What is product leadership? In this ProductTank London talk, Hakim Mendjeli – Managing Director of French Digital, shares his perspective and experience as a practitioner of product leadership in the financial services industry.
Watch the video to see his talk in full, or read on for an overview of his key points:
- An overview of the UK digital banking sector
- Products in the financial sector
- What a product leader does
The UK Digital Banking Sector
The digital banking sector in the UK is filled with established large banks and financial service providers as well as a slew of new fintech companies that are disrupting the industry. Hakim shares his background working in product strategy at large organizations as well as product management at smaller startups. This has given him a large amount of sector expertise, something which is critical for any product leader.
Products in the Financial Sector
He explains that banks are now seen as technology companies with a balance sheet. While product people in other fields may imagine digital experiences, such as a website or a piece of software. However, in financial services, they are financial products for product lines such as payments, savings, mortgages or lending.
What Does a Product Leader Do?
Among product people, a product manager is seen as a leader. However, a product leader can be viewed as a leader of leaders. The organization in which a product leader operates will determine the leadership they provide.
Being a product leader can be considered more of an art than a science. A product leader needs to know how to organize product managers and the wider team, and how teams overlap across different product lines. They need to manage performance, train the team, shape and sell the vision of the company, and be aware of the desired customer experience.
The key takeaway from the talk is that making decisions is the single greatest requirement of a product leader. They need to create a framework for decision making with the right data and insights. Data should be used to drive the right decision for the company, not necessarily the decision that the product leader wants to happen. The team also needs to be organized around the single most important company goal. A product leader must also remember that things are always evolving so adjustments may need to be made along the way after a decision has been made.