Product Management

November 16, 2022

So You Want to Be a Product Manager?

Live chat with Anne Kamunyu


Ayush: Hey everyone! Welcome to today's event with the entry level. We have Anne here with us today to talk all about product management. Before we jump into the AMA and ask a lot of questions to Anne, I'm just gonna go through a few slides to begin with. So, what is entry level?----Just a brief background on Entry level before we begin—--entry level is a learning platform where we help you learn and get experience so you can get hired. We have a bunch of different programs on offer—-from product management to financial analysts to digital marketing, ux design, and even …. analyst what's that, makes us stand out is that during our courses, you have to create a portfolio of work, for six weeks which you can use to show us work experience, and show the future and potential employers that you know how to do a particular job. To kickstart, I let's—-let's do a small Icebreaker and hear from everybody, so open up your chat and write down which city or country you're joining us from, so we can just get a sense of—--hope you can hear me now? yeah I think the others can hear me cool yeah—--so where's everyone joining from, which city you're from—-- just to say where everyone's from. All right, I guess people message whether joining us from so let's just keep on going; my name is Ayush, I am the learning designer at Entry level—-so I'm the one who helps the experts in the field create those programs and have better learning experience for our students. So, today's agenda is quite simple, we're going to talk to Anne. I have some questions prepared from all the questions that we submitted online and then we are going to open up the floor so you can ask the questions in chat or you can unmute yourselves. But before we start, be respectful in the chat—-you can message any questions if you have or any insights that you have, but please don't spam it and if you can, turn on your video—-we'd love to see the faces of everybody who's joining the call today, and if you have any questions that you'd like to ask, raise your hand so I can ask to unmute you because otherwise you can't unmute yourself. With that, let me introduce you to Anne. Anne is born and raised in Nairobi, and she is a core product manager at Kwara, which is a fintech startup. She's been in this space for about four years—-more than four years, and to hear more about her journey, I'm going to introduce Anne and my first question to you and is tell us a little bit about yourself, give us a introduction [Music].

Anne: Thank you so much Ayush for this platform and hi everyone.So my name is Anne Kampuago, currently a core product manager at Kwara, where we—kind of—-digitalize circles, so I believe outside Kenya they're more of cooperatives—-the cooperatives—-so in Kenya, we get to digitalize them from the previous way of them being very, very manual so far as building a platform for them—-for the core banking platform—-for the circle's members to actually even have an app for them, and finally what you call like an open API where these circles can integrate with banks or any other financial institution for their members to be able to transact as easy as possible. So, joined Kwara in 2021, December the 14th----almost an year next month, at Kwara—-previously, I was, I started off at M-kopa, so M-kopa was more of erm, that's why I got to build my career because I started off as a customer care representative and then got into basically the onboarding process at M-kopa where we were onboarding new members.Right now—I know most of you know M-kopa, they are right now into the phone selling industry and I was the team that started off the solar side and now getting into the phones and basically the whole transition. I started off as in customer care, I  think as I mentioned, back in 2015, I think that's where I kind of got into loving the product without even knowing, because that's where I got into product, to get into a project officer role. So what was I doing there? I was listening to what the tech team, then the product managers, the engineering, whatever field, then I get to make that information in a way that the customer care team can be able to assimilate, and be able to help customers who call the call center. So after that, got into a business analyst but I'd say I didn't do a lot of business analyst role, I got into product management without knowing I'd say it was more of baptism by fire(laughs) because no one else at that point basically knew what the product was all about, because there was transition that was happening with the company then so,that's why I got into product management at M-kopa, was able to build a couple of products before leaving which I'm proud of, and they got to help me build a career up to where I'm at right now so at M-kopa, it was more of, it's an incubation and now getting into understanding product management with what I mentioned there's baptism by fire—-doing it without knowing, then yeah I was able to kind of get into the field, build a lot of networking, networks with people who have done it, and they have experience—-mentors—guys that I looked up to when I was at M-kopa, and yeah that's why I'm at Kwara right now and looking forward to building features that generate revenue for their business, impact the customers that we get to deal with, so that means the circle administration and also the members of the circle. 

Ayush: Amazing, thank you for the great introduction. I love that your journey started from working in customer service, and then briefly doing business analysis, and, and then like now you're a product manager. 

Anne: Yeah.

Ayush: A lot of students had this question which like a lot of people just generally ask as well, like how to how to transition from a different industry into product management. So maybe they're working in, either they're into design, or maybe they're into technology, or softwares, or they're into the more customer facing roles such as yourself, or they're into banking, yeah so would you, would you, what would you, what would you say to those people who are considering a shift from a different role? So like yeah from, from a non-product focused role to a product focused role, what would you, what would you tell them?

