We recently caught up with Charul Sadwelkar, Product Manager in charge of Identity and Authentication Services at VeriSign, to gain his insight into Product Management. VeriSign provides Internet infrastructure services for the networked world, and the VeriSign Secured Seal is the most recognized symbol of trust on the Internet. Here is what Charul had to say about Product Management…
Define the role of Product Management
Conventional wisdom considers Product Management as a mini-CEO position and I am in complete agreement with that definition. As a Product Manager of my product line, I’m ultimately answerable for the health of my products and the business itself.
What are Product Managers responsible for at VeriSign?
VeriSign puts the Product Management position right in the center of the universe in a manner of speaking. VeriSign’s core business is in offering large-scale internet infrastructure components as a managed service. I have the cradle-to-grave responsibility of the products I own – including market analysis, inception, construction, go-to-market strategy, pricing and ultimately sales and revenue targets. On a day-to-day basis, I find myself supporting sales opportunities, pricing out deals, preparing business cases for new opportunities. This is complemented by regular product release planning and oversight and handling cross-functional requests. On a less frequent basis but incredibly important is customer visits and interaction and strategic roadmap planning as well as remaining in touch with our partners all around the globe.
What challenges do you face as a Product Manager at VeriSign?
As a true generalist, I face the typical challenges of managing a constant deluge of conflicting demands. Sometimes, it feels like being on a waterbed. Every time you push a little more somewhere, something else pops up. The skill is balance and it is, of course, easier said than done even after years of practice. Also the biggest challenge is time. Everybody wants a slice of my time but adding it up all together takes it well beyond the 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. Time management is still the number one survival skill for any Product Manager.