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Taking The Lead As A Manager In Crisis

Product Team
Dev Processes

14 October, 2021

James Tobias

James Tobias

Senior Product Manager at Mapware

James Tobias, Senior Product Manager at Mapware, unveils a riveting journey to build a product from ground zero successfully.


Product management is undeniably a crucial factor that has a significant impact on a company. The rise and fall are equivalent to the managerial service that a company endures. When the team does not put everything inside its bailiwick, that's when the company shrinks, and that's where the management fails. One of the dynamic roles that I had in my work life was starting as a product manager with no backlog. It was challenging to hold up the whole team and understand all the aspects of a certain kind of project that the company was on.

After I was hired for the role, I had to figure out what to do quickly. I talked to the manager to understand his vision of hiring me. Initially, I had to gather information from the team and understand what technical work needed to be done to set a baseline and ensure that the developmental team was ready to work.

Actions taken

A product manager is the one who takes the remedy during mismanaged and shambolic events. To upgrade the team's performance, understanding the infrastructure and evaluating the process have no alternative. As a product manager, I had to maintain tenacious interaction with the client to continue understanding what we were going to be working on.

We came to know about an internal product which was a system integration project where a bank wanted to set up a layer in between systems. It was basically how the bank was going to process payments or the underlying infrastructure for handling charges.

Working with internal stakeholders and gathering knowledge was pivotal, which helped us interpret the product quickly. I instigated measures that included commencing CI/CD method, building API, which was a key feature. When I joined, it was a system-to-system relationship comprising many to many relationships involved. It was more like every system had to communicate with every other system. We decided that we would integrate middleware. So that the system allowed plugging each independent system into it. Besides increasing efficiency, it also allows the ability to adapt to new emerging systems.

It was challenging and compelled me to process the managerial facet that came along with the position. Such exposure brought me enlightenment and some rigid management lessons.

Lessons learned

  • If you are starting over with nothing, try not to run immediately. Trying to solve all the problems at once impels you to stumble even more. So, start slow, understand the process and then make a move.
  • If you want to do a task more efficiently, it's essential to build the foundation first. That implies understanding what you are trying to do.
  • Working as a team helps to identify gaps and areas of weakness. This further propels you to solve the problem with ease and simplicity.

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