Who is a Product Leader? - Prabhas Sinha, Director, Product Management, CA Technologies

Prabhas Sinha is the Director of Product Management at CA Technologies. Edging on two decades of experience, he is a mentor at IPL and an advisor at the Leadership Legacy Academy. His areas of expertise involve New Initiatives, Growth Market identification, Business Planning, Go-To-Market Strategy, Financial Modeling and Product Roadmap planning.

The DILO event held recently at Hyderabad witnessed Prabhas sharing his knowledge on Product management as a keynote speaker. We caught up with him separately to have an informal chat about latest trends in product management.

What kind of skills will make a person ready to become a product leader?

When you talk about a product leader you are essentially picking up a problem that has not been solved and more importantly you monetize that problem solving. This is the skill that somebody would need. Somebody who has an eye for picking up problems and also have a good business sense on how to go about monetizing it. Product management as a function gives you those skills on how do you pick up an idea and go about building it as a repetitive offering that can cater to multiple clients, and then go about monetizing it. So it needs a good business sense, a good understanding of macro trends in the industry, a good understanding of your own corporate strategy as to where the organisation is going. The more you are in touch with thought leaders, the more you are tuned to your corporate strategy. That's what helps you.

Any specific competencies that you look for while hiring a product manager?

It’s a leadership role. You influence a large part of the organization. Therefore communication skills in terms of the way you write and the way you speak become very important so that people rally behind the proposal that you are making. You also have to understand that we are working in an age of a globally distributed team, so you are not only thinking about the team which is in front of your eyes, you are also thinking about the virtual teams to make sure that there is no virtual distance creeping in.

What are your suggestions for people looking to transition into a product role?

Go get some training. It is all about scaling. A surgeon is a good surgeon because he has been trained to do that work. Product management is an important and critical career. So go get the right training and right skills.. I remember, ten years back there was nothing like the institute of product leadership in India. When I picked up some of the folks for my team who had no product management experience, I had to fly down somebody from the US to do the training. So the point to be noted is that guys were trained before I expected anything out of them.

3 take-aways:

- It is important to be in constant touch with thought leaders to align yourself to the corporate strategy, which will, in turn, help you become a better product manager.
- A product leader think not only about the local team but also takes into consideration the teams spread out globally
- It is important to get the right training before taking up a product management role.

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