Micro-Interview: Ivailo Ivanov, Sr. Director of Product Management


Ivailo Ivanov is a Sr. Director of Product Management at Clevertap – the complete platform that helps personalize and optimize all customer touchpoints.

He has extensive product management experience dating back to the days of Telerik (now Progress), is an active member of the ProductTank Sofia Community, and also teaches at the Telerik Academy.

In under 500 words, Ivo shares: 

  • How he starts his mornings…
  • Useful advice on how not to validate ideas with customers…
  • The #1 thing that has helped him shorten the product management learning curve…

And more…  


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“How did you get into product management?”

From the first time I met a Product Manager I knew I wanted to be one. Later on, in another company, nobody was doing that for my product so I considered it fundamental. So, I started doing it apart from my main role as an Engineering Manager. As a result, I was given the opportunity to start a new product as a PM when such a need had arisen.

“How do you start your mornings at work?”

Ideally, reading NPS responses. Otherwise, I review my task list and prioritize it for the day.

“What do you know about product management now that you wish you’d known when you first started?”

Knowledge and frameworks matter a lot. I underestimated them and made many simple, avoidable mistakes in the beginning. One basic example is all the advice in the book “Lean B2B: Build Products Businesses Want” by Etienne Garbugli.

“What did your biggest product failure teach you?”

How not to validate new ideas with customers, as described in this great article I wish I had read a long time ago.

“What’s the #1 thing that has helped you shorten your product management learning curve?”

Teaching Product Management in the Telerik Academy – when you teach it, you understand it better and faster, also pushes you to read about some topics much deeper than you would otherwise do. Also mentoring other PMs, and thinking through their current issues together.

“How do you stay updated on the best practices in product management?”

Mostly by reading the latest books recommended to me or selected based on Goodreads ratings. I have found shorter forms do not work to get a deep understanding and retain the knowledge. I also follow groups like the ProductTank for interesting new ideas/articles.