Devika Nair

Devika NairShare

Director of Product, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Oracle
Over 10 years of experience in product management (analytics, cloud). Previously a software developer.
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Devika Nair
Devika Nair
Director of Product, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, OracleJuly 19

First, ensure you have the right data to backup any claims or decisions you want to make. Second, focus on the goals you want from that audience. Third is to make sure that the content is clear and crisp with the right level of detail.

Occasionally, I have to re-write a document for a different audience (e.g., CEO). However, in general ensuring there is a clear summary for anyone without assumptions of previous context and the decisions (or requirements) are clearly articulated in your doc/email/presentation. Include details for anyone who might want to dig in the subsequent paragraphs or include links/appendix for anyone who might want such details.

Devika Nair
Devika Nair
Director of Product, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, OracleJuly 20

My approach is usually to have a initial wireframe to convey your ideas. The UX team needs to have sufficient understanding of the customer journeys and need to be involved early in the product definition/creation phase. Start with your vision document and a wireframe and spend some time discussing the details. Involve them throughout the product definition and execution phases to ensure you remain on the same page. 

Devika Nair
Devika Nair
Director of Product, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, OracleJuly 20

This depends on the goals of your product. In general, you want your key metrics to be aligned with what you and the organization considers the top goals of the product. 

For example, this might be revenue from your product, or number of other products customers use alongside your product. There would also be secondary goals like your adoption, retention and growth.

Devika Nair
Devika Nair
Director of Product, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, OracleJuly 19

Good judgement or product instinct. Product Managers should make quick decisions with the available data. Product Managers should be able to distinguish between the asks and the true needs. In order to build a successful product, you need a good understanding of the market, the customer and potential.

The second skill is willingness to do what it takes to make your product successful. The role of the PM differs vastly between organizations, but even within your org you might have to wear a UX hat one day, marketing the next day and engineering on the third day.

The move towards a tech PM role depends where you start. For example, if you are an engineer, get more exposure to customers and gain more understanding of the market. Volunteer for product activities like creating your user experience, writing the product definition, etc. If you are in a non-technical role, getting a deep technical understanding of the product area is critical. 

Devika Nair
Devika Nair
Director of Product, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, OracleJuly 19

I would not say I had a single point where I made this decision. I had the opportunity to lead a few PMs which I initially picked. I transitioned back to IC from this role a couple of times based on my interest in the product goals. My final (or I should say current since I could transition back to IC someday) decision was when I realized I was happier seeing success of my PMs than the success of the products.

The slow transition helped me prepare both with the help of my mentors and advisors, and through "learn by doing". 

Devika Nair
Devika Nair
Director of Product, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, OracleJuly 20

The best tech product managers I know have a very good understanding of their product. This includes understanding the customer needs and market. They use this knowledge to make quick, but data backed decisions about the product direction. 

They are also able to influence and bring along a wide range of stakeholders in order to successfully execute.

Devika Nair
Devika Nair
Director of Product, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, OracleJuly 19

Yes. If you are willing to transition, its simplest if there is a role in your organization. I am assuming this question was about TPM = Program Managers rather than product managers. 

If the question was about tech product managers, the focus should be on understanding the product and customers rather than execution.

Devika Nair
Devika Nair
Director of Product, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, OracleJuly 19

In general, you need technical product managers when the PMs need a deep technical understanding. In most cases, this is because the customers of your product are technical. 

PMs who aren't technical will be unable to effectively manage a product whose customers are technical folks like developers. There can be situations where your direct customer might not be tech folks, but the product is sufficiently complex and the PM needs to understand enough of the product to be effective. 

Devika Nair
Devika Nair
Director of Product, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, OracleJuly 19

For Product Management, my general advice is to experiment with it. Try to understand your customers and market, define the product vision and work through requirements for your features. You can also go through exercises with side projects.

For Project Management, I don't have personal experience, but I would say try getting hands on experience alongside your current role is the best path.

Devika Nair
Devika Nair
Director of Product, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, OracleJuly 19

If your question was about Tech Product Management, it is a solid understanding of the product vision and direction. A tech PM is able to be the voice of the customer in front of engineering or the voice of engineering in front of marketing. 

They are able to represent the best interest for the product in front of any audience.

Credentials & Highlights
Director of Product, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure at Oracle
Top Product Management Mentor List
Product Management AMA Contributor