PODCAST #8. How Intelligent Product Development Can Improve Innovation Efficiency

Today we have an exciting guest, Yuval Rubin, CEO of Ada Health, – an app made by doctors to check symptoms for thousands of diseases. Usually, our guests have been active in life since college – they run marathons and participate in charity programs… But what about military intelligence?

Exploring Career Pathways

A lot of women are serving their work with a lot of coding. Isn’t that the best way to get experience in data analysis? Yuval worked in the office of the Israeli prime minister, working closely with the Ministry of Health. She was deciding how to anonymize a lot of patient data to provide value on a larger scale, and that was really interesting and also was a very big stepping stone for the collaboration with Pfizer.

If you’re more after ideology or certain values that you want to promote, the public sector is the way to go.

From Data Analyst to Business-Oriented PM

But at the same time – unlike the private sector, the public sector is not dynamic. So Yuval left her position and went to London to study at the London School of Economics – she got a master’s degree in social innovation and entrepreneurship, which was a great way to introduce herself to social startups.

Next was working as a lead data analyst and then CPO, changing my specialization from pure data person to a more business-oriented PM – “I learned to work smarter, not harder.” Ironically, working smarter is “easier” because you do most of the work yourself. And working smarter means learning to delegate work to ensure it gets done well and on time. You have to ask questions without fear of losing credibility if you don’t know something.

People need to have access to the KPIs; they need to be sure that they can refer to them daily and that it helps them make decisions.

Yuval talks about her product – we have a symptom assessment. We also have a test like diagnostic tests in the U.S. we now have some tools to assess your eligibility for covered medications to avoid severe coveting. So we are launching more and more things to help users remain healthy, so on the prevention aspect and focusing on those at high risk of getting comorbidities or any more significant health concerns.

Ada Health educates the user but does not that much into self-medication.

The app is aimed at users who should constantly monitor their vitals. These are patients with diabetes or high blood pressure and the elderly. But healthy people could also benefit from doing health checks. The product uses AI algorithms.

Engineers and designers have much better ideas than product people; the only thing is that you have to work together to make sure it actually happens and sell that idea.

A good product manager needs to have the prioritization skills to make decisions by finding trade-offs. Sustainability is also important – “you’re always kind of in this interchange between business technology and UX.” Finally, you have to be proactive, curious, want to do more, and have good soft skills.

Navigating Change in a Dynamic Industry

Not making a decision is also a decision, but while we’re not making a decision, the industry is changing; a new competitor is coming.

If you have too much or not enough data, you can delay a decision for a long time, which is detrimental to the business. This is also the problem of the product manager – too much information leaves us very little time. If 20 years ago, people were trying to keep up with the times through discipline, that’s not going to work anymore.

I try to set aside a few hours a day when I’m checking external information so that I can focus on my work during the other hours of the day so it doesn’t bother me all the time.

Yuval sees understanding the audience, as well as building the correct Cultural Map that works for multicultural companies, which Ada Health is, as important success factors. Also, get physically active to relieve your head.







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?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

Article podcast YouTubeArticle podcast Spotify

PODCAST #9. How to Succeed in Product Development: Advice from a Product Manager

Our guest today is Prabha Dublish, Senior Product Manager at Grow Therapy. She’s doing some very important things that are hard to overstate. It’s making mental health care more accessible through technology and helping women of color make their way into the product.

Dublish’s example was her mother, who was involved in nonprofits, so board meetings were something that little Prabha took for granted. That’s where she learned how important it is to help people. And how important it is to be able to speak publicly persuasively.

Empowering women entrepreneurs

After completing her first university year, Prabha decides to travel to the remotest corners of India and talk to women who manage to start and successfully run businesses in the face of gender discrimination – sort of like a documentary.

Prabha created a crowdfunding site to help these women raise funds: We built it around the Pay It Forward model, which meant that when women succeeded, they got money. They would pay it forward and give money to someone in their community to start a business with the money they had earned through the effort.

You give five dollars; you eventually get that money back. Many people will reinvest it anyway, so we wanted to sort of create this like chain of women mentoring other women and supporting other women.

The organization came up with over $50,000 and helped over 50 women in seven different countries.

From product marketer to manager

Prabha describes her product marketing experience as follows:

“I first became a product marketer, someone described it to me as being the center of a wheel, and I feel like that’s such a good way of thinking about the feeling that like you’re in the center, and then there’s like your advertising counterparts your creative agencies your analytics partners the product management team, but you’re sort of like that person at the Center.”

A product manager is also a “center” job, but on a larger scale – the difference is the area you own. The type of skills of a product marketer and manager are similar. One of the biggest strengths of a product marketer is also some of the things about user insight that are important to a successful product manager; as a product marketer, you do a lot of research to figure out what the unique values are that we have to position.

No product will be successful if you don’t have a good go-to-market strategy and think about how you will measure it.

While working at Meta, Prabha changed her major from marketer to product manager when she saw many shining examples of such professionals around her. A product position came her way there on Facebook, and Prabha didn’t pass up the opportunity. It was the height of the pandemic, and many people were struggling with various mental illnesses. Despite working for such a high-profile company, Prabha saw it as a start-up.

Prabha’s journey to Grow Therapy

And now, she’s at Grow Therapy, which is unsurprising due to her desire to help people. The main mission is to make mental health accessible (whereas Facebook focuses on the positive) because, as we know, psychotherapists don’t like to mess with insurance. So the product helps find a metric between the patient, the therapist, and the insurance terms – like a marketplace. The measures of success are conversion and retention metrics.

About the Facebook interview:

In the world of product marketing and product management, there are no right or wrong answers in an interview; it’s all about your thought process and how you communicate your thoughts. The biggest thing we look for is structured thinking. The second is communication, whether it’s easy to follow, whether I understand what they’re saying, and the third is creative thinking.

It’s very important to be close to the client to understand their struggles. You can’t create something that everyone will love all the time. Without a clear understanding of who you’re making a product for and the critical things that need to be addressed, even in this segment of problems, it will be very difficult to create a product that solves problems.

Navigating healthcare innovation and team building

In health care, in particular, Prabha follows many different companies. In addition, there’s a fabulous newsletter called Health Tech nerds with many great ideas for the healthcare industry.

Creating a cohesive product team is one task, but building and keeping it together and ensuring there’s not a lot of friction in its growth is another task.

You don’t want to be someone who introduces Facebook-level processes in a B-series company, you will slow down the team, and it won’t be helpful; you have to find that balance, how to add enough processes to make it worthwhile.

A product manager has to be able to ask the right questions. You won’t be a technical expert by the end of the day, but you don’t need to be; you have to be able to identify problems with the right questions. And find solutions to them, help the team determine what’s most important.







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?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

Article podcast YouTubeArticle podcast Spotify

PODCAST #10. Web 3.0 and Healthcare: Opportunities for Growth and Collaboration

Today we have Dr. Collier Griffin, Product Manager at Synapse Health. She has a fascinating, diverse background, and we’re touching base on how to transition into product management, the Web 3 in healthcare, building successful teams, and working with offshore teams. As a registered general practitioner, she left the medical profession to work in marketing digital products because she felt she could improve the lives of average patients more effectively this way.

Bridging Medicine, Technology, and Business

It all started with the transition from paper cards to EMRs. Product management is the best way to set up business processes to connect medicine, technology, and business. There are more than a million doctors and lawyers in the U.S., but no more than 50,000 product managers. But if you have a degree in medicine and skills in business, you have to take advantage of that because it’s a great combination.

According to Collier, you should encourage people to hire people with a medical background who know the intricacies of this world. Because when you know how things work, you ask better questions, get better answers, create better products, and spend less time. So it’s a win-win if you know how to transfer your medical expertise into product management.

When you know your target audience, you’re not creating something for the sake of creating something good but for the sake of actually using it. And the user kept coming back and wanting to use it because it made their life easier.

