Interview with Mr. Pinkesh Shah, Institute of Product Leadership

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Institute of Product Leadership

Today product companies need professionals who, not just manage but also can lead. In this stage many Senior Managers, VPs, CEOs, especially from IT industry, are looking at the Career Acceleration Path, which helps them to adopt global standards and deliver desirable results for global markets. These managers are looking at upgrading themselves on par with the industry trends and eventually start their own entrepreneurial journey. Existing product managers want to accelerate their career by transforming themselves to true product leaders as both intrapreneurs for corporate and as well as entrepreneurs.

 Institute of Product Leadership is poised to nurture and create the next generation of transformational leaders who have the knowledge, actionable skills and sensitivity to work with global stakeholders to conceive, validate, build and launch products for future global market.

Mr. Pinkesh Shah
Mr. Pinkesh Shah

IPL is co-founded by Mr. Pinkesh Shah, Mr. Sharad Sharma (Head of Nasscom product Forum) and Mr. Sanjeev Kumar (Head of Informatica India). Also, IPL has an EPIC (Executive Product Industry Council) Board, the group of elite product leaders who currently drive product innovation from India in global companies, who actively mentor participants and the curriculum design and the problem solving pedagogy for the experiential learning programs that the Institute offers. Also, the faculty hail from global firms like Google, McAfee, GE Healthcare, Flipkart, eBay, RedBus and several others to teach the students become Product Leaders and share the practical knowledge of the industry under a hybrid model of guidance.

TTP had a chat with the co-founder and director of IPL, Mr. Pinkesh Shah to know more about the need for the senior managers to take a look at accelerating their career path, the courses that they offer and more about the institute.

 In simple terms – tell us how technology manager is different from a product leader. What is the challenge Indian Product Leadership has been addressing?

A product leaders assess a new opportunity, sets up the productizing process and executes it, where as a technology managers manages the complexities of an existing product. As the job title itself signifies, a product leader is someone who is not just an expert in a particular product, he is the visionary who can assess, predict and drive a product. A manager on the other hand is someone who is mainly focused on the executables.

Although the Indian IT industry is dominated by the services sector, orientation towards products innovation is on the move. With the new interest in the space of product management, the biggest challenge is the dearth of product leaders to lead the innovation. Also, there has been a tremendous change in the dynamics of the Indian market. To adapt to this change, more and more technology managers should be becoming product leaders to compete with the global market. The untapped Indian human resources, in the respect is very huge. IPL is reaching out to as many technical managers as possible to make them aware of the fact that what the market needs and how to sustain and become successful in these changing times.

At IPL we offer global standard of programs, which are taught by industry practitioners and that helps the participants to achieve the edge over others.

What kinds of programs are available at IPL? Who is the target audience?

At IPL, we have courses designed for product managers, Product engineers, product architects and tech support managers in the mid-career level. These courses are specially crafted by the senior industry practitioners to the global standards. The faculties of all these programs are the industry practitioners from global firms like Google, McAfee, GE Healthcare, Flipkart, eBay, RedBus and several other companies.

International Post Graduate Certificate Program in Product Management & Marketing (ICPM), a 4 month program, is an experiential program delivered by world class faculty and leading practitioners. This program is ideal for Program Managers, Project Managers, Engineering, Leaders (Dev/BA/QA/UX), Architects & Technologists, Product Managers, Product Marketing Managers, Solution Managers and Pre/Post Sales, Tech Support

Executive Post Graduation Program in Product Leadership (EPGPL) is a 15 months program. The EPGPL has 56 courses across 7 categories, ranging from customer connect & market research, product design & user experience, innovation & IP management. Also, product marketing, product life cycle management, strategy & product leadership skills along with general management are part of the regular curriculum. This course is ideal for the product managers having more than 4 years of experience and looking for career acceleration in the product space.

Applied Program in Product Leadership (APPL) a 5 month program, which is designed specifically for the senior technology managers, can be customized across themes of course modules around innovation, idea management, product life cycle management and leadership.

International Certification for Product Architects (ICPA), designed for senior technology leaders who aspire to become a Technical Fellow/CTO

T- MBA, an 18 months full time program, integrated with real world internship in a product company. The course is designed specifically for engineers and technologists who want to transition into a techno-business role.

These courses are targeted to the product managers, Product Architects and Engineers, who have 4-13 years of work experience in the industry.

 For a seasoned professional in Indian Product Space, how will these programs help in accelerating their career path? Do you tie up with Corporate for the same?

The programs offered by IPL are cautiously formulated and designed for experiential learning through addressing various real world challenges. The program is facilitated by Industry Practitioners, who have built and scaled world-leading products. So, when a product manager is trained by the industry captains, who can address the real issues by their knowledge about the industry, she/ he can get a detailed overview about productizing. The participants are benefitted by the integrated approach of learning global best practices used in the productizing process with relevant business management concepts such as finance, operations and strategy.

We do tie up with corporate, whose employees can be part of our programs and whose senior professional can be the faculty too.

Can you cite some startup success stories out of IPL?

In IPL, we incubate startups, right from seeding the startup to developing as an idea and getting links or access to required resources. From this present batch, 5 startups are being formed, which would be presented to the panel of VCs and Angels, who would rate and probably fund. The panel would give its inputs and mentor the entrepreneurs to hone their entrepreneurial skills and successfully run the startup.

IPL looks like more of a career path program for seasoned professionals, how does it help entrepreneurs / wannabe entrepreneurs in their product startup?

India has witnessed 100% increase in the product startups in past 4-5 years. In our experience many successful product managers invariably turn entrepreneurs. We act as a growth incubator. Also, we follow a BYOI (Bring Your own Idea) approach with our participants, which enable to think out of the box, nurture and develop that idea, which may eventually seed their startups. In this way, IPL is fuelling the wannabe entrepreneurs to start thinking about starting their own and sustaining successfully.

Do you think an evolution is happening in IT Industry, from outsourcing to product creation? What should be done to encourage the creation of world-class product startups from India?

As I mentioned earlier, the wheels of evolution has been started to roll and India has shown the earlier signs of tremendous growth. Indian IT industry, which was service oriented a decade back, is becoming product oriented, which is indeed a good sign for economy. According to Nasscom estimate, software product industry will grow from $2 billion now to $10 billion by 2020, which means the demand for more number of product managers and product leaders will be on rise. So, to balance this demand and supply chain, there should be ample amount of sources, like IPL for these product leaders to hone their skill sets to global standards, platforms to meet the industry leaders and learn from their experiences. Also the technical depth and know-how required for a software product company is much higher than in service industry, which demands high level technical knowledge and the understanding of the product and its market by the product leaders, which can be achieved by the training and mentoring.