Anne: Number one thing I think—and I I wish I knew this way before—- is you need to know that you'll be dealing with so many stakeholders, that's one thing that I didn't know then that I've learned over time. So one you need to know if you love product management because it's dynamic; you'll deal with a lot of people, you'll get a lot of customer requests from left, right and center, how do you prioritize them? How do you tell no to the CEO because I think on, on my introduction on the entry level website, I mentioned that as a product manager you're known to be a CEO of saying no and you're saying no to people that will fire you, they may fire you if you say no, so you just need to know how to manage them because at the end of the day, you can't build everything at the same time, you'll need to prioritize, you need to learn to say no and yes when needed because not every time you just say no because it will kind of build a negative image especially with the stakeholders that you get to deal with. Yeah, so I'd say first love pro, the product, you need to know you're dealing with, so many stakeholders. Number three, you also need to be a lover of listening to the customer. So a customer can be a B2B product or a B2C, B2B meaning business to business or B2C—-business to customer, so you need to understand the product that you're building; do you have the love of listening to these clients?, do you have the love of listening to these customers?, do you want to offer solution to them?----it might be a technical solution or even just a process solution—-that they might need for them to feel that they're being listened to. So, those are the key points I'd say that you would want and the last thing which is very, very key, you need to love to read(laughs). Not so many people love reading but reading is very, very critical because right now the world is really moving, especially in the tech industry things are moving every now and then, every day we get new technology coming in—-just needs to be up to speed, get the right people; people meaning Network and you'll be at a good place for you to transition. 

Ayush: So awesome. I just made a couple of notes, and I share that in the chat of what I heard from from you, and everything makes sense—-you need to be know that you'll be talking to a lot of people, and need to love talking to customers, and need to love the product as well. Yeah, so the building, that I would like to know what's your day-to-day look like on your—-I mean, or like a half days, very short, so maybe what an average week looks like for you in your role as a product manager.

Anne: Yeah so as a product manager, you'l,l you'll have two phases in feature building—-you'll have the product discovery session, you'll have the product development session—-so it depends with the company that you're working for or you intend to work for because we have, if it's an agile organization, there's the Sprint ceremonies—-you'll need to run product discovery where you are talking to the clients—-what I've mentioned you need to listen to the to their customers for you to come up with solutions that work for them, not for you, solutions for them, so I'd say in a day-to-day, I'd say like in a way it might depend if it's a development, a product development week which now I'm talking to the engineers, I'm talking to the scrum master, I'm talking to the tech lead who is going to help me in scoping of these features, the tech team will be able to, kind of,  help me understand the product from a technical perspective—-yeah so there's a product perspective, and also the technical perspective, so you need to be able to understand that because at the end of it all, what you will be told by these engineers, that's what you'll be able to make it in a way that the stakeholders that is the CEO, the COO, who are not as technical as the guys that you're dealing with, you'll be able to manage them—-tell them that the mvp, this is when a tentative deadline, this is when this product is gonna come out, so I'd say it depends with which phase you're in, so if it's the product Discovery you'll spend most of your time with the clients, getting to understand their issue and working very closely with a designer if there's that need. Right now, Kenya is also in that space of accepting designers and researchers into the product management space so you need to be able to distinguish; is it the product discovery session?, Is it the product development phase? or Is it even the market launch week? Meaning,are you going live? are you are you going commercial? is it a pilot? how do you deal with the marketing team in terms of, of, of, what you're launching—-whether it's, it's a pilot or even just a market launch. So I'd say, product management it's, it's more of a cycle you never get to an end that say “Hey, now it's done” because once you even get to launch the product, you need to go back to the user to get to understand—what I've built for you, is it working for you? or is it not working for you, well how can we make it better? so it's up, it's more of a circular motion that never comes to an end. 

Ayush: Absolutely, you're absolutely right and maybe like at some points product managers might be working on multiple features or different products as well,so it's like you might be in discovery phase for one feature and might be in the development phase(12:54) or like maybe just doing user testing on a different product.

Anne: Absolutely. 

Ayush: So I hope that most of the students questions—-because that was, that question was as. Before I ask my next question, I would also invite everyone that who's watching to ask questions to Anne you can put it in the chat, and I can ask them on your behalf, and or if you would like to come up just raise your hand, and you know in a few minutes I can unmute you and you can ask your questions. So, and “you mentioned that some organizations use Agile methodology as well in your previous answer so that makes me think about Scrum and Scrum Masters, because some organizations also have that. So, when someone is learning product management is how important is knowing about scrum, and those project do sometimes product managers have to work as a scrum Master as well, or how important is that information according to you?”

Anne: According to my experience, it has really helped me so I'd say it will be like an added badge on your CV if you can actually run a team or a squad using the Agile process, so if the organization is an Agile, you need to also understand what does Agile mean?, what do the ceremonies mean? what does refinement mean?, what does Sprint planning, retro, what are all these things? You need to also be at a space that you understand—-in case you do not you'll be—-you might find a little bit of challenge because during or rather in an organization that's an Agile platform, they'll come up and ask you; “when do we intend to have, like an MVP out? I mean an MVP is more of a minimum viable product. Minimum viable product meaning, yes we want for example a phone we want like an iPhone 14 out as of yesterday, what how can we get iPhone, how can we get iPhone 14 out for us to get to test? You know as for us to come back with feedback, then we can now do the market launch. So in an agile space, you need to know how this spring ceremonies are run because I've seen if not, you might have, like you'll have kind of, you, you're rubbing shoulders with the wrong people because you've not, kind of, manage stakeholders and also the engineers because these engineers also need to be at a space that they understand what's Scrum ceremonies are all about. 