Doctors and Product Managers in Data Processing

Dr. Griffin makes the interesting point that a doctor’s job, like a product manager’s, involves processing a lot of data and looking for patterns.

In the startup world, you wear many hats, so you can be a product owner, a scrum master, a UX/UI designer, and a project manager.

I love a good brainstorming session, and it’s important for everyone to feel like they’ve given something to that project. That goes to basic human psychology.

Collier has worked with teams from other countries, and she emphasizes the importance of finding common ground – you have different languages, different cultures, and different perspectives on life… In her opinion, it is important to outline and present as much of the project as possible ahead of time because most people are visual and absorb information better that way.

Regarding the medical data storage system, Dr. Griffin compares the systems in the U.S. and Switzerland. Waiting times for appointments are strikingly different and not in favor of the first country. There are a lot of lawsuits against doctors and hospitals because of such gaps. But Collier has a solution:

My greatest hope is that there becomes a private blockchain for the government where everyone can keep their medical records for privacy and security. No matter what doctor you visit, it is connected to every EMR. You can instantly pull up patient records in real time and see exactly what’s going on.

Building trust and efficiency in Healthtech

Most Americans don’t have a medical mindset, meaning they just verbally tell this or that doctor what procedures they’ve had before. But it would be much more convenient if they had it all in one place, safe and sound.

You can’t get emotionally attached to a product because by getting feedback that is not the most positive, you can become a wall in defense of what you’re doing instead of hearing critics’ arguments. I have to put my voice aside, even when it comes to what I think the button should look like, and how it will work best for the user, no matter what my opinion is.

Collier also shared her view of SMM strategy – when it comes to health tech, I haven’t seen any company that uses social media to the extent that other companies in other industries might use it. You don’t have to put up silly memes and Tik Tock in health tech. At the same time, it’s not enough to just have a social media presence, especially when it comes to new technologies like Web 3. Not every company needs a metaverse. Just because you have web3 doesn’t mean you have to have a metaverse and doesn’t mean you have to have NFTs, but being able to use social media is important.

For users to come back and keep using technology, they need to know that there is good intent behind the data they provide to the company.

Building your future in diverse fields

Collier notes that her career path is not the most common, but there are nurses who have moved on to software developers, and there are pharmacists who have moved on to UX-UI designers. It’s important to start somewhere:

Go through LinkedIn, find someone who works in a field that interests you, and send a couple of people a message saying, “Hey, can you chat for 15 minutes?” You’ll be surprised how many conversations you can have just by asking because the answer is always known until you ask. So build your network and find people who are potentially in that field.







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?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

Article podcast YouTubeArticle podcast Spotify

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?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

Article podcast YouTube

PODCAST #12. The Product Manager’s Path to Health Tech Innovation: Product Strategy, Leadership & OKRs

We were thrilled to have a distinguished product strategist, team leader, and customer support specialist from the post-acute and long-term care sector join us for today’s episode. 

Our guest, BJ Boyle, holds the position of Chief Product Officer at PointClickCare, a top healthcare technology platform dedicated to improving patient outcomes by fostering collaboration and offering real-time insights. 

In this discussion, we delve into the following: product strategy formulation, effective team leadership, and expert viewpoints on OKRs.

BJ’s Journey into Product Management

BJ has over 20 years of experience in product management, strategy, and development, witnessing the growth of product management as a career path in digital transformation companies within the healthcare sector. BJ didn’t initially plan to pursue a career in product management; instead, they began as an implementation specialist, traveling to skilled nursing facilities to install and train people on software.


I found great satisfaction in refining processes and collaborating with customers to ensure the delivery of their required solutions.

During an early experience with a client that decided not to move forward with a deal due to dissatisfaction with the software’s reporting features, BJ learned the importance of improving products based on customer feedback. This realization led BJ to work closely with engineering teams and customers to enhance products and ensure they met customer needs. Eventually, BJ’s passion for making things better and working with customers to deliver the best solutions evolved into a successful product management career.

The Transition to Electronic Health Records & Overcoming the Challenges 

As a director of social strategy development at Cerner, the transition from traditional pen-and-paper methods to electronic health records (EHRs) in healthcare organizations was a fascinating experience.

Initially, there was considerable resistance to transitioning to digital systems. However, over time, people began recognizing the benefits and efficiencies of digitization. 

While that’s true, BJ pointed out that: 

There is still much work to be done in utilizing the data from electronic health records and other digital systems to significantly enhance patient care and outcomes.

In the healthcare and technology space, challenges persist due to the complexity of the healthcare system and the involvement of numerous stakeholders. Implementing technology solutions requires not only the technology itself but also integration with existing systems and processes. Ensuring seamless operation remains a challenge. Moreover, effectively leveraging the vast data collected from electronic health records and digital systems to improve patient care and outcomes is still a work in progress. The focus is on using data to make better decisions and achieve better patient outcomes.

The Role of Product Management in Healthcare Integration

In the coming years, the healthcare system will focus on interoperability and seamless integration of new technologies and processes, with collaboration between organizations being crucial. Product management will play a critical role in understanding the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and identifying technological solutions to address them. By working closely with customers, partners, and internal teams, product managers can drive innovation and develop solutions that improve healthcare delivery and experience.

Entering a new industry with fresh perspectives allows product managers to ask better questions and listen more effectively to users and potential buyers. Instead of seeking affirmation for preconceived answers, focusing on genuinely understanding the customers’ needs helps in identifying the right problems to solve, ultimately leading to better solutions.

PointClickCare’s Success Pillars

At Point Click Care, which holds a leadership position in long-term post-acute care with a 70% market share, the focus is on being the engine that helps customers and future customers thrive in a rapidly changing healthcare landscape. 

Point Click Care recognizes that healthcare is not limited to a physical location and seeks to connect senior care customers to the broader healthcare ecosystem, ensuring a seamless journey for patients from emergency departments to rehab centers, senior living facilities, and beyond.

BJ adds: 

Healthcare is centered around individuals; it was vital for us to integrate our senior care customers into the larger healthcare ecosystem.

How to Reduce Silos and Unnecessary Work in Health Tech Systems

The primary goal is to provide the best possible care and achieve the highest outcomes for patients, while ensuring healthcare providers get paid for their services. As healthcare becomes increasingly complex, especially with value-based care models and multiple stakeholders, it is important to identify and remove friction points in the processes. 

One example is streamlining the flow of information between hospitals and long-term care facilities to avoid medication errors and readmissions. 

By leveraging technology and adopting electronic data transfer, Point Click Care successfully eliminated double documentation and significantly improved the accuracy and efficiency of the process, demonstrating the critical role of product management in healthcare innovation.

Regarding effective approaches, healthcare teams can focus on the following key aspects:

Meaningful Transitions

Improve data flow and validation during patient transfers from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities

Medication Reconciliation

Nurses and admissions coordinators should perform real-time medication reconciliation to reduce readmissions.

Focus on Impact

Product leaders should prioritize making a meaningful impact and measuring it rather than just completing tasks.

Translating Strategy

Understand the art and science of product management to convert solution strategies into tangible actions.

Adapting to Organizational Growth

Recognize that methods used at lower levels may not be as effective as one moves up in the organization.

Aligning Team Mindsets

Communicate the right mindset to different teams with varying goals, using appropriate frameworks and processes.

Enhancing Transparency in Post-Care Facilities Feedback

We have to grasp the personas, roles, and titles of those involved to help create a better connection to their workflow processes. First-hand experiences, such as shadowing staff or observing daily routines, reveal the importance of these interactions in real-life situations.

According to Mr. Boyle: 

Engaging with our customers, partners, and end-users is essential for understanding the personas, roles, and titles of our target audience, particularly in healthcare and health tech product management.

For instance, witnessing a medication nurse being frequently interrupted while administering medications highlights the need for better solutions. Early career experiences with point-of-care kiosks in skilled nursing facilities emphasize the importance of efficiency and user experience. Observing and learning from these situations helps improve health tech products and the overall user experience.


