Anthony Oyakhilome Justice is a passionate Young engineer. he writes on how he found opportunity through social media. Enjoy.
In all honesty at the start of June, if someone had told me that I would be armed with the knowledge and experience of working in a product development space by July I would have laughed hilariously.
Stick around, let me tell you a short tale…
About a few weeks ago, maybe in the first or second week of June, I was chatting with a few friends on WhatsApp in the time I normally dedicate to keeping in touch with friends for the day when I decided to surf through some of status update of contact when I came across an update from my friend Blessing Emah.
Now, if you ever find yourself coming across Blessing’s content on any social media platform you’ll know the girl is passionate about products that make a difference. Ever since we came in contact during our time as UBA Campus Ambassador, we have maintained kind of a casual acquaintance relationship. One thing I liked about her was that she was always passionate about pushing herself and what she loved. It was on that fateful night while viewing her status that I found out that Treford was having a Product Management Bootcamp and that there were offering two open slots for a fully-funded scholarship to be a part of the Bootcamp.
Now you might be wondering why I took an interest in product management all of a sudden. The truth is that it wasn’t all of a sudden. I have been researching for a career that gave me a way to use my background in design, marketing, my interest in business, and technology into a single role that I can contribute to. Do you know whose role in a company is centered around design, technology, marketing, and business these days? If you guessed Product Manager, you get a gold star!
Back to the WhatsApp status, so I saw a flier of the scholarship Ad and what to do to land the scholarship.
Now let me tell you what exactly makes this situation a little bit funny. It’s funny because just like the time when I got selected as a UBA Campus Ambassador, it was also as a result of people helping me to like, comment, and share the video entry I posted on my Instagram page that got me in. So when I found out what I needed to do in the flier, I was like here we go again. The amazing thing was that I posted the link to my status and I woke up to a lot of notifications on my Twitter app. See the number of likes I got on my tweet below.
You can imagine the tingling sensation that was going through my body when I saw the engagement on the tweet in just one night, I felt really loved. So if you’re seeing this write up now and you liked my tweet back then, God bless you and you’re really really amazing, some even went as far retweeting it too.
Suffice to say I won one of the spaces from the available scholarship and I got the notification to this tweet below the night after.
I sent my details to the team and the logistics of the whole thing was handled smoothly.
Fast forward to the first day of the Bootcamp. I stepped into a virtual room with my fellow participants and then we were off to a grand start.
I didn’t really start to feel that I was delving deeply into product management yet till the session on Understanding Scrum and Agile by Damilola Owaseye who is a Program Manager at Interswitch Group. The way he broke down the Scrum framework and agile methodology into little bits that were really digestible were what finally made realize that these Bootcamp facilitators came prepared. Another session that really stood out for me was the Product Feature Prioritization Techniques taken by Ayodeji Fasore who is a Product Manager-Mobile Financial Services at Interswitch Group. It was packed with different prioritization models that ensure that the product team is working on the right feature with the most impact at the right time.
The Bootcamp sessions were spaced evenly to ensure that people were able to attend the sessions and attend to other activities they had going as well. The timing of the sessions was also quite spot on.
You know the one thing about knowledge is that it sticks with you easier when you actually have a space to practice what you’ve learned, that’s what Treford provided with the team case study projects. At the end of all the sessions at the Bootcamp, the participants were divided into six groups, and being the amazing and awesome guy that I am hehehe, I was placed in team Alpha.
My team involvement took off to kind of a rocky start in that I wasn’t really contributing at the beginning but I later got my act together. We used the feedback we got from a market survey to build a product we called “Helpa”.
Image Source: @mr_oyakhilome
Helpa is a service provider product, where customers are linked to vendors who carry out concierge services in homes and/or corporate organizations.
We worked on the features, the user story, the market fit, UI/UX, pricing, business model, security vetting, and a lot more things done that are usually done during the product development journey of a product. It was really insightful to get a glimpse into how actual product teams work together using the Scrum framework to build products while also being agile about it.
The prototype of the Team Alpha’s Product User Journey
Naturally, because the team wanted the product to be awesome, ideas kept coming up but we had to stay the course which meant any extra ideas went into the backlog so we could achieve the goal of our sprint.
The day before the demo my team and I were putting some finishing touches on the features of the product and during the course of the meeting because of my big mouth lol, my team chose me to present our product at the demo. (I was honored to do so just so you know).
Quick info here,
So the same day we had the demo was the same day that was the deadline to write the final exam for the Bootcamp. The way the Bootcamp was structured, participants would have to pass the exam and participate fully in team case study project to pass the Bootcamp. So you can imagine studying for your exam and trying to put together different parts of a product put together by the team into one single document, it wasn’t easy, to say the least. (deadline was later extended though).
Demo day came and I was still putting together team Alpha’s presentation. I read in the morning till around 11 am and from that time till around 1:00 pm I was putting together a mock demo for my team which I was supposed to do by 1:30 pm. After the demo, I went straight back to working on the final touches to the team presentation before the demo starts by 6:00 pm.
A few minutes to six, my phone started blowing up with calls because I wasn’t online yet and my team was getting worried lol. I think they thought I’d bail on them. I had to come online and apologized for the unnecessary worry. I joined the Zoom call and where the two of the judges Ayomide Bakare and Tolu Abiodun were already present and the Treford program manager Favour Dalemo was welcoming everyone to demo day.
Given that I wanted to get my presentation out of the way as quickly as I can so I could go write my exams, team Alpha went first and I gave my presentation.
Now I can’t judge my presentation but I think I did ok. After the presentation, it was time for the judges to tear into my presentation with questions. One of the judges asked a question that really got me thinking and one that if I’m being honest my team didn’t spend a lot of time on. After the Q and A session, I gave my bow and the other teams followed to give their presentations.
I was listening with half an ear when the other teams were presenting because immediately after my presentation I went to my team group chat was my team where my team was having a grand ol time congratulating me for my presentation.
The scores were announced around 8:00 pm and unfortunately, my team didn’t win the demo but in our defense, Sig Planner is an amazing product, and the few parts of the presentation I listened to impressed me.
After leaving my teammates in the group chat I went to write my exam. After 25mins anxious minutes I submitted and then I saw my score, I didn’t get a high score but I did ok.
I got my shining certificate on the 14th of July 2020 and I was smiling like a loon when I saw it in my mail. I could say that was the end of the Bootcamp but for me, this is just the beginning.
Imagine going from Twitter to participating in a fully-funded Bootcamp, who would have thought? One thing is for certain, going forward I’m definitely building my competencies to become a good product manager.
I’m really thankful for Treford for giving me this opportunity, if you happen to have an interest in product management, try taking a peek at the Treford website or visit their twitter handle @trefordgroup and register for the next cohort. It is going to be totally worth your money (if you’re interested in product that is).