Product Management All-Star: 6 Questions With Robert Rodriguez
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Based in Orlando, Florida, Robert Rodriguez has three years of experience in product management and over five years of experience in business process optimization. He is currently a SaaS product operations manager at JAGGAER, where he ensures that the processes for developing, roadmapping, supporting, and launching a product are as efficient and sustainable as possible. He does this with a keen eye on every detail involved in creating and supporting their massive product portfolio.
When he is not managing product operations, Robert enjoys baseball, collecting and investing in sports cards, and spending time with his wife and two-year-old son.
When did you learn product management existed?
"I learned about product management at a consulting-based startup called Lunar. We developed software to manage marketing data internally and quickly realized this functionality could be valuable to other organizations with similar technology setups to ours. Strategizing on how best to position and price this product in the marketplace, systematizing customer feedback, and helping develop our first product roadmap gave me a good introduction to the product management world."
What was your first product job?
"My first product role was as a product operations manager at a benefits technology company called PlanSource. No product can be successful without proper process workflows, product roadmaps, communication touchpoints, and customer support documentation. We overhauled many of our processes to ensure they were scalable and effective, including product launch, release planning, and our early adopter programs. The results were greater visibility, accountability, and most of all, greater organization of strategy and execution."
What is the most important trait for a product manager?
"Communication is key for product management. Provide open communication channels for your customers as well as internal stakeholders. This allows you to understand and address the pain points while also learning where the bright spots are."
What would you recommend a new product manager not do?
"Don’t spend too much time developing a detailed, long-term roadmap. Roadmaps are essential to building products; however, sticking strictly to the roadmap will not allow you to adapt to the market shifts. Design a long-term strategy with high-level product themes but continue to revisit those themes to ensure they are still relevant in the current market environment."
If product management had a slogan, what would it be?
"It’s never been about features; it’s always been about user experiences. Product management can turn into an endless road of developing and delivering new features without any thought into how those features blend together. The successful products are those that are always focused on the user experience as new functionality is added. That’s the difference between a platform of just features and a product that continues to deliver value."
What will change most about managing products in 2030?
"Time spent prototyping products will decrease drastically due to advances in technology, making delivering a functional product possible within weeks, as opposed to months. I also see most product-based companies moving to the continuous delivery approach to engineering products, allowing them to deliver value to their customers more often than the typical quarterly release cycle."
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