Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Bangalore, the Institute of Product Leadership (IPL) is one of the first business schools in the country for technology managers focusing on product leadership. It has campuses in San Francisco and Pune. In this interview, Pinkesh Shah, co-founder and director of programmes, IPL, tells FE’s Abhishek Chakraborty that, today, product managers have to scale to product leaders. Excerpts:
Why the need for transformation of product managers into product leaders?
To paraphrase Professor John P Kotter, “Managers cope with complexity, while leaders cope with change.” In the same vein, managing complexities of an existing product is the product manager’s expertise, while assessing a new opportunity, setting up the productising process, and executing on it is the challenge of a product leader. In this era of continuous technology and market disruption, product managers have to scale to product leaders.
What is the demand versus supply scenario of product leaders in India?
Growing start-ups, multinational companies’ R&D centres, venture capital firms, IT services products and platform groups all are looking for business leaders who can lead and accelerate their productising initiatives. According to Nasscom and Zinnov, there are 22 lakh IT/ITeS professionals working in India and another 2.5 lakh working in global multinational product companies in their India R&D centres. There are 3,000 product manager openings annually, of which 800 are in the IT space. But, today, there are only an estimated 2,000 product managers in India.
Can India become Asia’s major product leader destination?
Culturally, Indians are experts in jugaad or innovating under constraint. This is one of the most sought out skills in product management. Due to her services-based economy and outsourcing model, India’s technology breadth is huge. You will find anything from COBOL to Web 2.0 to Hadoop! The talent availability is unparalleled. Combined with the right amount of product thinking and leadership, we can build a thriving ecosystem for Asia’s product leaders.
How can IPL help?
IPL’s alumni have benefited from the integrated approach of learning global best practices used in the productising process with relevant business management concepts such as finance, operations and strategy. The unique attributes of IPL’s solutions are (1) by practitioners, for practitioners; (2) designed for hands-on learning; (3) industry-endorsed; and (4) global outlook.
What is the role of the Executive Product Industry Council (EPIC) board in transforming product managers into product leaders?
The EPIC board members include the who’s who of the Indian IT industry. As part of