Ayush: Amazing, thank you. Thank you for clarifying that and I was actually just recreating our….like a product management course, and I was on the MVP module, and where this is a famous, I think like an image out there—-where when you're building an MVP, what's the least you can do to get feedback from the market? and there's this image of when if you're building a car, you won't just, like, build up like, build a tire, and then the base, and then the build, but you would instead, like maybe start with the skateboard, then go to a bicycle, and then a motorbike, and then a car—-that's not, like, that just explains how in product management, you would build the smallest possible function that, like, achieve something and then move on to the next, so that makes a lot of sense. Okay, I'm gonna go to a couple of questions in the chat—-Sumeeth is asking “what technical knowledge do, like, does a product manager require, or what they should focus on when getting started”...

Anne: For me….

Ayush: Or maybe I would say also like technical knowledge, hard skills, so there's soft skills which we require as like, knowing how to talk to customers, and managing, like, being better communicators and deciding, but what are some technical hard skills that we should….

Anne: The technical side of things. For me, I did not, I did not come from a technical background. Let me talk about my experience, I did not come from a technical background, I kind of, I grew into it. Yeah, so I'd say first of all, I think there are those who say that until they become technical, that's when they can get into product management—--it's not always the case, there are scenarios that you'll get to grow into it. Technical skills that you may need for you to get, like, the upper hand, to give you the competitive advantage out there, I'd say is the roadmap preparation. So roadmap preparation is something very sensitive especially for internal and external stakeholders, so there are scenarios that will be building with internal stakeholders; maybe these are guys within your organization or external, you're building a B2B product, you'll be, you should be able to manage these guys, so product roadmap strategy you need to come up with at a space that you're able to come up with 2023 strategy. Like right now, that's what I'm thinking of and you need to support your strategy with data, you need to support for you to get that buying from, from the highest stakeholder management because these are the guys that are going to generate—-they're going to give you this money—-for you to build a feature that is going to return back money to the business so I'd say strategy product management and one thing that I have seen most of the product managers struggle with is stakeholder management, which stakeholder management can be the engineers—-the engineers are also your stakeholders, the CEO is also your stakeholder, even that end consumer who's going to, who's going to use your product is also your, your stakeholder so you need to be at a space that you're able to manage these guys and not take it personal—-they're asking because they want this product. They're those who get agitated when they are asked about timelines, they should not be angry or take it very personal—--that ayush is coming at me—-no, it's just they want to be able to manage themselves like yes, tentatively, and said the 31st of December this is when this is gonna, so in case you do not meet that, maybe by a week, they, they're already prepared. So I'd say those are the ones that I feel that the technical  skills that you may need to have, so you don't need to be extremely technical—-you can read a code because I do, you can write a code which is also an added advantage, but most of the times I wouldn't tell someone that they can't be a proper product manager because they do not know how to code.

Ayush: Awesome. Thanks Ann….Before I want to, people who have, want to ask questions by voice, would you—-could you clarify the difference between a product manager, a product owner, and also a project manager? So like these three things are like, sometimes people get confused between all three; so we already know what product manager is but, like, if you can compare them to product owner and project manager, that would be very helpful.

Anne: Good. So a product manager is in charge of the roadmap; they're in charge of the, I'd say, revenue driven strategy for the business, they're in charge of the vision—the product vision—-they are in charge of the ideas, and they're in charge of market launch, they're in charge of deadlines. So the product manager is kind of, I'd say, as I mentioned the CEO of this product—-you're the CEO of, of products that you get to build. A product owner on the other hand, they're supposed to help the product manager deliver the product or the vision of this company, so that's the difference between a product manager and a product owner—-so the product owner will work very closely with the engineers, they will not do a lot of product discovery but the product manager can be at a space that they do everything, but a product owner they are dedicated to the engineers, they get to answer any questions that the engineers are asking during refinement during UI/UX conversations or even technical conversations with the engineers and even you know, giving now the product manager “yes, we agreed on this date probably we have a bump that has come up, that will delay delivery of a product”, so the product owner works very closely with the product manager. The other one you mentioned is a project manager. So as a project manager is in charge of, I'd say, timeline. Yeah, they do not do any product research, they do not do any UI, they do not carry out product development, they don't go whipping the engineers(laughs), then they just come and ask the product manager/the product owner “when we said we will meet this, the deadline, when do we intend to go live?” But then it's just kind of whipping people to do their job, product, the project manager, they kind of whip guys to do their jobs but the product manager is more of  that's a strategy roadmap, market launch and all that, product owner they are working very closely with the engineers. 

Ayush: Awesome. Thank you and that helps if I, all the things, and I think I'm gonna ask James to unmute now—if he wants to ask his question—and then someone asks about the recording; yes! we will share the recording later on of this event. James if you'd like to ask your questions, you can unmute yourself.

James: Hi everyone. Yeah this is James from the UK .So actually I, the question I asked earlier was “what's the difference between a product manager and a project manager?” because here in the UK, I’m a project manager—-I've done some certifications like the Princeton foundation and practitioner PMP—-but then again I don't have the the field experience—-not that I don't have it—-like I have the field experience in waterfall, traditional but not in agile because I'm trying to trans, transition into I.T project manager. So a friend of mine just introduced me to this and I'm like “okay, no problem, let me just let, let me crack on and all”. So I just, I just wanted—-because it actually sounds like almost the same, it's like they do almost the same thing, the products manager and project manager—-so I'm just trying to know like what's the difference? It's all like the same thing because you know the project manager like they just make sure they're like a Servant leadership, they make sure they get everything done for the team like, make sure they remove obstacles, impediment,    stops like that. So is it, is there like, is that like that for a product manager? Also yeah like you said earlier, the project manager—-they don't really do anything—-yeah, yeah that's it, but the product manager, just like you said, they are not the one doing it—-it’s the engineers that does it, so is it like the same thing. So that, that's my question, thank you.

