A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to join Payclip, an early stage Fintech startup, as a Product Manager. From the beginning I was excited to join them. I met the founders two years ago at a Tech conference and I knew about the amazing things they were doing in the Mexican market using technology and culture from the Bay Area. (Yes, I know, dream come true.)
Starting at Payclip
When I started, I had one main goal: to join and be part of the team.Why? I knew that most of the engineers and the designers would be in the Bay Area or the Utah office, meaning that I would be the middleman between the MX office and them. For me, it was mandatory for them to know that I was here to help, eliminate obstacles, and improve communication between MX and the engineering team.
On my first day, Vilash our CTO called me from the SF office, and said: “Daniel, I want your first goal to be: To Evangelize the Product Management”. The MX office already had a Project Manager, and they were confused about what a Product Manager would do.
So in my first week I established three goals:
1) Introduce myself to the OPS team. The true stakeholders for the user stories and requirements. I also needed to understand the whole company workflow, the OPS executive’s commonplaces, and to understand the CEO’s strategy for Clip;
2) Evangelize PM to them. The OPS team didn’t know what Product Management was. There was a Project Manager and people might have thought there would be some invasion of duties; and
3) Introduce myself to the Engineering and Product team. I wanted them to trust me and to know that I was there to help. As the middleman between Mexico and the US office, I would channel things in the best way.
The way I managed to achieve my three goals with the OPS so fast was very simple. I encouraged them to talk about their work (everybody enjoys talking about their own work) and I just aroused this desire in each of them.
So basically, I approached the UX designers, the awesome developers, and the rest of the OPS team and told them “Hey, I joined yesterday as a PM, but to be honest I think you can teach me more about what you have achieved and what challenges you have overcome.” Then they showed me everything they had built, designed and done at Payclip. The talented team I was joining amazed me. I finished every meeting, highlighting everything that astonished me about their work, and said: “OK, how can I help you to make your life easier?”
I believe there is no better motivator than praising the amazing work of your team members. Everybody wants recognition and a sense of belonging.
What about Evangelizing Product Management?
Ok. So they were excited to work with me, but what happened with Evangelizing the Product Management? Well, I invented a story to explain to the Ops team what I was there for:
“So imagine you are a doctor, your day by day is crazy. You can hear sirens from far away, getting louder and louder every second. You know things will get complicated. Firstly, you don’t have any idea how to operate and react because every time a patient enters it could be something different; secondly, you know you must always be trying to give the best possible service and treatment to each patient; and finally you may feel like you are wearing blinkers because you’re focusing on the immediate future and whatever that siren will bring you, rather than looking at the bigger picture.”
“Due to the above, you hire me. You tell me you need a new product. A new scanner that will fix this and that, but you also need software for better patient management. The list continues. Building something requires time, so I asked myself: are the doctors needs equivalent to the patient’s ones? So, this is what I’m here for. To create a balance between how the doctor will operate within the hospital and the number and type patients he receives; in order for the finished product to give the best possible user experience. To help you to build a product that creates a smoother ‘operation’ here in Clip whilst being based on the ‘patients’ out there using Clip.”
I hope that one day Mexican companies will have an outstanding working culture like Clip has built from the ground up. It is amazing being part of this awesome team.
And the following quote is maybe the reason why the Ops team doesn’t love the product mindset :)
“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” – Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn
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