Ashka Vakil

AMA: Mezmo Sr. Director, Product Management, Ashka Vakil on Platform Product Management

December 13 @ 10:00AM PST
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Mezmo Sr. Director, Product Management, Ashka Vakil on Platform Product Management
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Ashka Vakil
Ashka Vakil
strongDM Sr. Director, Product ManagementDecember 14
Given platform product managers are not directly building an application or a tool or a solution for a single use case, the most challenging aspect of being a platform product manager is multiple stakeholder management. This multiple-stakeholder management requires platform PMs to have certain skills to be successful. * Platform PM has to juggle individual stakeholders' product needs with platform-level goals. Platform PMs need to maintain a delicate balance between enabling individual product success and ensuring their roadmaps contribute to the overall platform strategy. * Platform PMs need to have strong communication skills, empathy, and the ability to build consensus. More often than not, platform PMs have to deal with competing priorities. This requires platform PMs to be skilled at negotiation and decision-making. * Platform PMs need to consider technical feasibility, business impact, and downstream consequences to make the right calls.
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Ashka Vakil
Ashka Vakil
strongDM Sr. Director, Product ManagementDecember 14
Platform PM is a specialized role that requires technical chops and soft skills to work with external and internal customers and stakeholders while being able to go deep in the weeds but also think about the big picture of what the platform can do. As a result, there are a lot of dimensions on which success can be measured. The two main dimensions for measuring success are adoption and technical excellence. 1. Adoption - how is the platform being adopted, how many teams are utilizing the platform, how big is the partner ecosystem and is it thriving, are adoption goals met 2. Technical Excellence - is the platform extensible via APIs, is the platform able to handle the scale, is the platform reliable, are there any outages that are affecting teams and their SLAs, how easy it is for teams to debug and find issues, what is the pace of innovation
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Ashka Vakil
Ashka Vakil
strongDM Sr. Director, Product ManagementDecember 14
Aligning roadmaps for product managers on individual products with the broader platform requires a collaborative approach. It is critical to establish overarching strategy and platform goals that are aligned with the company's business objectives and extremely important to understand clearly each product's goals and asks from the platform. Once the platform goals and asks from individual products are established, use a prioritization framework to define the priority. Use shared prioritization frameworks and use collaborative roadmap planning approach to align all the stakeholders and make sure they understand the rationale for why certain work is prioritized over others. Establish KPIs and dependencies, set up regular sync and feedback loops to update on not only progress but also communicate any changes.
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Ashka Vakil
Ashka Vakil
strongDM Sr. Director, Product ManagementDecember 14
Platform product managers are responsible for building a set of services and capabilities that are used by customers (internal or external) to build products or solutions. Operating systems like iOS and Android, Mobile app stores like Google Play, and Cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, and GCP are some examples of platforms that typically platform product managers will be responsible for. Platform PMs essentially build foundational layers or capabilities that help internal teams or external companies leverage these components to build new tools. Platform product managers have similar responsibilities as product managers in terms of defining, prioritizing, and launching capabilities based on customer insights. However, since platform PMs are building core capabilities that are consumed by others, they have additional responsibilities around creating an ecosystem by not only evangelizing and educating stakeholders on the platform capabilities but also making sure the platform is extensible, scalable, and performant.
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