‘Great teams make great products’

Over the last 45 years, David Fradin has designed 75 products, and hence the title “Guru of Product Management”.

Fradin now trains managers, sharing insights he has gained from stints with HP and Apple.

“Great teams make great products. Without passion, creating a successful product is impossible,” says Fradin, author of Building Insanely Great Products. Fradin is also advisor for Manipal ProLearn, a division of Manipal Global Education Services.

During an interaction with The Hindu, he draws parallels between human resource management and product management. He also dwells on the art of product management.

* What makes a good product manager?

I was recruited by Apple to bring the first hard disk drive on a PC to market. My leadership and management skills got me promoted as group product manager for Apple 3. I was given many responsibilities, but I did not have the “authority”. It takes courage and negotiation skills to gain authority, which any manager must have.

Most organisations fail to address the “responsibility vs authority” question, and this leads to confusion. In an organisation, roles and responsibilities must be drawn up clearly.

* What must a company do to become insanely great and build great products?

Six factors play an important role in building a great product: market research, customer loyalty, innovation and design, employees, systems and customers. The success of a product is tied to how well one understands what people want. Apple has come out with great products because they have made sure customer value is their key performance indicator.

* In India, what are the common barriers to building a great product?

Many Indian organisations are still very hierarchy-driven. A business grows faster when operations are decentralised.

*How do you develop a culture of innovation?

Give people the freedom to pursue what they think will succeed and back them in all their efforts.

Designing a product involves knowledge of multiple disciplines and working with various departments. Mindset, attitude, persuasiveness, negotiation skills and values help build a culture of innovation.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2021 12:35:20 PM |

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