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Last spring, I found myself suddenly unemployed during the pandemic.

Escaping from the city, I spent 10 weeks applying to and interviewing for product management roles from the eerie familiarity of my childhood bedroom at my parents’ house in the suburbs. As I researched each of my potential new products, I aspired to learn what made each one competitive, special and successful. Through this research across all different types of products, I learned that product success hinges on three core principles.

1. Your Product Must be Essential

The average adult makes 35,000 decisions per day. What drives these decisions? Fundamentally, each decision you make is designed…


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Product pods (engineering, design, product) are the central engine at any eCommerce or SaaS company. They are responsible for defining and measuring success, prioritizing the most necessary work to be done, and building what your users need. There is so much work that could be done, and about a dozen teams competing for engineering attention at any given time.

This is why Product Management is so critical to a successful product pod — we hedge against chaos. We sit at the front lines and handle intake for each idea, shift in strategy, bug, and nice-to-have enhancement. …


How to Add Value & Build Trust Fast

Like most product managers, I’m used to being the SME for all things my product: I know who our customer is, what our competitors are building, how to work with different stakeholder groups, and which teammates don’t like to be interrupted when their headphones are on.

I also know what it feels like to be the new person — I’ve worked on nine product teams at three companies and each time I move, it feels like my world is flipped upside down. The new team speaks in acronyms I’ve never heard, I…


Why should I read this?

Let’s say you work on an acquisition product with the goal of enrolling as many high-value users as possible. You partner with six separate stakeholder teams, each one super excited about their great ideas, who rely on you and your team of engineers to execute. You have to balance meeting their expectations with the other feature work that is important to you, the company-mandated strategy work, fixing pesky bugs, and tech debt (the achilles heel of any product team). There’s no way you can do it all…so how will you decide?

What is Opportunity Sizing, and how will it help me?

Opportunity sizing is the best method for determining the…

Olivia Belitsky

FinTech, eCommerce, and App Product Manager. Volunteer @ Red Cross and BPMA. Babson alum. I use my skills for good.

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