What Every Product Manager Needs to Know About Executing a Vision— Interview With Dell VP Product

Executing a product vision is the primary goal of product managers.

The company decides what/where they want to be and the product manager gets them there.

We know that this is a task easier said than done and involves processes which are in constant need of improvement. That’s why I sought out expert advice from Dell Software’s VP of Product Management for Endpoint Systems Management, Lubos Parobek.

Keep reading for Dell’s expert product management insights into the Internet of Things, what keeps product managers happy at work and more!

Spectechular: What keeps you happy at work as a product manager?

LP: My passion at work comes from being able to develop innovative products that solve significant customer problems. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing customers gaining value and overcoming obstacles through great products!

Spectechular: What’s the best advice you’ve gotten as a product manager?

LP: Being close to the customer, and having an intimate understanding of their challenges and needs, has been the best advice I’ve received as a product manager.

“The biggest value the product manager can bring to an organization are key customer insights to help ensure successful and differentiated products.”

Spectechular: What challenges do you see product managers encountering in 2 years? 10 years?

LP: “Product Managers in technology companies will continue to be challenged by the incredibly fast rate of change in the market.

Trends such as cloud, mobile, and the Internet of Things will pose new opportunities and threats, and product managers will be challenged to keep up with the implications of these changes on their products.

Spectechular: How can product managers effectively execute a product/company’s vision within the resources they have available?

LP: Prioritizing efforts around key initiatives that have a large impact in the market and with your customers is vital. There is lots of pressure from existing stakeholders such as your installed base, sales and service for a wide range of features.

“Balancing this pressure against investment in your strategic priorities is key.”

Spectechular: How does Dell cope with the Internet of Things (IoT)?

Lubos Parobek: We believe that the Internet of Things is the next evolution in a connected world.    Just as PCs helped people create digital data, and then the internet help folks to share data, we see sensors now becoming active participants, expanding human capability.

Spectechular: How is Dell helping their customers cope with IoT?

LP: We see customers working out how to have better information to improve efficiency and the experience for their own customers.  We start with what the customer goal is, and work to map out a framework for a solution.  This is very similar to how we approach problem solving in other technology areas as well.

Spectechular: How does the multi-channel behavior of Dell’s customer’s today affect the development process?

LP: The channel adds another input into the process of determining product investments and priorities. The channel, much like the internal sales team, is an important source of both customer and prospect needs.  Channel partners that focus on particular verticals can provide insights that are otherwise hard to determine. They can also be a valuable source of competitive information.

Spectechular: IdeaStorm was introduced several years ago to help keep Dell at the height of innovation while ensuring the customer’s voice is heard within the development team. How is IdeasStorm going? Have any really innovative ideas come out of it? Have any products been actualized?

LP: KACE does not use IdeaStorm, but we use a similar service called UserVoice. UserVoice allows product management to see an aggregated and prioritized view of feature requests based on votes. It’s a very useful resource for helping to determine the priorities of feature requests, and we try to implement the top feature requests in every release.

Spectechular: What is the one product management tool you could not live without?

LP: There are so many helpful tools out there today, but a good cross functional collaboration platform like Confluence and Jira from Atlasssian is key.


Mark is the Lead Author & Editor of Spectechular Blog. Mark established the Spectechular blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Product Management.