We would like to introduce our new Product Manager, Iulia Porneala. Her personal mission is to raise the success of the Product Management Festival to new heights.
First of all, let us congratulate you on joining the Product Management Festival team. Can you explain briefly to our readers what your role will be?
I am happy to be joining the team. The Product Management Festival is already a well established, and top-notch event for Product Managers to attend, the team has done a great job over the last 2 years. I look forward to bringing my expertise to this event and contributing so attendees can extract the maximum benefit. I will be building a strategic vision for the conference and work closely with the conference board, partners and customers to deliver a great experience. On a personal level, I’m looking forward to interact with all the professionals who will join us this year in Zürich and learn from them.
How are you related to product management and what does product management mean to you?
I spent the last 4 years working for a software company, building, designing and launching products. We managed to grow the customer base to over 100,000 monthly subscribers. It was a real success. A bootstrapped startup with an amazing growing rate. I cannot take all the credit though, the team members I worked with were very talented.
Starting out my career as a software developer wasn’t really fulfilling, often, I had the sense that I was missing out on something important. When I discovered Product Management I realized it is a role with a perfect mix of technology, business and user experience that I was looking for.
Who do you think is/was one of the best product managers out there?
I know it’s such a cliché, but I have to mention Steve Jobs, as he was one of the first who managed to bring together in his products many superlative aspects. Ok, so he wasn’t always original, but as Picasso said: “Good artists copy, great artists steal”.
What product do you love?
When it comes to hardware devices, I am a big fan of wearables, I rely on my fitbit® to track my physical activity. It is not totally innovative technology, as pedometers have been around for a while, but there is a huge potential on this market, we are not there yet, but in a few years we will be. I can imagine having a device that tracks my general health status, vitamin and mineral levels and tells me what kind of food I need to eat to stay healthy. I know it is most probably a leap into the future, it would be revolutionary, but I’m allowed to dream!
What do you think are the major challenges in product management right now?
One of the problems I have noticed in the area of product management is the segregation between classical product management, which means long release cycles, waterfall process and planning with one final release (sometimes without beta testing), and the new kids on the block who use Agile and use all kinds of cool terminology. Who is right? The fact is that both of these types of product managers are creating great products and driving growth in their organisations.
Those who have been a long time in their industry, know their customers well, manage complex products, have the advantage of experience and are often in more mature industries. The new comers (especially in the software/application industry) are fast on their feet, they are able to learn and they are experts in growth hacking, going from 0 to 1 Million users, but at the same time their failures are more often, and the lack of experience shows.
Why should somebody attend the Product Management Festival?
As a product manager one of the things I lacked was the possibility to discuss and network with my peers. Often you need the support of the community to learn. There is not too much information out there on best practices, so discussing with others and learning from their experience is invaluable.
The Product Management Festival not only brings a wide array of participants from many different industries to share the newest information in the discipline, but also offers an ideal environment to meet and exchange knowledge with experts, learn from others and of course give back by sharing your own failures and successes. The power of such a community is immense.
What books or blogs do you recommend?
The Product Manager’s Handbook by Linda Grochels was the stepping-stone for my knowledge in product management. Then, Marty Cagan’s Inspired: Creating Products Customers Love is a book that put a lot of things in perspective for me. For the big questions and challenges I have used Quora, there’s such an amazing community there and ProductHunt always puts a smile on my face with their quirky finds.
You can find out more and meet our team by joining the Product Management Festival on November 18-19 in Zürich.