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Product Management

Four Key Product Management Lessons from Jessi Alva, Director, Technical Product Management at SAP Concur

Madeleine Wilson  //  November 23, 2021  //  4 min read

Whether you’re new to the product management field or a seasoned professional, it’s always valuable to learn from your peers’ lived experiences. From learning more about their career path to predicted trends to general tips and advice, there’s no shortage of lessons to be learned that can ultimately help you develop and become a better product expert yourself.

We recently sat down with four product experts and asked them about their experiences in this field. While you can watch the full hour-long interview here, this post breaks down four of the key lessons we learned from Jessi Alva, Director, Technical Product Management at SAP Concur.

We asked Jessi to weigh in on four key product management questions:

  1. What are some of the most common challenges faced in product management?
  2. What are some trends you anticipate happening in the next several years?
  3. What strategies do you use to prioritize your product roadmap? What tools or methodologies do you use?
  4. What have been your favorite ways to connect and get feedback from your customers?

About Jessi: Jessi is a director, technical product manager, SAP Concur. She currently works on the Concur mobile app on the platform side. Her passion is derived from igniting vision, commitment, innovation, and trust in leadership, development, and marketing teams

→WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

 

What do you think are some of the most common challenges faced in product management?

“Understand the role of product management within the organization that you’re either working or want to work. It’s really important because ‘product manager’ can mean many things depending on the industry, the size of the company, the product you’re in or you’re going to manage. So having to be very self-aware of that is very important. It’s also a partnership with your development team or your development leader. We cannot be successful without somebody coding or building a product. You can have beautiful roadmap decks and beautiful PowerPoints. But if you don’t have a strong partnership with your development team, you’re not going to be successful.”

What are some trends you anticipate happening in the next 3-5 years for your particular industry?

“You really need to be technical. You need to understand technology. And that is a trend that I’ve seen in a lot of companies. You need to understand how your backend works, how your APIs work. I’m not saying you need to code, but it’s really important from a product perspective that you understand technology.
I think if the pandemic has taught us anything it is you really depend on your device for everything. I run and I take calls on my device, so I expect my Zooms to work seamlessly. I expect my Slack to work seamlessly. I expect my email to work seamlessly and my device. And I think that especially in the mobile space, it’s going to become a trend that it’s just going to become the norm. You take your laptop out, your phone and you work wherever you are. And so I think that’s definitely a trend that I don’t see going away. And so when you’re building products, you always have to think, what is a mobile experience going to be? And I know sometimes that tends to be an afterthought, but now that is really front and center.”

What strategies do you use to prioritize your product roadmap? What product management tools or methodologies do you use?

“I think we forget sometimes to see the big picture and step a little bit out of that day to day. I think that sometimes we tend to bring a lot of randomization with the development teams. And that really kills the morale and kind of the speed. So really being conscious as to how you prioritize your roadmap and what’s the value and the ROI that you’re planning to bring, I think it’s key. And if your stakeholders don’t read it, then it’s useless. So find out really what works, right? At the end of the day, I need my stakeholders to review, provide input and be aware of what’s going on. And if that takes me maintaining the same roadmap in different places, that’s my job because I think for a product management roadmap, prioritization is key, right? Also knowing what ROI to show to what stakeholder is also important.”

What have been your favorite ways to connect and get feedback from your customers?

“Look what existing customers are saying about your product. I could guarantee you if you do that for one day, you would have a slew of a roadmap forever. So I have seen that it’s really efficient because you really get the customer telling you what’s not working right because customers never contact support to tell us how great our product is. That’s just never the case.”


Download the eBook to read the interviews here or watch the full webinar here.

About Madeleine Wilson

Madeleine Wilson is the Content Marketing Manager for Apptentive. No stranger to B2B tech, Madeleine enjoys translating complex concepts into easy-to-digest pieces of content.
View all posts by Madeleine Wilson >

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