The Fearless Product Manager, by Swapna Malekar "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs December 12 2020 True Career, Personal Growth, Product management career, ProductTank, producttank toronto, Toronto, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 325 Swapna Malekar at ProductTank Toronto Product Management 1.3

The Fearless Product Manager, by Swapna Malekar


In this ProductTank Toronto talk, Swapna Malekar, Senior Product Manager at RBC shares some insight into the makeup of a fearless product manager. The key points of her talk include:

  • Admitting ignorance
  • Pushing boundaries
  • The ability to say no

Admitting Ignorance

In ancient times there was a period when maps of undiscovered places were filled with imaginary monsters and lacked empty spaces to give the impression of familiarity. As the scientific world developed, unknown areas were instead left empty. Scientists admitted that they didn’t know things, they were ignorant of certain facts and needed to experiment and learn more.

Product managers need to admit ignorance every day to learn new things and expand their horizons. They need to understand and accept different perspectives and bring together a team to harness their collective intelligence.

Pushing Boundaries

Product managers need to be ambitious and eager to push the boundaries. Sometimes product managers can tend to stick to certain methods. However, that doesn’t mean that they should be perfectionists. There is a balance that needs to be struck depending on what stage the product or company is at and the complexity of the product. In many cases, done is better than perfect because it allows you to iterate and experiment, but in other cases, some perfectionism can be a good thing.

The Ability to say NO

Product managers need to be able to say no and pushback against ideas and requests to stay on track. This requires them to always ask why and also to stand up for their team. A product manager should focus on the good of the team and the good of the product while always thinking of the bigger picture.

The key takeaways from this talk are that product managers must be willing to admit they don’t know things and open to failure and taking risks. Be ambitious and push boundaries but always strive to balance perfectionism and getting things done.