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The Indian Product Scenario and it’s Global Impact - Mukesh Marodia, Director of Product Management, Informatica

Mukesh Marodia is the Director of Product Management at Informatica Data Group. With around 20 years of experience in software enterprise, he has previously held roles in product management, professional services and sales for companies like Open Text, Virtusa-Polaris, Synygy, Motorola and other companies. He is known to have grown into a quality product leader with good business acumen and the ability to build excellent roadmaps of products.

Mr. Marodia was one of the keynote speakers at the DILO event held recently at Hyderabad. We had an exclusive talk with him after the event to get more insights on the product management subject.

What is unique about the product industry in India and how is the product movement in India different from others?

Product industry in India is like nowhere else in the world. We have the ability to build global products that have a global impact. Add to that we have a lot of R&D talent here. We are uniquely positioned to have an overlap of 4 hours with the east and 4 hours with the west. That gives us a unique position to cover half the world with our time overlap. With collaboration tools that are available today, we can successfully make global products out of India.

Another unique point about us is that our market is growing exponentially and a lot of companies are targeting the Indian markets for their next phase of growth and will look for local talent to localize their products and services. The other area to look forward to are the startups that are looking to build products having a global impact. Therefore, a person having product management expertise or looking for a career in product management has 3 areas to go after.

- Building product from India which is global in nature for a global company
- Building product which starts from here which could have a global impact
- Help a company localize their product for a developing market

What are the skills you look for while hiring a Product Manager? Passion, Domain expertise, communication skills or all three?

I think there are two parts to it. Skill is a given. They need to be at the base level. But what is more important is the will. Will basically transform a person to get skills. Skills can be more easily acquired if the person has the will. So willingness is more important than the ability for me. If a person is willing to learn a new domain he will be able to learn even if he doesn’t have the domain skill.

My need of skills may change based on the time in the product lifecycle. So when I hire a person, I hire for long term. His today’s skills might become irrelevant for business tomorrow. So what is important for me is his will and his ability to learn new skills quickly.

Do you think IPL’s courses on product management helps mid-career professionals transition into product roles?

Definitely yes. When I moved into product management there was no fixed curriculum or guidelines available. So what IPL has done is it has curated all the knowledge from the working professionals and charted a curriculum. I think that is a big advantage because it is focused on product management as a function. The interaction that happens with the industry and academia brings in the real value. They are not doing plain academics. They are able to get the practical aspect of it. It is very difficult to get people out of campus or industry to do product management role if they don't have any expertise. I think IPL bridges that gap very well.

This is the first time you have been a panel speaker here. How was your experience?

It was a great experience for me interacting with the panel itself. The energy which I saw in the crowd was magnetic and the questions which they ask where definitely insightful. I don't know how much people learnt from my experience, but I definitely learnt a lot from the questions itself and more so interacting with the people who are here.

3 take-aways:

- Willingness to acquire new skills is essential in a product manager, since skills may become irrelevant over a period of time in an agile environment
- India is uniquely positioned to cover half the world with respect to overlap in time, which should be used to collaborate with skilled people and build more global products
- A formally structured training curriculum is necessary to make the shift to product roles