product Owners should be able to bring in strategic thinking, effective communication, a solutioning/consultative mindset, and a collaborative approach.

The intent is on digital transformation and developing a workforce capable of delivering in hyper-competitive market conditions.

This transformation process began with an in depth analysis of business needs, followed by a tailored learning intervention to meet the needs. The IMPACT frame work provided the needed flexibility to architect the learning intervention based on the findings from gap analysis and ensured change management practices for successful completion of the program.

The design of the intervention was anchored around the skill sets that were needed to develop the required competencies such as capturing business requirements, developing IT capabilities, defining product roadmap, design thinking, strategic thinking, and developing consultative and solution oriented approaches.

The delivery included master classes, deep dives, hands on sessions on tools, case study driven discussions. Town halls and webinars were conducted by the senior leadership to orient and help the cohort understand the value of Product Management.

Vivek Ranjan, Chief Human Resources Officer, NIIT Limited

Vivek Ranjan, with his 24plus years of industry experience in HR across multiple countries, regions, businesses and site levels, has been instrumental in growing businesses and supporting and creating great places to work culture.

The learning Intervention was Designed & Delivered in Four Phases:
Phase 1:Helped learners understand the concepts of Agile Product Cycle, Application Mindset to Ecosystem Mindset, Product Development for the Digital Age.
Phase 2:Helped learners identify business problems, effectively write BRDs/FSDs and understand the product.
Phase 3:Focused on areas such as Agile Prototyping, Scrum Framework, Agile Values & Principles and Feature Prioritization & MVP.
Phase 4: The learners gained understanding of various visualization tools like Jira, Visio, creating User Story Map for Product Vision and learned various techniques and skills to facilitate conversation with the Stakeholders.

Post the intervention, the cohort was able to appreciate the nuances of the role, gained understanding of the different techniques and tools used to effectively fulfil a client facing role i.e., elicit requirements, document the requirements (BRDs/User stories), prioritize user stories, use tools like JIRA for backlog creation/curation. The intervention also helped the cohort to participate effectively in Agile Ceremonies, develop wireframes, conduct system demos, define and track KPIs/ metrics for the features/ programs and gain deeper understanding of customer journeys.

The cohort was able to appreciate the nuances of the role, gained under standing of the different techniques & tools used to effectively fulfil a client facing role

Business Impact
•The cohort were deployed in various client engagements and placed in projects successfully. They were able to demonstrate their understanding of client requirements, collaborate efficiently with all stakeholders to prioritize user stories and manage impediments/dependencies, assist in product roadmap development, and help define and implement product strategies.

•90 percent of the learners were deployed in projects in week 1 and 2 following the program and the remaining 10 percent were deployed a week after.

•The 90 day impact analysis revealed that the learners were able to build a best-in-class, unified, intelligent platform and digital ecosystem that reduced hundreds of manual touch points, by linking data sources from across client to provide realtime access to critical data.

Stack Route and Zensar won Brandon Hall Excellence Award for this custom learning intervention Gold for “Best Learning Program Supporting a Change Transformation Business Strategy”