Anne: Okay, thanks James. To answer your question especially for the product manager,, you'll find that most of the time, they get to spend time with the end consumer of these products—-—-that's what you call product research——-you get to deal with the, with the guys, you get to talk to them,, understand their problem, and come up with solutions. So a project manager doesn't come up with solutions, as I mentioned, they kind of, whip people to do their job but a product manager, they get to understand this need that is out there, or for the market niche, and they get to come up with ideas or solutions that will, will be available now to, to this consumer. So for an I.T project manager, in some companies and something I wanted to also mention, some companies they don't get, they don't understand the difference and I've seen guys really struggle to get their stability into the market space. So for some companies, especially the ones that are not fintech; they get to make the project manager do the product management role….so you find that that's where the whole confusion comes in, but in a nutshell, a product manager, they kind of, deal with the roadmap, they they do a lot of research come up with ideas that offer solutions at the end of the day, so for certification they really help; they kind of give you that, that upper hand but I'd say from my experience and the certifications that I've already done especially from Product Focus, Coursera, Udemy, and many others, I'd say what you learn especially in the product management space, what you see online, and what you actually do they’re kind of different, and no one tells you about it until you get into it, where you're now dealing with different kinds of people; there's a stakeholder who just wants to be updated on a weekly basis, some just want “et's work as we have coffee”, and they they just want to share an update, so I'd say project management–-product management is kind of confused especially for companies that are not fintech—-for companies that are fintech, they actually understand that a product manager is in charge of; yes the whole vision, the whole roadmap conversation, but for the project managers, they are kind of just whiping people to their jobs and meeting deadlines, and the project managers, they're the guys that now the B2B or the B2C depending on the, on the, on the clients, they're the ones that will be asked; “you said this, this was the date when, why are we not meeting?’ so I hope that answers your question, James? 

Ayush: Awesome, thanks and, and I think just to like build on what the one part you said about product managers coming up with ideas and Solutions; just like to put it into context and give an example,maybe let's imagine Airbnb which everybody knows as as a product, and a product manager at Airbnb might be the one who's coming up with new solutions for tourists or coming up with new ideas that they could do, so they launched Airbnb experiences where you can do that virtually. During code a product manager, project manager would not be able, like, would not be have the role to come up with those ideas and manage it but a product manager might get that idea from someone in the company or through research, and then they will be the one responsible for doing the research on that, testing it out, finding out the assumptions, and going through that whole product management process, while the project manager would when they actually launched it for example, project manager might just to be responsible for making sure the tech team is working on, like, schedule to deliver it, and even just like making sure all the other things are in place for example regulatory approvals or, or like you would need people to offer those experiences online because it's a marketplace, a project manager might ensure everything is up to place, so just taking care of logistics that's sort of my understanding from everything.

Anne: It is. yeah it is, it is and just to add on to that is that project managers can give product managers ideas, so it's not that the product manager has to come up with them solely, they can do research as Ayush has said, they can listen to internal stakeholders and the project manager is also one of them—they can kind of, give an idea but it's up to the product manager to now get the win at say, from the higher stakeholder managers that, “yes, when we build this virtual Airbnb, it will bring us 50% or an increase in revenue close to that” so that's, that's just an example of how a project manager can even work very closely with a product manager. 

Ayush: Yep, awesome…. So we do have a lot of questions—a lot of, a lot of people who want to ask questions as well— I'm gonna quickly just skim through the questions in the chat, and then go to people who have their hands raised, and we're gonna get away from questions which talk about differences between product-project owners and operation managers, and there's a lot of information on Google everybody; so just Google and find out what's the difference. I think there's one question which I can quickly answer is like “why do some software companies prefer technical product managers to generalized?”. I think, I mean, that's just sort of because they're into the software field and they would prefer to have someone who understands how to code, how do APIS work, how do web hooks work, so they don't have to train them because their core product is a software product not a service product for example, and someone also asked about not being able to pay for a course on entry level; I think for that you can just email our support email, and they would be able to help you get into the program….and cool now I'm gonna move on to Sumeeth who has his hand up for a while, so if you want to ask your question Sumeeth, I can ask to unmute you(pause). Are you there?(pause) All right,.....Suleiman if he wants to ask his question(pause).

Suleiman: Hello,hello,...

Anne: Yes we can hear you. 

Suleiman: Right, Suleiman here. So, I've got a question: I heard you talking about a product owner being the one to remove impediments from the way for the software guys that willl be working on whatever products you're trying to build  for instance, well to the best of my understanding, I believe if we have a product owner, the product owner is going to be in a team of … it's going to be in his Scrum team, I believe it's Scrum Master is the one that's going to do that—-removing impedements and making sure everybody is fine, or am I wrong? Because this is what I understand from what I learned about a Scrum Master being a part of aScrum team, the Chrome Master gets to do the bit of taking care of impediments and making sure everybody is fine whereas, the product owner is the person behind the idea of the product they are trying to build. So I had somebody saying these the other time, and I, I don't know, I just want to be clear whether what I'm saying is right, or what I'm saying is wrong.