As product management continues to evolve alongside the rapid advancements in technology, there are still untapped opportunities awaiting exploration. To ensure ongoing progress and success, product managers must remain mindful of key considerations and best practices in their field.

Here are the key take homes:

  • Utilizing electronic health records and digital systems data can enhance patient care and outcomes but requires further development.
  • Product management is crucial for healthcare integration, driving innovation, and creating solutions that address challenges faced by healthcare organizations.
  • Streamlining information flow between healthcare providers and adopting electronic data transfer can reduce silos and improve efficiency.
  • Engaging with customers, partners, and end-users helps understand target audience personas, roles, and titles, enhancing transparency in post-care facilities feedback.
  • Observing real-life situations helps improve health tech products and user experiences by understanding users’ needs and experiences.








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?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

Article podcast YouTube

PODCAST #14. How to Excel in Strategic Planning for Effective Product Management: Tips from an Industry Expert

During this episode of our Careminds podcast, we discuss the complexities of product management and go-to-market strategies with our guest, Donna Cichani. Donna has a background in product management, A/B testing, and data analysis, and has worked with notable organizations such as Johns Hopkins Medicine, KPMG US, and JP Morgan. Currently, she is the lead product manager at Heal.

Our conversation with Donna covers topics like data analysis and strategic product planning, the differing mindsets between 0 to 1 and one to end product development, and methods to increase user engagement and product optimization. Drawing from her diverse experience in industries like healthcare, technology, banking, and finance, Donna shares her thoughts on the importance of strategic planning in product management.

Defining Success Criteria for Product Stages

When determining the success of a product, you consider both the user perspective and the business perspective. Using the example of an RPM solution called Pulse, designed for chronic disease management at Heal, we can explore the key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics that matter most.

Firstly, there are patient-centric KPIs that focus on adoption and usage. Monitoring how often users engage with the solution to record their vitals and biometrics is crucial. The main goal is to encourage patients to stay proactive in managing their chronic conditions by using the solution more frequently.

User centricity is key, focusing on how you are improving life and the experience for the end user.

Secondly, clinical outcomes are also important. By tracking improvements in specific health measures, such as A1C levels for diabetic patients or maintaining healthy blood pressure ranges for hypertensive patients, we can gauge the effectiveness of the solution in promoting better health.

Also, business KPIs, such as attribution, play a significant role. For the RPM solution, it is important to know what percentage of patients using the solution are attributed to Heal for their primary care doctors.

Defining the best approach for optimizing a product depends on the specific product and its maturity curve. Take, for example, the RPM solution mentioned earlier. The primary goal of any RPM solution is to encourage users to engage with it consistently and measure their biometrics routinely.

At one point, the team behind the RPM solution considered expanding its features to include medication refill reminders, envisioning a more comprehensive ecosystem for patient monitoring. However, they quickly recognized the importance of perfecting their core RPM capabilities before adding secondary features. By maintaining focus on their core competency, they ensured they wouldn’t dilute the solution’s main purpose.

Optimization often involves considering the user experience, especially when it comes to healthcare solutions. In the case of the RPM solution, refining its core features contributed significantly to increased patient engagement. This example highlights the importance of prioritizing the optimization of a product’s primary functions before expanding its scope.

When to Focus on New Features or Enhancements in Product Development

You should invest heavily in user research as it’s crucial for driving customer adoption and engagement. During the discovery phase, our team spent considerable time observing patients in their natural environments, using existing products like glucometers, and capturing their day-to-day experiences. This research also included understanding how nurses, doctors, and other providers utilized data points during home visits.

By conducting ethnography studies, user research, and interviews, we were able to identify key pain points, which we then translated into enhancements and feature opportunities to drive engagement. To ensure customer adoption, it’s essential to focus on understanding users’ pain points, observe their interactions with your product or similar products, and avoid relying solely on secondary sources or high-level questions.

I don’t think that user research for usability testing ends during the discovery phase.

It’s important to note that user research and usability testing don’t end during the discovery phase. After creating our first prototype, we went through two additional rounds of usability testing to validate our assumptions, identify any flaws in our user flow, and refine the solution iteratively. This process continued up until the launch of the minimum viable product (MVP).

The ability of product managers to remain detached from their original plans, even after investing significant time and effort, is fascinating. When real data no longer supports the initial plan, it’s crucial to let it go, find a new direction, and create a better product that serves users more effectively. This adaptability is an essential aspect of successful product management.

Effective Optimization Techniques & The Best Ways to Apply Them

Optimization techniques focus on understanding existing processes, examining them through the lens of various stakeholders involved in the end-to-end flow, and identifying opportunities for efficiencies. For instance, by analyzing a process that takes 10 days and involves five stakeholders, you can uncover ways to reduce the number of stakeholders or the time each takes to complete their part.

Process mapping, a technique that visually represents the steps involved in a process, helps identify bottlenecks, redundancies, and areas for improvement. A/B testing is another valuable technique, where two different versions of a feature or product are tested with the target audience to determine which performs better.

In my experience, one of the keys to successful optimization is to involve the entire team in the process.

Involving the entire team, including product, engineering, design, sales, and marketing, leads to a more holistic view of challenges and opportunities, ultimately driving better optimization decisions. Keeping the end user in mind is crucial, as the goal is to enhance their experience.

It’s important to acknowledge that the rapid growth of product management as a career has led to a mix of undisputed go-to practices and those still being defined through trial and error. Sharing experiences and learning from others in the community can help navigate this evolving field and contribute to its development.

What Drives a Product Manager: The Exciting Facets of a PM’s Career

Effective management in product management involves three key aspects. First, tailor your approach to the needs of each individual on your team, recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Second, invest in the long-term career growth of your team members, extending beyond the scope of your organization, by providing mentorship and opportunities for personal and professional development.

The third aspect involves being able to oversee the work of your team without micromanaging, while still being prepared to jump in and help when necessary. Balancing trust and autonomy with support is essential for successful management.

It’s an exciting time for all the PMs because we are focusing on doing good and building impactful products and services that can make people’s lives better.

In terms of current excitement in the field, AI and machine learning are opening many doors in product management. There’s a rewarding shift in focus in both healthcare and fintech industries. In fintech, increased emphasis on financial literacy and access to banking products for the unbanked population is driving positive change. Meanwhile, healthcare is moving towards value-based care, focusing on preventative measures and overall population health, which reduces costs and the burden on the healthcare system. This is an exciting time for product managers as they work on building impactful products and services that improve people’s lives.

Wrapping Up

As product managers continue to navigate this rapidly evolving field, learning from industry experts like Donna and sharing experiences within the community will be invaluable in driving growth and creating impactful products that make a difference in people’s lives. Key takeaways from our conversation include:

  • Defining success criteria for product stages: It’s crucial to consider both user and business perspectives when determining the success of a product.
  • Focusing on core competencies in optimization: Prioritize optimizing a product’s primary functions before expanding its scope or adding new features.
  • Conducting user research and embracing adaptability: Engage in user research, usability testing, and iterate on your product based on data and feedback, and remain open to change when necessary.
  • Effective management and exciting developments in the field: Tailor your approach to individual team members, invest in their long-term career growth, and maintain a balance between autonomy and support. Embrace the exciting opportunities in AI, machine learning, and the shifting focus of various industries.


PODCAST #13. The Psychology of Product Management: Unlocking Human Insights & OKRS






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?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

Article podcast YouTube

PODCAST #15. Engineering Leadership: How to Integrate Team Coaching & HealthTech Product Management

Our 15th episode of the Caremind podcast features an engaging conversation with Ali Littman, Head of Engineering at Modern Health. If you’ve been curious about the inner workings of tech leadership, this is an episode you don’t want to miss.

As a respected voice in her field, Ali regularly shares her knowledge and experience in management and leadership at various forums. She stands out for her unique approach, seamlessly combining technical expertise with empathetic leadership, serving as a lighthouse for those finding their way in tech.

