Micro-Interview: Dilyana Yordanova, Director of Product

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Dilyana Yordanova is a Director of Product Management at WorldRemit, an international money transfer provider.

After spending some time abroad (in the UK), he jumped at the opportunity to create something new in Bulgaria.

In under 500 words, Dilyana shares: 

  • What compromise she made to become a product manager…
  • How she starts her mornings…
  • What her sources of learning are…

And more…  

Enjoy!


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“How did you get into product management?”

I “only” had to do two things – set my mind on it and accept a substantial pay cut. I used to be a Business Development Manager at a start-up developing proprietary software. Initially, I was refused the transition to a PM role as I did not have a “technical background”. To prove that I am PM material, I took the initiative to work on a side project, on top of my existing responsibilities and got offered the role after delivering it. Then I had to wave goodbye to my sales bonuses and be reborn as a junior PM. In retrospect, that step back that I took did pay off.

“How do you start your mornings at work?”

My morning ritual consists of 3 ceremonies.

1st I make sure that I decline any meetings I am not needed for or meetings that could have been an email. I am an unapologetic “meeting decliner” and I encourage everyone to be one.

2nd I determine the one task that I must complete before the end of play. This keeps me focused and gives me a sense of accomplishment when I cross it off.

3rd I look at our product reports before I even check my emails. I live by the mantra “know your numbers” and make sure I check our product KPIs before I get dragged into meetings, chats, and emails.

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

I wish someone had told me that “roadmap prioritization” actually means “be fanatically rigorous in prioritizing and only focus on the things that will move the needle for the business”.  And I hope that I am that someone for at least one reader.

“What did your biggest product failure teach you?”

My biggest product failure taught me that you can bounce back from (almost) any epic product failure as long as you own your mistake and act swiftly to fix it. Or fail fast, as they say!

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

There is no silver bullet here. When I got my first PM job I did what I would call an “Internet mini-MBA in Product Management”. I read every book, article, and blog post I could possibly get hold of, listened to podcasts, watched videos, etc. So the #1 thing was in reality my dedication to spend hundreds of hours learning the craft. This knowledge propelled my career and pays off to this day. 

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

Good old newsletters, like Mind the Product and SVPG, for my bedtime reading; The Product Podcast for my tube commute. Twitter has never been my thing but I do follow PM legends such as Gibson Biddle on LinkedIn. Since I moved to London, I have been mingling with the local PM crowd. This is not that educational but reminds me how common our PM  joys and sorrows are.