Anne: Thanks Suleiman. Yes,  there are those companies that embed the Scrum Master to also be a product owner but ideally, the truth is the product owner is the one who acts very closely with the product manager so the product manager comes up with this idea and it's won by the stakeholder, so the product owner now picks that up and specs that out in terms of, if it's user stories, wireframes that will be helpful for the engineers to actually understand what we are building, and for the product owner, they'll be at a better space explaining to the technical team why we are building this feature. A scrum Master to be honest, they only you know, talk about how much effort is this, how long will this take for us to deliver, but a product owner they’re in a better space to explain; “we are building this for us to to get a revenue of, you know, x amount as a business” because that's what has been injected from the product manager to the product owner—- the Scrum Master may not be at a space that they understand the consumer—-remember at the end of the day, we are building features that will be consumed by either the business or the customer so we need us, we need someone who actually understands even the business rules, what are the edge cases that need to be captured, so the scrum Master helps, helps the product owner get a win in this, in and this I mean by the feature that we are building, so the scrum Master from my experience ,they tend to not understand the business side of things, they understand maybe from the technical side, but they are at a space that they're able to tell “...and yes this is a five” for example, “...and it might take two sprints”—two sprints meaning four weeks. Yeah for me, that yeah, that has been my experience and it has, it has, it has brought a lot of light in just understanding the product management process. 

Ayush: Awesome and I think one key thing to understand is that I mean all of these are, like even though they've been around for a while but like, everything has become so trendy now like Scrum master and like Agile like buzzwords, and in some startups like, for example at entry level, we don't have a Scrum Master but we have product manager which usually does the job of….he works with the developers to manage, he's the scrum master or he's the product owner like, he does everything. In big companies, you might have like, people for different parts of the role but in young startups one person does everything, and sometimes there's no product managers, the CEO is the product manager.

Anne: Yes true(laughs). Yeah most of the times, the CEO just sleeps and wakes up they have an idea, they come send it to you, you need to make sure that that dream comes true(laughs). So those are some of the challenges that you get to to meet on our day-to-day as product managers .

Ayush: Exactly. All right, before I move on to some other people, I have a question which someone asked in the chat and then a lot of people also submitted which is around job search. So when when someone starts trying to get into product management and is new in the field, maybe they have experience in other Industries or maybe they just graduated from from let's say uni, and they have done a course online on product management, they have a certificate, it's still really hard these days to like find a job and especially product management it comes with, because it's, it's, it's usually not an entry level job at most companies—they expect require some sort of experience either in the industry or or like in a different role as, as you moved in from one another. What would your advice be for someone who wants to get started—-what could they do, how can they maybe get an internship, or like what are some tips or advice that would you have for someone who wants to launch their career into product management?

Anne: Good. Yeah, I think I've had that event with the guys that I get to mentor, even at ADP list so and right now everyone wants to get into the product management, it seems to be the newest baby in town but in terms of getting into internship, one thing that I have seen work for me, is just being persistent, being persistent and that means make sure that your LinkedIn shows that you have all these experiences that product managers need, minimum viable credentials or standards for you to be a product manager and number two as I mentioned, LinkedIn has to be updated, your CV needs to show that you're actually doing something towards getting there, if you've not really gotten even the internship. Number three, you'll get these opportunities on LinkedIn. LinkedIn nowadays, guys don't have to go drop a CV somewhere for them to get a job like on LinkedIn, people are looking for product managers, so this is something that I always tell people; if you see like, there's a product manager role, why don't you look for the person who's recruiting the product management docket in that company? DM them, just ask them “do you have like, a role that I can start up with? You know, that's you taking the initiative to not wait for this job to find you, but you are actually looking for that job. So for me, that has, that has been one of the skills that I'd say has helped and number two, make sure that you have a network of guys that are in the same industry as you, so I can't be a product manager and—-quote unquote—hanging out with sales people, there's no way I'll get the newest trends in product management, there's no way I'll get the newest jobs, or the newest technology skills that I need to upskill myself with. So I'd say, make sure that you're, you're in product, you want to get into product management, be at a space that you are ready for it, and ready for it you are poking the right people, you're poking the right people, you you're having, you're reading a lot as I mentioned, and make sure that you're ready for the job. Trust me it will, it will absolutely come but make sure you poke the right people, and the right people—most of the time you'll find them on LinkedIn, honestly.

Ayush: Yeah. Amazing, yeah and so people who want to learn how to use LinkedIn better, we have a, we conducted a workshop last month on using LinkedIn which we will do again maybe next year, so check that out. LinkedIn can unlock a lot of, yeah and I mean to be, like to give you example, I reached out to Anne on LinkedIn and for this event, so yeah LinkedIn definitely helps with making better connections, and which can eventually maybe help you with finding a new job. I think Sumeeth is….

Sumeeth: Yeah, hi Anne.

Anne: Hi

Sumeeth: So I was actually thinking that if yeah…. for moving to product manager role but does it really require spending time on gaining knowledge first and then moving on to this role?