But Ali’s role extends beyond her responsibilities at Modern Health. She’s also passionate about nurturing future leaders, offering coaching and mentorship that empowers individuals to set and achieve their career goals, tackle imposter syndrome, and overcome professional obstacles.

In our latest chat, we discuss the multifaceted aspects of coaching, technical product management, and engineering.

The Unconventional Road to Engineering Leadership

Ali Lid’s career path hasn’t been the typical one. It’s characterized by a deep exploration of the healthcare industry and an adept understanding of technology, which has established her as a strategic force within various organizations. This navigation through the sectors helped her accumulate a broad knowledge base, crucial for her to excel in the Technical Product Management (TPM) function and within engineering.

Her responsibilities were diverse, including the design of architecture and organizational strategies. These responsibilities not only drew on her healthcare industry insights but also on her grasp of business operations, fueling the engineering initiatives she spearheaded.

According to Ali:

I definitely have a bit of a nonstandard career path.

As time passed, she was afforded the chance to grow within her roles, gradually taking on tasks that were once the domain of an engineering director. She was entrusted with additional engineering teams, propelling her growth further.

How Technical PMs Can Tackle Career Growth Challenges  in Medium & Large Companies

Ali Lid suggests that roles such as technical project managers and technical product managers can often be less defined in many companies, especially if the teams are small. This can lead to rapid early growth, but as structure is introduced into these organizations, they often remain flat, making further growth more challenging to navigate.

Additionally, if the roles are less defined, or a career ladder is introduced later than when you joined the organization, there may be a lack of alignment around the expectations for each level and what growth opportunities could look like. As such, it’s crucial to establish your growth goals early and communicate them with your manager or mentor to plan your career progression effectively.

It’s really important to as early as possible, establish what your growth goals are and communicate them with your manager or mentor, so that you can start planning for your career progression.

However, in these organizations, you might need to work extra hard to demonstrate your value and impact, especially during the startup phase. This can be even more challenging if you don’t have all the necessary tools to demonstrate your impact, such as product analytics.

Strategic Thinking for Self-Promotion: What are the Core Elements?

Ali believes self-promotion is closely tied to understanding how success is measured in terms of business impact. Aligning your work with business goals demonstrates value, and understanding how success is measured relative to your career ladder can help you have more productive conversations with management about your growth.

The way I think about self-promotion has a lot to do with really understanding how success is measured, which I think a lot of it comes down to impact and what the business is trying to do.

Once you understand these concepts, Ali recommends continually identifying instances where you’re adding value and expressing your skills, and sharing these with your managers. This is the first level of self-promotion: letting your managers know the value you’re adding to the business.

The second level of self-promotion, is at the department level. You should make it clear how your work is benefiting your sub-organization or peers, which makes your value and influence more visible to other management members and peers.

The third level of self-promotion is at the company level. Show how your work drives the company forward and seize opportunities to present this to everyone. This gives you more visibility with senior leadership and the chain of leadership that approves promotions, and it can also help you gain sponsorship and feedback to build your case for growth.

However, when it comes to communicating and influencing upper management or stakeholders, it can be challenging to cut through the day-to-day noise. Aligning your communication with company goals and speaking the language of business value that the leadership cares about can help you stand out and promote your work effectively.

HealthTech Success: Why Technical Product Managers are Essential

Technical product managers are very important for health care because it’s a specialized, highly regulated, and rapidly changing industry. There are all these different recurring players in this complex web of relationships and integrations, and there are constantly new players, resources, and rules. Because of that, we really need people in this role to support the foundations of our systems to meet the needs of the industry and the ability for companies to work within it but also disrupt it.

This requires a lot of focus on ensuring that our systems can integrate with and scale alongside or operate meaningfully differently but still play by the rules. Technical product managers play a crucial role in that, and that’s where you end up getting that same marriage of the techno-functional side of things as well as the health care expertise needing to be well understood. They coordinate across all the different engineering teams and external partners to ensure that our systems operate in a way that scales and makes sense.

Talking about the importance of doing due diligence before going into a new company, career-wise, Ali suggests the following for immersing oneself in the business context:

Factors that Shape Our Choices: Constraints, Values, and More

It’s essential not to overlook the financial aspect of the business you’re involved in. If you’re not familiar with the basics of finance, it’s well worth your time to get up to speed. Start by learning about the customers – who they are and how they contribute to the business’s revenue. Understand how the business earns money and what factors can affect this income.

Make sure to look into the return on investment (ROI) for different business decisions. Identify the areas that consistently bring in money (cash cows) and the ones that seem to drain resources. Get a handle on the company’s budget and runway – or how long the company can keep running at its current burn rate.

When it comes to scaling technical product management teams and engineering teams, combining technology and operations is crucial. The top three components for technology include:

  • Deciding what you want to be core to your business and what your team should spend time on.
  • Finding technological ways to make development more efficient, such as standardized assets or service templates.
  • Standardization across platforms, standards, and processes to ensure consistency and avoid technical debt.

On the operations side, the top three components for scale include:

  • Strong people management, including scaling your hiring function, onboarding, and performance management.
  • Communication flows to ensure that information is shared effectively as the organization grows.
  • Decision-making strategies that allow for distributed decision-making while still maintaining clear accountability and shared processes for cross-functional resolutions.


How Management Principles Impact Personal Growth

The question of what to optimize for in life is indeed a profound one. It’s important to recognize that work and personal life don’t exist in isolation; they merge together to form the totality of one’s experience.

I don’t view work as entirely separate from my personal life. It’s a happy blend of the two that make up the entirety of my existence.

Through self-reflection and life coaching, you can identify the key values, objectives, and emotions that you wish to prioritize in your life. It’s beneficial to embrace emotions in the workplace, as many of our aspirations are linked to the feelings we desire to cultivate.

This approach can be applied to both professional and personal goals, aiming for specific experiences. For instance, if mentoring and fostering growth in others brings you joy, seek a job that allows you to do this regularly. Outside work, engage in activities that you love, such as rollerblading, which may also provide mentorship opportunities.

By employing the same frameworks to your work and personal life goals, you can devise an optimal plan to become the person you aspire to be.

In Brief…

Below are 3 takeaways from speaking with Ali:

  • Non-Traditional Career Paths and Leadership Roles: Ali advocates for the importance of defining growth goals early on, especially for roles like technical project managers and product managers where role definitions may be less clear in smaller companies.
  • Strategic Self-Promotion: Self-promotion should occur at three levels – with managers, at the department level, and at the company level. Effective self-promotion allows for more visibility, sponsorship, and feedback, all of which are essential for career growth.
  • The Importance of Technical Product Managers in HealthTech: In a specialized, regulated, and rapidly changing industry like healthcare, technical product managers play a crucial role. They support the foundations of the system, ensure it can integrate with and scale alongside others, and help the company operate within industry rules. 








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?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

Article podcast YouTube

PODCAST #16. Behind the Scenes of Healthcare: How Does Product Management Drive Change?

Today’s Careminds series features a special conversation with Russell Taff, the former head of product at Ready. Russell, with his wide range of experience and in-depth understanding, shared his perspectives on the healthtech industry. We had discussions spanning from the granular details to broader insights, as we tracked his journey from being a software developer to ascending to the role of VP of product. The narrative is rich with pointers that could help new engineers pave their path to success. Let’s dive right in.

Choosing Product Development: The Story Behind the Decision

From his formative years at General Assembly in New York, Russell first cut his teeth on web development. His initial technical background was broadened significantly during an apprenticeship at an early-stage EdTech startup, where Russell learned valuable lessons about product management, including the importance of clear communication, vision, and capacity planning.

Russell’s career took a decisive turn when he transitioned into roles as a support engineer and solutions architect at a Series B startup. He found himself at the forefront of the company’s relationship with its user base, effectively translating complex technical concepts into business cases. His experiences there amplified his growing interest in product management.

