5 Minutes with Stewart Rogers (Ryma)

Stewart Rogers, Product Manager at Ryma Technology Solutions Inc.

It’s always interesting to hear how the other side of the world views Product Management. We have Stewart Rogers here to give a Canadian perspective.

Stewart, how would you describe your role at Ryma?

My role at Ryma is slightly different from other Product Managers. I am very focused on tactical activities, largely pre and post-sales efforts. This will include everything from demos, product training, contributing to marketing materials and collecting market feedback. Others are focused on the strategic role for our product. I am fortunate because of the nature of our product (FeaturePlan – a solution for Product Managers) I get to work with a variety of Product Managers in a variety of industries.

From working with a variety of Product Managers, how would you define Product Management?

Based on my experience in Product Management, specifically in the software side of the business, I find that Product Management can be involved in pretty much everything related to software development. This is unfortunate. Product Managers should be focused on collecting market feedback, using that data to uncover problems (or needs), working with development to provide solutions and working with marketing to communicate those solutions. Sounds simple enough, but I have seen and experienced, as a Product Manager, everything from functional testing, support and user interface design.

This sounds similar to what Scott Sehlhorst and Ray Ross were sharing with us in other 5 Minute interviews. They also observed that Product Managers tend to be given responsibilities that ‘dilute their effectiveness’ and ‘limit their time and resources’. Do you feel this is the main issue facing Product Managers today?

Yes, the main issue I see with Product Managers, and I have trained many organizations this year, is time. They do not have enough time to do what they need to do. They have too many meetings, too many emails, too many fires and too much responsibility. We need to ensure that we have a well defined set of responsibilities and be diligent in not taking on more. When bogged down in daily activities that are outside your primary responsibilities, ultimately what will suffer is the future direction of your product.

Are there any trends in Canada or in general that you have observed for Product Management?

The good news is that I have witnessed a shift in Product Management over the past 3 years. They are becoming more organized, better trained, have received respect for the role, are using the appropriate tools and, most importantly, receiving executive support to accomplish what they need to do to be successful.

Stewart, it’s a pleasure to hear that you see a positive change for Product Managers and that their roles and issues are similar to those in Australia. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us all the way from Toronto, Ontario.