Anne: I think you, kind of, broke the first two seconds but let me just rephrase what I understand your question: “is, is for me to be a proper product manager, do I concentrate on understanding the context or getting into the job?” did I get your question right?

Sumeeth: Yeah, so recently moved into a Scrum Master role, my experience—-whatever I learned as a Scrum Master—will that be useful to move into a product manager?

Anne: Take. Absolutely! that will actually help you when you're looking for this job as a product manager. Why? Because you work very closely with a product manager, you've worked with a tech team, an engineering team, and you're able to to manage them because the number one thing that you, we need to know as a product manager I mentioned; the stakeholder management, and for you as a Scrum Master, you've already gotten that skill of managing the technical team, and these are the guys that are going to build this feature,  and this feature is what we need to take it out for us to make money. So I'd say, once you're a Scrum Master, it's already an added advantage for you, once you're getting into the product management space because you already understand what, first of all you understand what a minimum viable product is, you understand if it's documentation—for the technical team, you understand what the product manager needs for them to be successful, and building these features, and you're able able to basically know something that you need maybe to work on if you've not, it's to understand that the business needs, why are we building this feature?,  what issue are we offering?, or which technical solution are we offering by building this feature?, and now all this making sure that data supports—yeah in terms of the feature that you're building you can never go wrong with numbers. Numbers never lie, so once you get to understand that numbers never lie, trust me you've gotten the Scrum Master, you have the Scrum Master hat, product management will be easy for you as you transition.

Sumeeth: But, but does it also require cost and budgeting knowledge? Because I am not involved in, you know, looking into the budgets of the project etc.

Anne: For me, right now, I'm still also getting good at budgeting right now. So I'd say it's not, it's something that you get to learn as you go, it's not something that we can say that without this you cannot. One thing that might be very, very helpful is for you to interpret data. Yeah, interpretation of data, saying that this is where the drop-off is, this is the number of guys that are able to log into my app, and they did not proceed beyond this step, why?, is it that the process is is cumbersome for the user. Now, this is where now you go back to the use, to the users to basically understand; why are they dropping off(43:03)? So, I'd say interpretation of data is something very critical and once you get that right, budgeting will automatically be followed after that it will be easy. 

Sumeeth: ……

Ayush: Thanks and thanks so much for your questions. Another one from Alice, if you want to ask your questions, you can unmute yourself. 

Alice: Hello, I'm just calling from now, I'm saying calling(laughs), I'm from London actually, I, I just wanted to ask Anne—I think it was actually a few minutes ago she was actually giving a little bit of overall the the technical school, the technical skill of product manager and she mentioned the road, the road map preparation and I, I was wondering if it will be possible for you to kind of, like elaborate a little bit for me, and another question is because I am someone who come from….. I am currently working in fashion and buying and I'm, I'm trying to kind of like, change my career path, and you know product management is something that really, really interests me a lot—-I get really excited—I've been learning quite a lot and I was wondering if there's any way, you know, in a website to kind of like, learn more about the tech industry because I know a lot about fashion industry, you know, I can just stop anywhere—not the biggest website—and to do my research, it's you know, to know, you know, having to raise awareness of the product knowledge and so I can actually, you know, apply that to my customers. So I just wanted to know if you can give me some tips on that because I'm currently doing the, the level, the level one entry level in management.

Anne: Yeah, thank you. Oh good, I'll start with the second question; the second question you're talking, you're asking about where do you get all these skills or information so I'd say entry level, perfect start. Number two, you can use, you can go to Product School website that has been very, very instrumental in me understanding what product management is. So Product School, Product focus, and Udemy, and Coursera; those are five platforms that really will really,really help and the last two Udemy and Coursera, they will even, you'll even have certifications, maybe ten dollars in product management, 12 dollars, so there you'll get as much information as you can. Product school stands out to be the the number one for me because they don't sugarcoat, and they're very clear like this is process one, process two process three, and for you to get to the end goal, this is how you need to do it. So that's it. For the roadmap, so for…. what I mean by a roadmap is by end of 2022, by the time we were starting 2021 January, as Kwara, where did we want to be by the time we are getting into 2022 December? So that's for me to come up with features or ideas that will help us as a business get to achieve our goal because at the end of the day, we are not here to, you know, get—yes we want to be paid—-but as a business, they also want to generate revenue and for them to generate revenue, we need to build features that, you know, take us to that direction. So the roadmap is basically showing, for us to get to maybe this amount of money as revenue, this is what we need to build; maybe increase the number of users that log in into our app and transact for example, so those are some of the it's basically a breakdown of pieces or enhancements or epics—-I call them epics or features—-that will help us get into achieving our goal as a business. So it will depend with the company goal. So if the company, maybe it's a startup and they just want to kick off, so you, you need to ask yourself as as a product manager: “how will, will I help, for example Kwara, get into just the starting motion?” So basically, come up with processes or things that will help ,help Kwara get into that space, so and then you get to present that to the stakeholders, I think Ayush mentioned, most of the startups, the CEO is is the, the start and the end ,so you need to present that to them, and using data you'll be at a place that you say “yes once we do the first step, this is what we expect to win ,we do the Second Step, this is where you you get to win” and then with that, show the incremental the, the increase in, in, in what you're trying to help the business achieve physically. And the roadmap needs to be very, very strategic because those scenarios, will go present a road map and they're like “no, no, no. We don't actually agree with that, and I still believe”----the CEO says they still believe in that dream, that they had yesterday “let's build it right now”, So make sure that your roadmap is very, very strategic and it can be won by any person that just looks at it. 

