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Product Change Management

Customers
Managing Expectations
Users

30 August, 2021

Punit Bhansali

Punit Bhansali

Senior Product Manager at Atlassian

Punit Bhansali, Senior Product Manager at Atlassian, illustrates the changing segments in his company and how he learned to tackle them.

Problem

When you hear about product management, it feels like you know everything. Once you step in, you realize that the reality is much different than your thoughts. We also tend to think that it is a different role across all industries, but once you take a careful look at the job description of the offered role, you will find that a product manager is the same everywhere. Whether it is a payment company or an e-commerce company, all you have to do is follow the roadmap, some typical features, increase user conversions and so on.

I was working for one of the leading multinational electronics companies, and I was not winning at first. It was completely a different domain — a payment domain where all my learnings as a corporate management were not fitting. The key responsibilities were not about building features, roadmaps or designing a user journey; it was about looking for the pain point, trying to be in the user's shoes, and understanding the gist of everything. The problems could have vanished in a moment only if I understood the different challenges that users were facing. I had the solutions, but I did not know what exactly was the problem.

Actions taken

At first I used the 5 Why model. I kept asking myself why I would take an action if I were to take one. Then I would put a rough guess as to what the actual problem might have been. Once the answer was grounded in fact, then I would go back to square one and ask the same “why” questions again. I found it to be an effective and simple tool for solving the problems.

As I dived deeper into the role of a PM, I found myself in a completely different culture. I put into place that the team was trying to figure out a common path for all the users, yet there were many clients and customers. They were using it in all different ways and customizations. Now, what does a PM have to do in this area?

Besides, I moved from B2C to B2B market. I identified that we were generalizing the problems between the B2B and B2C markets. As I dug deeper, I realized that there could be 1 solution to all the problems. Therefore, we worked towards the end-users needs, which went much more into detailing. Specifically, I figured what were the problem areas and what were the solutions I had in my hand.

Finally, I put my questions in a way: “why the solutions were being put in here, and not the other way around?” I questioned my ideas, but at the same time, I also wanted to bring in my ideas as a product manager. I did not forget about the different perspectives of the product. That was when it kicked me that one can never master the art of product management. There are always some lessons that come along the way and make you a seasoned professional.

Lessons learned

  • Understanding the User Behavior: Moving from the business to the technical side has made me realize that understanding the user’s behavior in different industries is the key to success in product management. While B2B is entirely vertical, B2C is another different level. Both have their own challenges that would keep you on your toes, but at the same time, are rewarding.
  • The Devil is in Details: As you explore further, you will figure out more problems your way. Product management is not about building features; it is more about understanding the real problem. When I moved to B2C, I realized that it was not about bringing the product or building up to 20 user flows, but more about details.
  • Problem Solving: Solving an existing problem can be frustrating and sometimes feels like a burden. However, with the right technology and tactics by your side, you will be able to analyze the problem and bring better solutions to the table. Always have a problem solving mindset, and you will see that it is much easier to cope.

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