Micro-Interview: Ikonom (Nomi) Filipov, Product Manager

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Nomi Filipov is a product manager at Quantive (formerly Gtmhub), a leading strategy execution platform based on the OKR management methodology.

In under 500 words, he shares: 

  • How he prioritizes important tasks in the morning…
  • How cognitive biases influence a PM’s decision-making…
  • His approach to shortening his product management learning curve…

And more…  

Enjoy!


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“How did you get into product management?”

Eight years ago, I was part of a small team challenged to specify and build a community platform. We knew how to utilize the entrepreneurial mindset that would lead us to product formation. I ended up talking to all the stakeholders involved, including the tech team. Going through the process of interviewing users, validating prototypes, and building everything from scratch sparked my interest in the product creation process. It made me realize there is a career path that is challenging enough and fits my interests. That’s how I got into product management.

“How do you start your mornings at work?”

For example, on Mondays, I would start by checking communication channels, and my notes from last week’s activities. I would check at Quantive Results if what I am doing is still relevant for achieving the OKRs. If that’s the case, I plan an exciting week by usually jotting down goals on a piece of paper. When prioritizing tasks, I usually use the prioritization matrix.

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

That a camel is a racehorse designed by a committee. You cannot nail it all from the beginning. We should interpret the information from stakeholders, rather than taking it at a face value. Furthermore, there are 24 main cognitive biases (while the total is 188). We tend to look for positive evidence confirming that our suggestions are valid. Thus, it is best to remind ourselves that we can validate an idea by disproving a hypothesis.

“What did your biggest product failure teach you?”

Very practically not measuring the right thing and not considering counter metrics lead us to move one indicator in a favorable direction while harming another one.

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

Empathy is highly relevant in Product Management and is a belief that has shifted my perspective. It is not about the product but about personal necessities and interactions. I have learned to question if I understand users’ needs and if I feel their pains. Do I prioritize delivering value over building a feature? Moreover, empathy helps me understand other stakeholders I am working with. It is important to comprehend each other’s needs and know what someone’s dealing with. At the end of the day, everyone is trying to do their job. Being humbler and observant in team collaborations allows for a better idea flow and boosts performance. This adds a lot to the result.

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

Doing collaborative sessions with co-workers. Testing new products and reading articles about how a given feature was built are good sources of novel ideas for me.

It is also important to be relevant to my environment and use it as a constant learning source. Sometimes I would mindfully go through my lessons learned. Preparing a presentation for peers is a great way to do it. It pushes me to think about what I did and urges me to research more about the presented topic and the good practices I used along the way.