My Product Management Experience: How We Emerged Top 10 In Competition Despite Many Fallouts
After wrapping up my Product Management Internship with NGeX, a data and Marketing firm owned by U.S.A based Nigerians in the month of July 2021, I participated in a Flutterwave/Reloadly hackathon, and the team I led emerged as top 10, despite running out of time to complete the whole work.
Interestingly, I had all the freedom to explore and manage a team with little or no supervision from above.
100 persons participated in the hackathon and we were grouped into 25. Each group consists of a Product Manager, Product Designer, Frontend and Backend Developer. Each group is to develop a fintech solution to solve mundane problems, using the API of Flutterwave and Reloadly.
The time frame for the competition was just one month.
My application to participate in the hackathon was not immediately approved, until about 10 days to wind up the event. ( I was replaced with another unproductive PM; the group I belonged to gave me every detail of how the previous product manager assigned to them went off the radar without doing anything.)
We choose to build a Reward system app christened “Rewardify” that allows organizations and individuals to gift recharge card or gift card to deserving employees or customers at any time of their choice.
I assembled the team members and asked them how many days we got left to complete the project, they responded by saying 10 days. So I had to fire up the cylinders.
We only selected basic and most important features of the product i.e, The one that allows Sending, Wallet Crediting, Transaction history, gift schedule, and among others to work on, since we have a limited time.
I quickly did a little market research, Competitive analysis, draft PRD, Product Journey map, User Persona, and Information architecture for the product myself.
I immediately shared a brief of the work I did with my team so that everyone can get down to work.
We started having problems; first with the product designer who was supposed to start his own work with the Information Architecture, PRD and other relevant stuff I gave him,( I had to call for the replacement of a Product Designer, which our instructors sent us one), then our Backend guy too was also not attending stand-up meetings.
Having gotten another product designer, one will assume that our problem is half solved, but No, it even got worse.
The new product guy assigned was inexperienced and he gave too many excuses. He wasn’t following what was in the Product Requirements Document, and nor was he using the Information architecture I gave him to work with. He literally included features that were not in the brief I gave him…
The moment I complained, the Product Designer quitted the work and chickened out 2 days before the deadline of the 1-month hackathon
So with just 2 days left for submission, I had to become the Product Designer. Meaning that I took dual roles; that of a PM and a designer. I managed to complete the design and prototyping of the product before the deadline because I spent the night working on it.
I was able to do the design myself because I started a as product designer before venturing into product management. How lucky I was.
The most interesting part is that the team I led was eventually among the top 10 when the result was announced, despite completing just 50 % of the whole work…
Assuming we did 100 percent work, there are tendencies that we would have pulled through and come either 1st or 2nd.
The mentors from Reloadly and Flutterwave even fell in love with my work despite the that we only did the PM and Design aspect, with a little of frontend.. ( the frontend guy was a bit active).
My team was able to present 50 percent of the work because of my determination to deliver the work, in spite of all odds.
The first to third runner-up went home with 100s of dollars while each participant in other teams got a gift of about 40 dollars each.
I know the reward for participating was meager, but the experience is worth it. I enjoyed every bit of work I did.