Inside Look: A Day as a Product Manager with Agoda Sr PM

This week Product School hosted Deepak Kumar Singh, Senior Product Manager at Agoda for an #AskMeAnything session. Deepak discussed his career, roadmaps strategies and shared some tips for aspiring PMs.

Meet Deepak Kumar Singh

Deepak is a Senior Product Manager Agoda, leading company-wide Product innovation by owning the roadmap and overall strategy, and working with developers and other teams to bring that vision to reality. Throughout his career, Deepak has been responsible for strategic Product planning, defining, delivering, and continuously innovating company consumer platforms.

Product Management 101

Could you highlight what the day to day of a Product Manager is like?

In my current organization:

  • 30% of your time is spent on execution, working with your development team on delivering current items in your sprint/quarter.
  • 20% of your time is spent on working with other teams to manage conflicts and avoiding any future conflicts.
  • And the rest of the 50% is about communicating, which involves planning for the future, communicating current progress upwards, sideways and downwards.

How was your transition from Flipkart to Agoda? Was it difficult? How did you overcome barriers?

I moved from Flipkart to Furlenco and then to Agoda. All companies offer new problem statements, and a good PM should always focus on solving problems, irrespective of the industry. I moved from Ads, to Subscription Management, Supply Chain, Customer Support and now to Payments. Early in your career, don’t try to focus on one area, try to gain experience across all domains and don’t be deterred if industries change. It might feel like moving out of your comfort zone but it definitely adds a lot of value. 

As a 3rd year college student I am finding it really difficult to get an internship. How can I approach this?

Short answer, if you can’t find an internship try and start to work on your own product or idea and build something with a team. This will add a lot of value to your resume and you can learn much faster. I worked on a small quiz app of my own which helped me learn quite a lot.

How can I transition from Business Development to Product? How do you think one can go about it?

This is not new, I have seen a lot of people moving from these Business Development roles to Product across Flipkart as well as Agoda. The best way is to try making the switch within your organization. A lot of companies are open to Grooming PM talent within their company. Discuss with fellow PMs in your organization and understand what their day to day work is and try to add any skills that you believe you would need to carry out the PM job. Read a lot, discuss with folks and try for an internal switch.

How do you recommend young PMs build an outstanding  profile?

  1. Find a mentor from the industry (either from your org or outside). This really helps you in the early stage of your career and helps solve a lot of doubts.
  2. Read a lot of product blogs and interact with fellow people in your company. 
  3. Always think end to end while solving any problem. 
  4. Besides this, always remember the PM is the only person representing the customer, so always keep thinking about their pain-points.
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Product Leadership, Roadmaps and Metrics Tips

How often do you have conflicts between you and other product managers? How do you handle it?

A lot of PMs end up in fighting fires due to conflicts that come up. One simple way to resolve team conflicts is to democratize the decision making, especially on the Tech team. The team feels empowered and ends up resolving it by themselves. Conflicts out of the team can be resolved by defining KPIs which are relevant for your team/scrum. If something affects your KPI go ahead and make changes in any domain you want.

How’s your research process when creating a roadmap? How do you make a trade-off between an important product feature vs a business ask?

This depends quite a lot on the way the organization is structured. Generally the leadership team defines the global OKRs/KPIs and you have your own sub OKRs which you work on in your specific team. Just make sure that OKRs are aligned with your orgs global OKRs then you can work with Business and Leadership to come up with your own roadmap. Tradeoffs on your roadmap should be defined by the same principle: take a look at your OKRs or KPI and use any prioritization framework. Rule of thumb you can’t add something which does not affect your KPI or your OKRs.

You might also be interested in: How to Use OKRs for Roadmap Prioritization and Planning

Does the product roadmap change when they see companies like Amazon entering in the same market? If the sales/revenue is affected by such competitors—does the company change its revenue model or the roadmap?

Simple answer is, if you have defined your KPIs very well, a new market scenario will definitely force you to make changes. Let’s take a simple example, if Booking.com supply team had a KPI to onboard 500k new properties in a quarter and they see a new player entering the market which forces properties to only sign up with their platform the new one with a great deal. In this scenario you will be forced to change the milestones you had for the quarter and the year as the market has changed. You will have to go back to the drawing board to build new products in order to attain the same yearly projections on supply metrics. Changing milestones and Roadmaps are the only constants, that’s what I have seen across all the organizations I have worked with.

Co-workers working on document

As a Product Manager, what are the main metrics to manage an eCommerce? When you make a new release, what kind of metrics do you track?

For any e-commerce sector, I would take the marketing funnel metrics of awareness (search/ views), engagement (product page views), consideration (adding to cart/wishlist), and conversion (final buy decision).

Don’t miss our next Ask Me Anything session where you’ll learn what you need to become a better Product Manager! Check our upcoming AMAs here.

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