Moving Beyond Your Current Role - Gaurav Mathur,
Sr. Director, User Experience Design, Myntra

About Gaurav Mathur

Gaurav currently heads User Experience Design at Myntra, India’s largest online fashion retailer. He manages design initiatives across all platforms for the consumer experience as well as for the enterprise apps and tools. He facilitates innovation through user-centered design processes and helps evolve ideas into new products and solutions. Previously, Gaurav has worked with Citrix, IL&FS ETS, and Media Lab Asia, and also co-founded Trevue Innovations, a design-led consultancy based in Mumbai and Singapore.
He has published papers in journals and conferences like CHI and Design Issues, MIT Press. He was the design coach for the Citrix Startup Accelerator at Bangalore and a speaker at the Product Leaders Forum, UX India 2014. Gaurav has studied interaction design and visual communication at Industrial Design Center, IIT Bombay and architecture at School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi.

What skills define a product leader?

To be a great product leader, the first and foremost skill is to have a thorough understanding of the business, the product, and its user. The second most important skills are the interpersonal skills – skills in negotiations, especially with stakeholders. This requires a lot of experience to build negotiation skills to get stakeholders to work together towards a common goal, to aim at the North Star and constantly move forward.

What takes one from project manager to product leader?

Going beyond these straight-jacketed roles requires a thorough understanding of surrounding skill sets – deeply understanding engineering, deeply understanding product design, deeply understanding management, and deeply understanding business and strategy. This would be core of going beyond what you currently do.

Is it worth making time for specialized courses like IPL when building a product?

A mid-career education goes a long way in understanding the nuances of creating a product with a perfect market fit, understanding its users, creating a complex product and dealing with challenges that go into marketing, into putting it out there – growing the product, growing its user base, and then evolving it further.

3 take-aways:

- The most important skill that makes a great product leader is knowledge of the business, its product and its customers. It is just as necessary to have excellent interpersonal skills, especially negotiation skills, to grow as a product leader.
- Expertise in engineering, product design, management and strategy will help a project manager’s transition into being a product leader.
- A specialized course in product-building goes to supplement experience, advances learning nuances in product creation and helps meeting challenges involved in product leadership.

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