In the last blog, I talked about Domain expertise – Does it really matter to a product manager? Question is how to gain domain expertise. I would like to tell 7 ways to do that –
- In-house Training – First things begin at home. Talk to your current product management team. Request for a training session on the domain know-how. Current PM would be the best guy to give you a good understanding on your product space.
- Market Research/ Survey – If you are conducting focused market research exercise as part of your PM work, you are going to gain a lot on your domain side of the product. As users are trying to give response as per their real life experiences, you can trust more on the data you get. However, the challenge lies on how well you define your survey, get inputs from the audience, analyse data and come out with realistic findings.
- Resources – Last but not the least, you may find free or paid resources all around. You need to invest time and money in attending webinars and reading blogs, industry reports and Books. The best part is that your employer is going to support you in your learning on the job.
Shout out to your customers. Get closer to them
- Customer Feedback Meetings – Schedule sessions with them for feedbacks as a part of your regular exercise. The software users at your customer site will directly jump on the business. They would have stories to tell if they are able to achieve for what they purchased your software. Since they are not technical guys but real business users, you may gain a significant knowledge on their businesses, what challenges do they face, how your software is able to solve their problems, or any gap they see in your product.
- Product Trainings – Also, as new features are rolled out, you can be a part of customer success team during trainings. Users would give you their quick feedback on the value they see in the new features which is going to give a greater understanding and confidence on the problems you have been trying to solve.
- Sales Calls – Be part of sales calls. As sales guys talk to prospects and pitch the product and its features to prospects, you would get a clarity on how the buyers perceive your software vis-a-vis his business problems you are trying to achieve. You would get a clear cut understanding on his business and problems he faces and hence you gain more insight into the process and domain you are dealing with.
- Events – I find events to be really enjoyable where you meet the people with similar interests who are open to share their knowledge and experience on the areas you most care about as a Product Manager. The best part is that you get to interact with the user personas, your competition and related stakeholders of your product space which opens doors to a lot of learning.