His first significant role as a product manager was at Rocket Wagon, an IoT consulting firm. A mentor, Alex Casts, provided him with invaluable guidance on incorporating data at the core of their operations. Casts also introduced Russell to powerful project management principles that have since become part of his professional toolkit.

When Russell eventually joined health tech firm Ready, as Director of Product Operations, his key focus was to enhance the product’s scalability and make product feedback more effective. Following a promotion to Vice President of Product at Ready, Russell faced the challenge of steering the company in a new direction as COVID-related demands began to recede. He needed to have both a grand vision for the company’s future and a clear plan for how to get there, requiring precise financial management, astute risk assessment, and a high degree of focused execution.

Transitioning into Product Management: What Qualities Do You Need?

Firstly, having a sense of compassion is key. Having had firsthand experience at the frontline, I’ve developed empathy for users. It’s essential to understand the reasons behind users’ requests for new features or bug fixes. Don’t just see these as new tasks; delve into the core of why these requests are being made. Trust me, this understanding will build trust and create a powerful dialogue with users.

Always be open to learning. Learn from everyone – those above you, those below you. Never shy away from saying, “I don’t quite understand this, could you explain further?” Embrace every teachable moment that comes your way.

Keep your hands dirty. It’s vital to be involved in every step of product development. Before using a new template or an existing one in a new project, test it out yourself. Ensure it’s the right fit. Don’t just try to make things work; ensure they’re the right tools for the job.

Don’t forget to include visual representations of your ideas. It’s not just about words on paper; your ideas need to come to life visually. This approach fosters collaboration and opens up opportunities for feedback.

How Software Engineers Can Get Better at Business Documentation

Trust-building is a must in any work relationship. Be clear about why you’re questioning anything to prevent any misunderstanding about your intentions. It’s all too easy for stakeholders to feel their ideas are being dismissed when they hear “no,” even when the real issue is limited resources.

Communicating with stakeholders to understand their perspective is vital. Gathering insights and helping justify requests ensures a shared understanding.

Cultivate trust by clearly articulating your reasoning, explaining the “whys” and “why nots,” and showing how an idea might work now or in the future. Displaying vulnerability and a readiness to learn can also help create a collaborative environment where everyone feels comfortable admitting when they don’t understand something.

As a leader, it’s vital to create a space where vulnerability is welcome. This kind of open communication can strengthen teams by fostering mutual respect and encouraging learning from each other. Conversely, if communication isn’t transparent, teams can start to fragment.

Product managers need to also demonstrate active listening and meaningful engagement with people’s ideas. Always question and understand the reasoning behind all actions – big or small. This strategy drives progress and helps prevent the team from losing sight of the collective goal.

Consumer Preferences Matter: Why Some Products Win and Others Don’t

In the dynamics of an organization, there can often be misconceptions about the technical or product teams. Particularly among stakeholders, both internal and external, the word “no” is heard frequently. This occurrence is not due to any mistrust or disbelief in the merit of an idea but often arises from the constraints of finite resources and decision-making capacity.

So, it still boils down to trust. Explain why you’re challenging something, so people understand it’s not a distrust in their ideas, but rather a consideration of priorities. Being upfront about your “whys” or “why nots” can help build this trust and foster a collaborative environment.

There needs to be a space where people feel safe to express their doubts, fostering an atmosphere of learning. It’s when communication breaks down and feelings are kept hidden that teams start to falter.

More importantly, you should listen. Understand the essence of people’s ideas, continually questioning why we’re doing what we’re doing. This mindset keeps us focused on our collective goals.

An interesting example from the healthcare sector illustrates how behavioral economics influence consumer decisions. The ‘left digit bias’ concept, where even a slight price difference, like choosing between gas priced at 4.99 and 5.01, impacts choices.

Pre-pandemic, healthcare choices were frequently based on value and accessibility rather than exhaustive comparisons. However, in the post-pandemic world, factors like convenience, safety, and trust in service providers have become paramount. By understanding what elicits positive or negative experiences, we can craft solutions that resonate more effectively with users.

Adding or Improving: When Is the Right Time to Shift Focus in Product Development?

We frequently see companies rush to release new features or products without putting enough thought into tracking their performance or visibility. This common shortcoming can lead to missed signals that are critical to various stakeholders within the organization. It’s crucial to align on the data with all parties involved, ensuring the agreed-upon success metrics are clearly defined and measurable for each project.

Moreover, understanding your audience also helps, whether that’s internal users navigating workflows or external customers engaging with your product. Each product or feature released should cater to a specific cohort and encourage them to perform a well-defined action. This could vary from clicking a sign-up button to entering their insurance information into a workflow. The key is to clearly define these aspects, understand them, and engage in targeted personalization and segmentation to encourage action.

Having a clear vision and articulating it effectively is crucial. Each feature we’re working on must contribute to the meaningful future of the company.

While the idea of testing might conjure images of lengthy processes with numerous steps, the reality is much simpler. By having a defined cohort and a clear action, you can execute simple tests even at the point of release. Changes to words or colors, A/B testing in production, and other modifications can yield insightful data about how to move your target audience over the action line effectively.

This understanding of growth and goal-setting is crucial. Good product management also requires keeping an eye on environmental factors such as economic conditions and current events, which may affect your product or its marketing strategy. For instance, in the healthcare sector, the news cycle can greatly influence public perception. By aligning your message with the current sentiment, you can tap into these fluctuations and use them to your advantage.

Additionally, timing should align with communication, especially in value-based care workflows. The comprehension of environmental factors and patient lifestyles contributes to more meaningful communication. 

The 80/20 principle advises focusing 80% of your time on the most crucial 20% of the work. This strategy guides prioritization and ensures that important tasks get the attention they need.

If you understand your patients or users’ routines, you can communicate effectively at the most opportune times. While it’s essential to grasp the difference between correlation and causation, hypothesizing about potential correlations and reducing noise as much as possible can help you master your data rather than always playing catch-up.

What Are the Essentials of Building a Successful Product Development Team?

The concept of collective ownership is something product managers should be passionate about and strive to bring to each project. Rusell believes that including everyone in the team, from ideation through to solution, cultivates a greater sense of ownership and responsibility. This shared ownership fosters team unity, enhances motivation, and ultimately results in a product that everyone is more emotionally invested in.

For every new project, it’s essential to include everyone in the team from the initial ideation phase through to solution. This approach fosters a sense of collective ownership.

The impact of this approach is significant because teams that feel a sense of ownership, rather than just contribution, are more likely to be driven by empathy for the end-user. This empathy can lead to more user-centric solutions, as team members feel more compelled to question and improve upon aspects of the product that may not provide an optimal user experience, even if they adhere to the original specifications.

Further, incorporating input from stakeholders at all levels and across different teams can strengthen the overall solution. For instance, involving customer service in brainstorming sessions can provide valuable insights from a unique perspective. Such inclusive collaboration not only drives motivation but also ensures a richer understanding of the problem and the proposed solution.

Taking the concept of collective ownership a step further, it’s important to consider the positive habits and associations we want to foster with what we’re building. Using BJ Fogg’s behavior model, which posits that behavior is a product of motivation, ability, and a prompt, we can create solutions that users will find genuinely beneficial and become habitual users of.

A practical application of this model can be seen in the telehealth space, where functionality has been transformative, particularly for those with limited access to healthcare services, such as individuals in rural areas. These tools are especially vital for mental health services, which might be scarce in these regions.

However, while these advancements are promising, caution must be exercised to avoid pitfalls such as overprescribing. In this regard, technology can provide a solution by utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze comprehensive patient data. Such insights can lead to personalized treatment plans, thereby reducing the risk of unnecessary prescriptions.

