Sylvain Grande, Chief Product Officer at PayFit, walks us through his twenty-plus years in product development and management and shares how the essence of successful product development lies in being close to the customer in both B2C and B2B domains. He also shares valuable tips for young and upcoming product leaders and discusses type one and type two decisions PMs take.

Details from the original source

Topics discussed:

  • Role of design in product development
  • Product leaders need to get close to their customers
  • Learning from failures
  • Advice to upcoming product leaders

Hot Takes and Key Highlights:

The Role of Design in Product Development
Sylvain is a product leader with a passion for design. He recalls his days at Nokia, where he developed Here Maps, the precursor to Google Maps. He was actively involved in UI design, which sparked his passion for design. He believes that the best products have minimalist designs, thereby making the product user-friendly. Sylvain believes that design is an integral part of the product development process.
“We had to really think about key design elements like offering one search field or two while minimizing any trade-offs”.

Customer Centricity and Product Development Go Hand in Hand
Customer centricity for a product leader has two aspects: how close you are to your team and an ongoing interaction and feedback loop from potential customers. While the latter is easier to do in the B2C domain, more B2B companies should include product leaders in client meetings. Listen to the podcast as Sylvain explains how customer empathy ties into product development.
“All feedback has its inherent biases, and as a product leader, you need to be able to sift that out when actioning the feedback”.

Treat Success and Failures as two Imposters
Success and failure go hand in hand for all product leaders and must be treated differently. The euphoria of successfully launching a product is often short-lived because something bigger and better will come along. On the other hand, failure is a time of introspection and learning because you learn something new every time you fail. Product leaders need to look at success and failure as two imposters and treat them as such.
“I think it’s important to take positives and learnings from both success and failure when looking at their overall impact”.

A Veteran’s Advice to Upcoming Product Leaders
Sylvain advises product leaders and team members to spend more time defining the project's scope and clarifying the priorities. Spending some more time at the start can prevent delays down the line. Next, explicitly communicate all trade-offs and their short- and long-term implications. Categorize all decisions as categories one and two, where one refers to revolving door decisions that can be changed down the line, and category two decisions are pivots that can’t be retracted. Listen in as Sylvain explains how product managers are multi-specialists and why they need to develop anchor skills.
“PMs, in a way, are multi-specialists, and while you can’t be a specialist at everything, you need to develop anchors in relevant fields”.