PODCAST #11. The Skeptical Idealist: How Product Managers Navigate Health Tech Challenges
In this episode, David Moore of Lucira Health discusses the role of a product manager as a skeptical idealist, the importance of separating concerns and defining responsibilities for R&D teams, and working at the intersection of different teams.
During his undergrad, David chose science because it intrigued him, and he enjoyed it. At the same time, he saw San Diego as an emerging biotech hub. This was in 1996, and the industry was really taking off. However, he noticed a trend: there were many brilliant scientific minds and impressive work, but there was a lack of business guidance and people to help create a business case for these scientific ideas. That’s when he pivoted and pursued an MBA, transitioning from the lab environment to the world of business. This change marked his shift from biology to business.
David’s first opportunity in product management came at Cardinal Health. He transitioned from an internship to managing software for Cardinal Health’s infusion pumps, specifically for Alaris Infusion Pumps. The company eventually spun off and was later acquired by another firm. He mentions,
It was really a lot of education about what a product actually does in the hospital, the impact you have on the end users and also the logistics of getting that product implemented in a complex hospital system.
Effectively Guiding Multiple Product Managers at the Intersection
Managing a group of product managers, as well as being a product manager overseeing a team, requires gathering information effectively. David emphasizes,
While it’s natural for people to want their product to succeed and maintain a positive, can-do attitude, it’s also essential to consider the real-world implications. Understanding the consequences of your actions and how they will impact various aspects of the business and different departments is both extremely important and crucial.
Lean Six Sigma Kaizen: When and How?
A Lean Six Sigma Kaizen is ideal for situations where results can be achieved in a short time, such as a week. The goal is to gather everyone in a room for three or four days and emerge with immediately implementable solutions.
You really need to have a cross-functional team in the room. This may sound simple, but challenges arise when someone points out that you’ve overlooked a particular aspect or component of the equation.
Hence, when working with R&D teams, strike a balance between trusting your instincts and relying on data.
But if the data indicates that something is truly important, you likely don’t want to start out with a big mountain of it each time. Instead, you’ll need to convince others that you genuinely don’t require too much.
Being open and honest about your expectations while remaining flexible and understanding of their challenges will lead to a successful partnership and, ultimately, a successful product.
Furthermore, it’s vital to prioritize projects and set realistic goals for your R&D team. As a champion for your product, you must advocate for the essential aspects based on your experiences in the field. Simultaneously, you need to juggle various priorities that are crucial to the entire product portfolio and the company as a whole.
In a Nutshell…
Managing R&D teams and ensuring their work leads to the success of a product or organization requires a combination of strategies and strong leadership. Here is a summary of the key points to remember:
- Establish clear goals and expectations: Set realistic objectives for your R&D team, and make sure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
- Prioritize projects: Focus on the most critical features or projects with the most significant impact on your business to ensure your team is working efficiently and effectively.
- Monitor progress and adjust strategy: Regular check-ins and progress reports will help you identify potential roadblocks, allocate resources as needed, and keep your team on track.
- Foster a culture of innovation and continuous improvement: Encourage your team members to think creatively, collaborate, and share ideas to drive innovation.
- Maintain open communication: Keep lines of communication open between your team, management, and other departments to ensure everyone is aligned with the project’s goals and timeliness.
The APP Solutions launched a podcast, CareMinds, where you can hear from respected experts in healthcare and Health Tech.
Who is a successful product manager in the healthcare domain? Which skills and qualities are crucial? How important is this role in moving a successful business to new achievements? Responsibilities and KPIs?
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