Ayush: Awesome, thanks and, and just to add on; the product roadmap, we don't have like, so for our product management course, someone is doing it or considering doing it, we don't include roadmaps in the first course because the first course is more of a beginner course focused just on the Discovery side and in the second course that we're currently building, we're going to talk more about wireframing, documentation, product strategy, and product roadmaps and how to set objectives and metrics for your, for your products, and we actually worked on the product roadmap module where there's like, three, I think, one key thing was that I learned, was this thing like, to make a good roadmap, you will need to like, especially on the higher level, learn the three layers of a roadmap; the first one is the, the Strategic roadmap—the initiatives that the high level goals of the business that we want to achieve. maybe this quarter—-which then we talk about the product roadmap which flows from the initiative, so maybe your initiative is to increase bookings by 10% for your mobile application, and then you talk about what products can come up from that, and then from the product roadmap there's the feature roadmap, so what specific features you need to build, and different product managers can own different parts of that roadmap, and because it's company-wide things. So if you are interested into learning more about product road maps, we will have that course ready, next, next year(laughs), in maybe, maybe two months, and, and I can assure it's very comprehensive. Awesome, I think maybe we have time for one last question for someone to ask, I'm gonna, Kayode has his hand up, and let's see if you have time for another one and then we can start wrapping up. Kayode, if you are still there…

Kayode: Yes. Hello, hello Anne, Hi Ayush, Hello everyone. So my question is, in becoming a PM right, is it essential to know about product led growth, product marketing and product design? 

Anne: Absolutely. It will really, really help you build features that, first of all you'll be proud of, and to then offer submissions. So, so product led…. yes absolutely, before I think it has been ,it has been the CEO saying that they want this and it's been so product led growth, yes and the other thing that you've mentioned is?

Kayode: Product, product marketing, and then product design. 

Anne: Design is very, very critical, especially in the fintech industry. I'll go run a research for example, and there is need for a design, I'll need to work very, very closely with the product designer. Right now, I have a product designer that you work very closely with, so this is the person that you kind of, carry them like, your handbag, to any product research that you get to do so that they can be able to understand the needs that we are trying to offer to these guys. So this is the person that will come up, will understand not only from me telling them but they can also see from a user's perspective “what do they need to do?”. So you, product research is very critical, product design is very, very critical because at the end of it, only want guys to use this app and for them to use this app, it has to be into the simplest way for them to navigate as easy as possible because if you make an app that's complex for a user, trust me no one will download. I'll use a very good example as when WhatsApp came honestly, it's a friend of mine who installed it for me. So if you build like an app that is very, very easy to use you, first of all you'll have dealt with a product designer—-that's someone who has—they understand “yes what they need is” from a design perspective but from a product perspective as well ,they need to do that so that when the product is, maybe on a pilot or even on launch, these guys they'll be at a place that they'll be the one selling this product for you like, someone will download this feature for you——they'll do it like “Hey, try this” because maybe there are those tokens that they get to get when they refer someone, but two, it's a product that they first of all are proud to use then someone else will be able to use it. Product marketing, yes these are people that you get to work with especially when you're launching a product; I advocate for when you're launching a product especially if it's a huge product for the business, product marketing team will be very, very helpful because they, they understand the the corners of, of the market as far as that organisation is concerned for example, like for Kwara, we understand we need to make sure that CEOs of these circles are aware or the members of these circles are aware that we are launching a new app for them, for them to be able to transact, so I'd say product management is a cycle like, it',s it's a circular motion honestly, and I said you deal with so many stakeholders—-product marketing being one of them—-and you're working very closely with them, it will be very easy for you to try, to, to be able to launch this product whether it's a pilot or a market, or a launch that you want to learn, that you want to do for these features that you get to build.

Kayode:  All right, so the second level, my question is: is there a direct correlation right, between product marketing, product led growth, and product roadmap, and strategy?

Anne: Yes it is related because remember, for you to have a roadmap, you need to have a product that you want to launch. Yeah? So, but by the time you're coming up with a roadmap, you need to come up with a product and for you to get this product, this roadmap needs to support it, and once it's supported, once it's developed, we'll be at a space that we are able to launch, that's whether now the product marketing team comes in but again you don't include the marketing team when you're almost going to launch, make sure that they are included even during the specing of this feature or even the development phase together with the scrum master, so that they are able to, kind of, manage themselves and be sure that this is the date, that tentative date, that we want to launch this and then they'll be able to come up with, you know, marketing materials, information going out whether it's social media, or sending out emails, or sms's in whatever, or YouTube advertisements, that we come up with, so it's moreover, they are all related because you need to have a product that you need, to have a product, you to have a roadmap, and for you to, to have the product launched, which deals with marketing. 

Kayode: All right, thank you so much and yeah for you Ayush, like, the the PM module 2: is it going to encompass all what you just discussed? 

Ayush: So, can you repeat that question?

Anne: (Garbeld talk in the background) 

Kayode: I think it's product marketing, product led growth, strategy roadmap, everything?