Wrapping Up

In our engaging podcast with Russell Taff, we gleaned vital insights for burgeoning engineers and product managers. Here are three distilled points:

  • Product Management Transition: Embrace user empathy, effective communication, and continuous learning when shifting from software development to product management.
  • Engineering-Business Documentation: Foster trust and collaboration with clear, concise communication that encourages openness among stakeholders.
  • Consumer-Centric Product Development: Understand consumer behavior and needs, incorporate data-driven strategies, and establish clear success metrics for impactful product development.
  • Collective Ownership in Teams: Create a sense of shared responsibility to enhance motivation and create more user-centric solutions.
  • Behavioral Economics in Healthcare: Consider behavioral economics and adapt to shifting consumer preferences, particularly in light of significant industry changes, such as those induced by the pandemic.








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?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

Article podcast YouTube

PODCAST #17. Charting a Course in Health Tech: From Student Entrepreneurship to Advanced Product Management

In our CareMinds series, we’re all about showcasing the many paths to success in health tech product development. Today, we have the pleasure of sharing Laura Furman’s unique story. Laura, currently a senior product manager at Oura, kicked off her leadership journey with Students Agencies.

Laura opens up about her everyday work. She emphasizes the importance of AI and machine learning tools in her role, particularly during the product discovery phase, contributing significantly to the product’s development.

We hope you find Laura’s story as captivating as we did. Happy reading!

Is Product Development a Bold Claim or a Logical Step?

“The student agency’s experience is something that keeps coming back and keeps coming up as something that was really unique and an interesting foundation.”

Laura Furman – Senior Product Manager at Oura

Conventional wisdom may suggest that early experiences become less relevant as a professional journey progresses. However, Laura finds that her involvement with Student Agencies continually resurfaces as an integral part of her career. Student Agencies is a non-profit educational institution that provided Laura with first-hand business management experience during her college years. It comprised several diverse, student-run businesses, offering services from real estate property management to tutoring, marketing, and even a full-service moving company.

In this unique setting, Laura served as the general manager of one business for a year before stepping up to become the corporation’s president. Although not directly related to product management, this entrepreneurial experience provided Laura with an invaluable perspective on running a business from top to bottom, including direct customer interaction and budgeting.

In her role as president of Student Agencies, she created the first CTO role, utilizing the skills of the engineering students to enhance business performance. Despite the annual turnover inherent to the student-run structure, Laura credits an experienced CEO’s guidance for the continuity of the businesses. This end-to-end entrepreneurship experience, she believes, is a great asset for anyone entering product management, as it provides a comprehensive understanding of business strategy.

Transitioning to Product Management: A Personal Account

“I think a lot of people when they’re transitioning have a hard time, sort of filling the gap between where they are now and the skills they need to have as a product manager.”

Laura Furman – Senior Product Manager at Oura

Laura embarked on her career journey with uncertainty, opting for the retail industry as her starting point. She joined Gap’s management rotational program, and was tasked with e-commerce merchandising. Her role entailed strategizing the customer experience on Gap’s website, from product discovery to checkout.

As she delved deeper into her role, Laura identified a problem within one of the categories she was managing. This challenge provided an opportunity for her to explore business analytics extensively. She carefully examined every SKU, tracked trends across the assortment, and used this data to analyze the state of the business.

The most significant shift in her career occurred when she led a design sprint to rectify the problem in her managed category. This experience lit up her path towards product management, leading her to investigate job descriptions and key skills required for a product manager role. With several skills already under her belt and a drive to fill the gaps in her resume through projects and side assignments, she was ready to transition into product management.

The Evolving Role of a Product Manager

“My belief is we will produce the best ideas if we collaborate, I don’t think the PM should be coming up with all the solutions themselves, the solution should arise out of collaboration with the team”

Laura Furman – Senior Product Manager at Oura

The core of a product manager’s role is being the voice of the customer. It’s about understanding their needs, not just through face-to-face discussions but also through data analysis. As you step into it, remember that it’s not only about the customer’s desires, but also about striking the right balance with the business’s expectations.

When you craft your strategy, your ability to bring people onboard will be invaluable. Drawing from Laura’s experiences and skills in debate and negotiation, you’ll find that seeing multiple perspectives and effectively persuading others to join your journey can be a game changer. Additionally, remember that growing to be a product manager involves constant learning and iteration. You’d have to negate lengthy product road maps and promote a culture of continual testing and analysis.

Tools and Resources for Aspiring Product Managers

Taking the reins on your professional growth can be an empowering experience. One effective strategy to foster continuous learning is to dedicate each quarter to a specific focus area. This could start with understanding data analytics, mastering SQL, and becoming adept with tools such as Google BigQuery and Looker. This disciplined approach provides an opportunity to delve deeper into each field, enhancing your overall skillset.

Secondly, the value of mentorship in your journey cannot be overstated. A supportive and knowledgeable mentor can accelerate your growth, guide you through uncharted territory, and provide you with essential industry insights. Building connections within your organization is a beneficial way to learn from others and gain diverse perspectives.

Lastly, don’t let the fear of appearing unknowledgeable hold you back from asking questions. It’s a common misconception that asking basic questions exposes a lack of knowledge. In reality, it often leads to constructive conversations and enhances understanding. It’s essential to comprehend the bigger picture, particularly in understanding the system architecture. Spending time with engineers to grasp how different components of the system interconnect can provide invaluable insights. This broader understanding will be key in interpreting project estimates accurately.

How AI and Machine Learning Are Impacting Product Development

“The AI and machine learning tools that you use in your day to day…it provides an uncanny ability to tap into a problem, a domain that you don’t necessarily know a lot about. And it could quickly kind of guide you towards some potential solutions that could be applied to a certain identified problem if you don’t have a deep enough context to it.”

Laura Furman – Senior Product Manager at Oura

Mercari, a popular Japanese peer-to-peer marketplace akin to eBay, has an intriguing blend of challenges and experiences. The platform accommodates a broad array of categories, including clothing, technology, home goods, and handmade crafts. With this vast spectrum of products, one interesting challenge is managing User Generated Content (UGC). The diversity in UGC listings and searches can lead to discrepancies and inconsistencies due to differences in syntax, which in turn could reduce the visibility of items in search results, thereby affecting sales.

One notable project tackled at Mercari was enhancing the search and listing experience based on the brand and category of an item. The goal was to pre-populate custom attribute fields specific to the item type being listed. For instance, if a user is listing an iPhone, they could specify the model and size, allowing potential buyers to filter down their searches effectively. This approach was particularly useful in more subjective categories like clothing, where the search could be as specific as ‘straight leg jeans.’

To add another layer of sophistication, machine learning was brought into the mix. This technology helped predict necessary custom attribute fields based on the brand and category. It also fed these attributes into Mercari’s search taxonomy to optimize search results. Towards the end, the project began to utilize computer vision to guess the category and subcategory of clothing based on the photo. While this presented new challenges due to the variety of user-submitted photos, it also offered a fascinating direction for further enhancing user experience on the platform.

Sure AI and ML Complement Product Development, But How Can Managers Put Them to Effective Use?

First, from a day-to-day operational perspective, AI could serve as a sounding board, albeit it may not replace the nuanced understanding and context that comes from someone deeply familiar with the product. The idea here is that AI tools might not fully grasp the complexity of the product and its dynamics like a human member of the team who is immersed in the project.

The second application is more exciting: using AI tools to create prototypes. This could be especially beneficial for non-technical PMs who don’t have coding skills. They could potentially leverage AI to write code and thus develop prototypes, enhancing their ability to demonstrate their ideas beyond mere words. While there’s skepticism that AI could generate a feature-ready piece of code given the uniqueness and standards of any given codebase, using AI to create initial prototypes could be an innovative approach that empowers PMs to delve more into the technical side.

It is also believed that AI could streamline the process of creating a prototype, saving valuable time. This makes AI an attractive tool in the product management space, not just for its potential to enhance the overall workflow, but also to empower product managers with new capabilities.

From Novelty to Necessity: Does a Fresh Perspective Matter When Companies Hire?

