• Kaustav Mukherjee

Mentor Spotlight: My experience mentoring Product Teams at PMDojo

Updated: Jun 6





"I had the pleasure of being a mentor for the PMDojo Product Accelerator program in the Fall of 2020. It was the first cohort of the program and I was excited to be a part of this startup."







I had been in Product leadership roles over the past several years and what drew me to PMDojo was the opportunity to:

  • Give back to the Product community

  • Nurture aspiring product managers

  • Be part of the inspiring journey that Bosky, founder of PMDojo is on


What is PMDojo Product Accelerator?


The PMDojo Product Accelerator's vision is to help new and aspiring product managers to learn, think and work as a PM before landing their first or next role. That is a lofty vision.


There is this "chicken and egg problem" - how do you qualify for a PM role if you have never had that role before? Even entry-level PM roles require direct real-world experience. Unlike the typical PM certification courses and other programs, you actually get to work as a product team on a real problem and create a solution (aka a real product) that is validated with real users and launched in the market. This is really cool. Now well into its 4th cohort, PMDojo is going from strength to strength to achieve its stated vision.



PS: EARLY APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN FOR OUR NEXT COHORT!


Join PMDojo Product Accelerator to learn, think and grow in Product in your first or next role. Gain real-world experience where you get to collaborate as a diverse team, solve a market problem and launch a real product with real users. Early applications are open for the Fall cohort so apply now!



Why did I decide to become a mentor at PMDojo?


I had recently transitioned from a Head of Product role at a startup that had a successful exit to an individual product manager role at a much larger organization (Mailchimp). I was (and still very much am!) excited for the opportunity to make a much larger impact in my new role but at the same time, I miss the coaching aspects from my old role. So when Bosky approached me with the opportunity to be a mentor at PMDojo, I was stoked to take that on.



Who were my mentees?


During week 1 of the program, I was introduced to my mentee team - Amruta, Corey and Rosanne. What excited me most about this team was their diverse backgrounds and experiences - a QA analyst, a user researcher and a sales/marketing analyst working together to discover a real customer problem and design a minimum viable prototype. I was thrilled to get to know and help my mentee team to learn the ropes and get them going on their product management journey.



What did we learn?


Corey has written a great article that goes in-depth into the specific problems of increasing youth unemployment and the lack of skilled workers to fill new openings in the tech industry in Canada. This was a great problem space for the team to focus on as they themselves are early into their careers and therefore had first-hand insights as well as connections with their target audience that they were looking to reach with their solution. For the first 3-4 weeks into their 8-week program (back then it was 8 weeks unlike at present) I was so proud to see that they were laser-focused on the problem space; they did relevant market/competitor research, clarified the problem they were looking to solve, identified their target users, built personas and created a value proposition that they backed up with solid research. For the next few weeks after that, they started sketching, user testing and gradually increased the fidelity of their proposed designs that they tested with their users.


The solution is "Sandbox", a mobile app-based two-sided marketplace for students/grads and prospective employers to connect via the idea of "industry projects" - projects that prospective employers would submit to the platform and students/grads would complete showcasing their skills.


Why you should consider PMDojo if you are looking to break/pivot into Product?


First of all, I highly recommend PMDojo to any Aspiring Product Managers or Professionals looking to pivot into product management.


I was very impressed with how each week my mentee team learned product management fundamentals and quickly applied them in practice. To me, this type of experiential learning is the key to success in the real world, where problems are messy/ill-defined and needs folks with the scrappy startup mindset in order to understand user needs, rapidly test their ideas and iterate on a solution.


In real-world startups, you often don't have the luxury of fully staffed research, strategy and design teams so product managers need to be able to get their hands dirty. This is where PMDojo really helps its participants to think and work not just like product managers but startup entrepreneurs to launch their idea into a product or service.


I am beyond thrilled to be a mentor again as PMDojo kicks off its fourth cohort. There have been several notable changes in this program as Bosky has built PMDojo the way she teaches aspiring product managers to build products - rapid experimentation and iteration. One particular change I am looking forward to seeing in action is going beyond a prototype and building and shipping an actual minimal viable product. Can't wait to meet my new team and see what they build!



PS: EARLY APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN FOR OUR NEXT COHORT!


Join PMDojo Product Accelerator to learn, think and grow in Product in your first or next role. Gain real-world experience where you get to collaborate as a diverse team, solve a market problem and launch a real product with real users. Early applications are open for the Fall cohort so apply now!






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