Ayush: Strategy roadmap, everything, yes but not product marketing and growth because we have a different course called growth marketing which includes all the things that, because growth in itself is—-product marketing is a Big Field, it's huge—and there's a lot of like, a lot you can do in product marketing to like, organic marketing to even like, analytics of those those stuff as well, which brings in data so we have a separate course for that which you can check out and, yeah, but the next course will cover more in design: how to, how to become a better like, understand design and create wireframes, how to create a product strategy, how to set objectives and metrics and OKRs for your product, how to, we'll also talk about the, the pilot metrics—the acquisition, activation, retention, and referral—-the metrics on that which, which is what you learn in growth as well so there's a little bit of growth that we talk about but not all.

Kayode: Right, so yeah, so the next question is: do you have visibility as to when next year the module is going to be released? Is it going to be in Q1 or Q2? 

Ayush: Yeah it will be very soon, we'll, probably, probably in January or like, end of January, should be there.  

Kayode: Thank you so much, thank you.

Ayush: We have, we're in overtime, so thank you everybody for joining. I'll start wrapping up now and I know we we had like, we had over 1 000 people sign up for this event so, and the zoom limit is, in hundreds and there's like a lot of questions that we're already there, and so many students had their hands up but unfortunately we could not get to them. Yes, there will be a replay for those who were asking, and for Anne, last question would be before I'm just gonna start wrapping up but the last question is: if someone wants to reach out to you or connect with you, how can they do that? Where can they find you?

Anne: Yeah, so I'm available on all social media platforms not on Snapchat though, on LinkedIn you can find me on LinkedIn; @Kamuyo, you can find me on Instagram @Kamuyo as well, you can find me on Facebook as well. So on all social media, feel free to chat me, and don't just say hi, hi, hi, especially on Linkedin, just say hi straight to the point; this is what you need, I'll be at a space to help and answer any questions.

Ayush: Awesome and you can even find her on ADP list too.

Anne: Yes, yes, thank you Ayush.

Ayush: Yes, yeah and get a book a mentoing session but if you do it be prepared to ask good questions because not questions, that you can…., questions that you actually like and can help with. Awesome thanks and, and just to just to wrap it up, if someone considering a career in product management or want to learn more, you can check out our product management level one program which talks about corporate management; we talk about the discovery session, product validation using MVPs, prototypes, and the prioritisation frameworks, and largely working as a product manager, and our November cohort just started last week so you can't sign up for that ,but if you wait until starting on the January cohort ,we are revamping the course and making more edits to the course so you can get access to that as well, and it's going to be super exciting, and lastly join us for more events. Now we have another event tomorrow which is How To Break Into Tech, so all the people who are thinking about getting a job in technology, we have my colleague; Caleb will be hosting that event and we'll have three more panellists who will be talking about their experience getting jobs into technology, and then if you are into design as well or UX, so we have another event with Elizabeth next Wednesday, and if you have any questions as always feel free to email us at or reach out to me directly on LinkedIn or on my email which is and link, Anne has put on her LinkedIn in the chat, so if you want to connect do it right now, but don't—-and always add a note when you're connecting, yeah do not forget. Yes and then, and thanks everybody for joining and have a wonderful rest of the week. 

Anne: Thank you guys, thank you so much Ayush.

More career tips on our YouTube
Register now to attend
Subscribe now

About This Event

Are you considering a career as a Product Manager? Want to know what a day-to-day job in product management looks like?

Join us to learn about what a day in the life looks like for a product manager.

Product managers are one of the most highly-priced and sought-after worldwide. But often, the role is not well defined, so aspiring PMs looking to transition into the role often have difficulty in knowing where to start.

You can ask questions and build your online network by interacting with fellow classmates and an expert instructor —all in real time via live chatbox and Q&A. You can also submit your questions in advance.

Unique or funny thing about being a PM, you're known as the CEO of Delivering Bad News to People Who Have the Power to Fire You

About us

EntryLevel helps you learn and get experience so you can get hired. Our 6-week programs are taught by world-class mentors, so you can learn and build a portfolio of work.

You'll learn with a cohort of driven peers, and each lesson is unlocked after a set time so you stay accountable and finish the program.

Follow us for more tech tips + resources








Anne Kamunyu

Core Product Manager at Kwara

Anne was born and schooled in Nairobi, Kenya. She is certified with Product Focus body as Product Manager with over +4 years of experience and recognition in delivering positive customer and business outcomes in Kenya and the Sub-Saharan markets.

She has been with Kwara for 11 months where she has built revenue-generating features and leads a team of 8 in the Core Banking platform. Kwara offers a secure, simple and affordable digital banking platform for SACCOs and their members, who are often excluded by traditional banks. Kwara's mission is to make building wealth together frictionless.

Prior to this, she was a product manager at M-KOPA. She started off as a Customer care representative, then a Projects Officer, followed by a Business Analyst and finally a PM. She spearheaded M-KOPA's first Sales App where the onboarding process transitioned from 2 hours to 15 min hence an increase in sales by over 45%.

Related events

What is EntryLevel?
EntryLevel helps you learn and get experience so you can get hired in tech. Beginner-friendly 6 week programs guide you to create a portfolio you can show off to employers.
Browse tech programs