Laura’s journey to AA three years prior was primarily driven by a long-standing personal passion for health and wellness. After reading “Why We Sleep” by Matt Walker, she developed an interest in the importance of sleep for mental performance and overall wellbeing. Tracking sleep with an “Oura” ring and studying the data became an obsession, eventually leading her to a position within the company. Her shared vision with the company’s CEO, who viewed sleep as the foundational pillar of health much like personal training, created a strong connection.

Her career transition strategy involved balancing industry experience and role skills as two vital variables. Initially, she drew upon her retail industry experience while developing necessary product skills. In the next move to AA, she utilized these newly acquired skills despite not having prior industry experience. Laura believed that possessing either industry experience or role-specific skills could facilitate a successful transition.

Laura’s perspective emphasizes seeing personal strengths as valuable contributions to her role and not being discouraged by perceived shortcomings. This outlook, particularly essential in product management, is about leveraging unique experiences and skills to meet new challenges in different industries. She also understands the importance of this mindset in successfully navigating work within a remote team, such as the Finnish-based company AA.

Understanding and Improving Predictable Delivery

Working across different time zones and geographies is challenging. While Laura has experience in this from her time at Merri, dealing with a 10-hour time difference at her current company has brought new challenges. She has realized the importance of well-prepared and efficient meetings, especially given that her early morning is the end of the workday for her colleagues in Finland. A critical success factor in such settings is robust asynchronous communication, making sure everyone is fully prepared and discussions are fruitful. In addition, they have implemented a system of reviewing and improving their workflow at the end of every cycle, accepting the reality of time differences but striving to make it better with each iteration.

One key learning Laura shared is the downside of over-relying on Slack for communication. It can create confusion, lead to critical information being missed, and ultimately decrease overall happiness within the team. Instead, they have focused on making communication more structured and traceable, using tools like Sigma, Jira, and Confluence to comment directly on project documents, ensuring a clear source of truth. If there is an excessive use of Slack, it’s often a sign that the project is experiencing chaos and needs attention.

When it comes to product improvement, Laura’s approach is guided by lessons from her mentor from Google. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) should be ambitious, and achieving 70% of an OKR is a commendable feat. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are used more at the feature level, measuring specific outcomes. She emphasizes the importance of treating the development of a feature as a hypothesis – if they do X, they should see Y outcome in the data. This approach then allows them to review and learn from the outcome, guiding the development of future features.


Here are the most important points from our conversation with Laura Furman: 

  • Early experiences matter

Laura’s involvement with Student Agencies during her college years, a non-profit educational institution that provided first-hand business management experience, played a crucial role in shaping her professional journey.

  • Transitioning is possible with the right skills and drive

Despite starting in a seemingly unrelated field (retail industry), Laura managed to transition to product management by building on the skills she had and bridging gaps through projects and side assignments.

  • Adaptability and continual learning are key in product management

The product manager’s role is not stagnant; it evolves with customer needs and business expectations. It also involves continuous learning, testing, and analyzing to stay ahead.

  • AI and ML are powerful tools in product development

These technologies not only assist in operational efficiency but also empower product managers, especially those with limited technical skills, to visualize and prototype their ideas.

  • Personal strengths and unique perspectives are valuable asset

Even if you lack industry experience, personal strengths, skills, and a fresh perspective can be instrumental in succeeding in new roles and different industries. 








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?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

Article podcast YouTube

PODCAST #19. Where Does Problem Solving and Product Management Intersect? HealthTech PM Shares Some Insights

In this episode, we had a chat with Rany El Diwany, who’s the Director, Product Management at Athena Health, about handling payments from patients and dealing with insurance issues. 

Rany told us about how problem-solving and managing products are related. He also talked about the usual hurdles he comes across in his job managing products. 

The article below presents a summary of our conversation.

Companies’ Endless Pursuit of Solutions without Problem Clarity

In product management, the focus is not solely on building software but rather on solving business problems. As a product manager, your role is to lead a team in understanding and addressing these key problems. One effective approach is to explain the problem in a simplified manner, ensuring everyone involved shares a common understanding of the issue.

“Always start by making sure you have a full understanding of the problem before even getting to the very first solution that you want to think through.” 

Rany El Diwany – Director of Product Management at Athena Health

However, it is crucial to remember that before jumping into solutions, you must thoroughly understand the problem. Take a step back and examine the problem from different angles, exploring its nuances and complexities. This is where the double diamond principle comes into play.

Exploring the Double Diamond Principle

The double diamond principle is a framework that consists of two diamonds, each representing a specific phase: discovery and definition. 

The first diamond, the discovery phase, involves gathering a wide range of qualitative and quantitative information. You’ll want to collect customer feedback, stay informed about industry trends, and analyze relevant data. This phase aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the problem space.

During the discovery phase, patterns and recurring themes will emerge from the gathered information. These indications of convergence signal that you are getting closer to identifying the core aspects of the problem. It’s important to pay attention to these signals as they will guide your next steps.

Convergence leads you into the second diamond, the definition phase. At this point, you organize the collected information into different work streams, horizons, or categories. With a clearer picture of the problem, you can begin prioritizing the identified areas. Prioritization is especially critical in complex domains like healthcare, where limited resources must be allocated effectively.

Once you’ve prioritized the areas, you transition from the discovery phase to the definition phase. You select the highest priority item for further analysis and solution development during this stage. While other areas are temporarily set aside, they remain in your peripheral vision for future consideration.

How to Navigate the Problem Space

“If you haven’t aligned with what you’re trying to solve and agreed on what the definition of success is to start, you’re certainly gonna arrive at an end state where not everyone is happy.”

Rany El Diwany – Director of Product Management at Athena Health

Mr. Diwany understands the significance of grasping and aligning with the problem at hand. He believes that measuring success and achieving alignment among team members heavily relies on a solid understanding of the problem being solved. Moving forward as a cohesive unit is challenging without a shared comprehension of the problem and its definition.

At Athena, Rany‘s preferred method for building alignment is by utilizing pitch decks. These decks serve as comprehensive presentations that outline the why, how, and overall plan for addressing a specific problem. They provide a foundation for sharing information and conducting readouts with stakeholders, including leadership, customers, and partners. 

In Mr. Diwany‘s view, alignment is not a one-time event but an ongoing effort throughout the product development journey. Regular check-ins, discussions, and feedback loops are essential to maintaining alignment and adjusting the course if needed. By continuously revisiting and refining the understanding of the problem, the product team can stay on track and adapt as necessary to ensure that their solutions effectively address the needs of the business and its stakeholders.

By thoroughly understanding the problem space before diving into solutions, you establish a solid foundation for your work as a product manager. This approach allows for a more focused and effective product development process. You can confidently explore solutions, knowing that you clearly understand the problem you’re trying to solve. This ultimately increases your chances of developing a successful product that addresses the needs of your customers and your business.

Strategies for Analyzing and Understanding Complex Problems

From Mr. Diwany‘s perspective, objectivity is a key principle when making decisions. Emotions should not drive choices; rather, data should be the guiding force. To achieve this, asking the right questions and gathering qualitative and quantitative data is crucial. 

Identifying the broad categories of the problem is only the initial step. Delving deeper and analyzing the underlying layers is equally important. This can be achieved by utilizing well-known practices such as the “five whys” technique, which helps uncover the root causes and significance of the problem. Product managers can gain a clearer perspective by breaking down complex issues into simpler components and developing an intimate understanding of the problem’s intricacies.

Effective communication is paramount throughout this process. As a product manager, you are responsible for conveying the problem to various stakeholders, including customers, leaders, and team members such as engineers and UX professionals. The goal is to ensure everyone involved shares a common understanding of the problem. Any misalignment in problem perception can lead to challenges and hinder efforts to solve the problem effectively.

