Even as startups proliferate in India, the pace of innovation increases and consumers mature, product management has come to be looked upon as the lifeblood of any organisation and the all-essential bridge between the engineering and marketing functions.
With technology diminishing boundaries across the globe, the role of a product manager is all the more important today. Product managers exist for the sole purpose of understanding the user and developing products that serve their needs while helping their companies remain ahead of the competition. Thereby, product managers occupy a key role in the growth of a company.
However, startup enthusiasts are often left wondering whether being able to code or being a developer is essential to the role of a product manager?
Should one be a developer to become a product manager? Or does it take more than just knowing how to code to become a successful product manager?
In this week’s Startup 101 series, Harsha Kumar, Partner at LightSpeed India, a venture capital and private equity company, answers this all-important question. She loves building teams, products, and companies and was previously AVP, Products, at OlaCabs.
With her past experience and understanding of the startup ecosystem, Kumar believes that you don’t need to know how to code or be a developer to be a good product developer, but what you do need to do is understand the nuances of coding, which means that you need to take out time to understand how developers work.
“Without doing that, you might not recommend features that are appropriate for the time frame you have in mind. So, you have two choices — either you take the time to really learn everything that goes on in a developer’s life, how long will it take for him/her to do something, or the second option is to be a developer yourself so you really know what you are talking about,” she adds.
However, Kumar also emphasises that if you are not a developer, you can still be effective if you take the time to get along with your team, take their inputs, understand what they are trying to tell you, and stay flexible about your roadmap.