Here’s a typical scenario played out in product planning sessions everyday across the globe.

“Since you are the Product Manager, can you tell us how much additional revenue (or value) you can guarantee if we add this one new feature to the product?” — asks the programmer-turned-R&D Manager, while other sundry titles in the room intelligently nod at the question.

The business domain expert, also representing the customer, (the one that has been asking for this feature for a long time )if by some random stroke of luck is present at the meeting, starts protesting at the question, and attempts…


In today’s (omnichannel) economy, many traditional companies have huge IT & software departments servicing different business units. In addition, Shadow IT groups fueled directly by business leaders, loom large over these tech organizations. The goal for these groups is generally to innovate, bring new products and services to market, and improve existing processes. However, if not managed well, innovation can go wrong, and over time many companies end up with multiple and even redundant software apps, & products.

Compounding the problem, these products don’t look similar, are typically not designed to work together, collect similar data but treat it differently…


One of the interesting things I learned when I joined Walmart’s Apparel division was that this business alone would likely make it to the Fortune 100 list independently, and it’s just one of many such businesses within Walmart. And, to be honest, it did take me a while to wrap my head around its scale, and scope of operations, just within the Apparel division. There are numerous tools and applications, multiple business groups, a host of processes in planning and operations, multiple technology teams and platforms, consulting teams, etc. all coming together to run this amazing division.

I joined the…


Product, Business and Engineering team members keep hearing many different terms every day as they go about their business of building Solutions and Products. Some of the more common ones are Product Strategy, Product Vision, Product Mindset, OKRs, Agile Mindset, Experimentation, Data Strategy etc etc. After a while they all start to blur together, and stop being meaningful. I thought of writing a small essay going back to these basics, discuss what they mean to me, and hopefully tie them all together.

It all starts with the Customer Problem. Easy enough. But there may be many problems to solve. Which…


There are plenty of challenges surrounding innovation in large companies; Generating viable new product ideas and translating them into reality is hard. But, this is just the tip of the iceberg. In many cases, unless companies make fundamental changes to their org structure, change their philosophy around go-to-market approaches and incentive models, and recognize fundamental industry trends, new product launches may not be successful.(Continued from Part 1)

“OK, Lesley, What’s on your mind”, Said Josh, GM of the Developer Tools business division, swiveling around in his imposing leather chair, the only perk he allowed himself in his otherwise spartan office. Tall, bald, with a loud booming voice, he was an intimidating figure, but he could also turn up the charm when needed. He made it a priority to meet with his product managers often, as he recognized their value and conversely their risk to the company.

“Josh…”, she began hesitantly, “ I am not sure that this direct to customer model is going to work out. We…


There are plenty of challenges surrounding innovation in large companies; Generating viable new product ideas and translating them into reality is hard. But, this is just the tip of the iceberg. In many cases, unless companies make fundamental changes to their org structure, change their philosophy around go-to-market approaches and incentive models, and recognize fundamental industry trends, new product launches may not be successful.

Lesley had always wanted to be the kind of super-smart, immensely productive and a OMG-she’s-SO-valuable-to-the-team product manager that is stereotypical in large and successful software companies. And, to be fair, in the last 4 years since grad school, she had been a crucial voice on all the major releases to her company’s flagship software product in the Developer Tools division, which helped thousands of other software developers in large and medium enterprises. She worked well with customers, gave speeches about her product at conferences, and even managed to keep her sales team happy with features they wanted. She knew the…

Karthik Mahadevan

Product Director @ Lowes. Prior similar roles at Walmart Labs, Broadcom(CA), and IBM

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store