Product managers should actively evangelize their comprehension of the problem space to promote a shared understanding. Even in their absence, others discussing the initiatives should be able to explain them consistently and accurately. Ron emphasizes the importance of maintaining a shared language and perception, as it ensures everyone is on the same page and facilitates effective collaboration in solving the problem.

How to Unravel Bias and Build Effective Roadmaps

“Your roadmap should be problem-focused and not solution-focused, especially because you don’t know what you’re going to learn between now and something that you might have queued up.”

Rany El Diwany – Director of Product Management at Athena Health

Maintaining a problem-focused approach is crucial once the discovery and definition phases are complete and pitch decks and roadmaps are being developed. Ron believes that roadmaps should revolve around the problems that need to be addressed rather than being fixated on specific solutions. This is because, throughout product development, new learnings and insights may emerge, potentially rendering previously planned solutions obsolete.

While it is possible to anticipate future problem areas and prioritize them in the roadmap, the exact solutions may not be known at that stage. As the work progresses and solutions are developed, Mr. Diwany emphasizes the importance of measuring their impact and assessing if they effectively address the critical aspects of the initiative. Defining appropriate metrics to validate the impact and success of the solutions becomes crucial in this context.

“Human bias is there, and it’s easy to get attached to a solution… you need to remove that layer of emotion from the equation and be confident in the metrics that tell a successful story.”

Rany El Diwany – Director of Product Management at Athena Health

Rany believes that within the realm of product management, it is essential to constantly remind oneself about human bias. It’s natural to become attached to a particular solution and emotionally invested in its success. However, he emphasizes the need to remove emotion from the equation and instead focus on finding the right metrics to gauge success. If a solution fails to yield the desired results, it becomes necessary to pivot and adjust based on data-driven insights.

Similarly, Rany notes that while the agile framework is valuable, it is not a rigid recipe but rather a flexible framework that should be adapted to suit the unique needs of each project. These challenges highlight the complexities inherent in product management. He believes that by recognizing these challenges and remaining open to continuous learning and adaptation, product managers can navigate the dynamic landscape of their role and strive for success.

What Are the Main Drivers of Lack of Transparency Costs in Healthcare?

One of the significant challenges in the healthcare industry revolves around understanding how different insurance companies handle various scenarios. Mr. Diwany acknowledges that each insurance provider has its policies and rules, which adds complexity to building software solutions based on logical patterns. The diverse approaches required by different insurance companies make it difficult to achieve consistency. To tackle this issue, Ron emphasizes the importance of promoting transparency, especially for patients who often have limited visibility into the internal workings of healthcare.

“We want to get to the point where we have transparency… helping patients understand what costs may occur before they actually see the provider.”

Rany El Diwany – Director of Product Management at Athena Health

Transparency is pivotal in helping patients understand and appreciate the information typically hidden from them. It involves providing patients with upfront cost information, enabling them to make informed decisions. Ron notes that healthcare’s lack of cost visibility sets it apart from other aspects of the US economy, where prices are known before purchasing a product or service. Building trust through transparency becomes crucial, as even professionals within the healthcare industry may have doubts about their healthcare bills.

Trust can be fostered by being clear and upfront with patients about the potential costs associated with their medical encounters. Establishing transparency and trust creates an environment where some of the challenges faced by healthcare practices can be addressed. Overcoming these barriers and transitioning to a system where patients are willing to make payments or down payments for services rendered requires a significant journey.

While progress and efforts are being made to establish transparency and trust, Rany acknowledges there is still a long way to go. 

Mr. Diwany explains that several functional aspects are being improved within the focus area of cost transparency. 

  • One of these areas is insurance selection, which can be challenging due to the many insurance companies and the wide variety of insurance packages. Accurately identifying the appropriate insurance for each patient is crucial to ensure successful claims submission and payment. 
  • Patient eligibility is another key component of cost transparency, involving understanding copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, and out-of-pocket limits. Having this information is essential for estimating costs accurately.

In addition to cost transparency, Rany emphasizes the importance of enhancing payment options. This includes exploring various methods such as digital wallets and platforms like PayPal and introducing automated payment plans. Offering flexible payment options is particularly important for patients facing financial difficulties, allowing them to pay outstanding bills over time without significant financial strain.

Opportunities and Qualities for Success in HealthTech Companies 

As a PM, you’ll collaborate with diverse teams, including developers, user experience experts, analysts, customers, and leadership. 

The success of a product hinges on aligning all stakeholders toward solving the identified priority problem and achieving the desired metrics. Building strong relationships and working collaboratively with people from various backgrounds and roles are crucial skills for a PM. 

At Athena, the company values respect and intelligence, regardless of cultural, ethnic, or sexual orientation differences. Therefore, having strong communication skills and the ability to work with diverse groups of people are vital in this role.

“Being a PM and then being a PM in the enterprise B2B space and healthcare, there’s definitely some additional work that goes into play. And it’s hard; it’s a hard job, but it’s rewarding.”

Rany El Diwany – Director of Product Management at Athena Health

Rany highlights that introducing the healthcare dimension adds complexity to the PM role. Unlike the focus in some PM literature, which is often business-to-consumer (B2C), healthcare often involves business-to-business (B2B) interactions. PMs with experience in B2C and enterprise B2B environments understand the thoughtful coordination required when planning, building, and developing solutions.

Athena Health serves a significant number of healthcare providers, and any changes made to their workflows can substantially impact their business operations. Coordinating deployments and providing thorough training and insights to customers is critical to minimizing disruptions and ensuring smooth transitions. Being a PM in the enterprise B2B space within healthcare demands diligent efforts to ensure that solutions enhance workflows rather than hinder them.

While being a PM, particularly in the healthcare industry, comes with challenges, Ron also emphasizes the rewarding aspects of the role. Being a PM in the healthcare industry requires unique skills and a deep understanding of the importance of effective communication and collaboration in driving successful product development.

As a product manager at Athena, Rany is invested in driving company initiatives promoting healthcare transparency. He believes leveraging technology, data, and collaboration can make significant progress in this area. Athena is about creating a system where patients have full visibility, enabling them to make informed decisions and engage in proactive planning.

You Can Foster Psychological Safety With These Two Essentials

Psychological safety is crucial for effective teamwork and innovation. Creating an environment where everyone feels safe to contribute ideas, whether good or bad, fosters creativity and innovation. Mutual respect is key. Rather than an “us versus them” mentality, the focus should be on solving problems collectively. 

“One of the most important things is psychological safety, right? No one is bringing a bad idea to the table.”

Rany El Diwany – Director of Product Management at Athena Health

Building motivated and cohesive teams that enjoy working together and are enthusiastic about tackling challenges is essential. Encouraging open dialogue, valuing diverse perspectives, and creating a culture of psychological safety lay the foundation for successful problem-solving and driving innovation within the team.

Which Future Changes Should We Expect in Consumer Cost Management?

When it comes to healthcare practices, understanding and navigating costs can be complex. Practices have contracted rates with payers, but these contracts often involve intricate stipulations. For example, different charges may have different reimbursement percentages, or certain charges may not be reimbursed at all. 

Helping practices gain a clear and simplified understanding of the contracted rates in various scenarios is a crucial first step. Currently, efforts are underway to provide practices with easier access to published information from payers. 

While Medicare and Medicaid present additional complexities, simplifying the process for practice users to have transparent insights into contractual rates is considered a critical foundational milestone. This step will assist practices in managing costs more effectively and making informed decisions that will sustain them in the future.

Bottom Line

Below are three major takeaways from our chat with Mr. Diwany:

  • Thoroughly understand the problem before diving into solutions: Product managers must invest time in understanding the problem space from different angles before developing solutions. 
  • Transparency and cost management in healthcare: Cost transparency benefits patients and healthcare practices, leading to better financial experiences and streamlined operations.
  • Psychological safety for effective teamwork and innovation: Creating an environment of psychological safety, encouraging open dialogue, valuing diverse perspectives, and fostering collaboration are essential elements of effective teamwork.








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?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

Article podcast YouTube