In talks with Ajachi from Walmart


In this Accredian Spotlight interview, we feature Ajachi Anthwal, a Technical Project Manager with over 7+ years of experience. She is currently associated with Walmart Global Tech India. Her insatiable quest for knowledge and upskilling led her to enroll in the Global Certificate in Product Management at Accredian.

Question 1: Which program & batch are you part of at Accredian & tell us more about your current work profile?

Ajachi: I am currently pursuing the GCPM program that started on 15th August 2021. I worked with SAP Labs as a Product Quality Specialist and an Agile Expert when I started my course. I recently moved to Walmart Global Tech India as a Technical Project Manager.

I am a certified yoga teacher and I also own a small initiative called Ajachi Yoga. I built my website while I was pursuing the program at Accredian. 

This is a one-woman effort and I consider this as my canvas to implement all my learnings. I am still improvising and adding new features while learning more as a Product Manager.

Question 2: Walk us through your career journey & what got you interested in Product Management? 

Ajachi: I was placed in Accenture straight from college and started as a Quality Engineer. I enjoyed being a small part of the huge Software development lifecycle (SDLC) back then. 

I moved to SAP Labs after a year and continued testing the products part of SAP S/4 Hana suite. I bumped into the role of a Scrum Master back in 2016, when my manager encouraged me to take extra responsibilities and everything changed for the better.

I started understanding all the stages of SDLC and while being more involved in the product. I worked with the best product owners and program managers who taught me best practices while developing a penchant for building the products. 

The major change happened when I started appreciating good products, little features here and there. Whenever I would use a new feature I would notice the time saved and the ease of use. I would recognize the challenges and come up with new features for the products I was using.

There is an application called ‘Planner for iPad’ by Takeya Hikage in the App Store which was a major reason for my interest in Product Management. Apple pencil has a feature that helps to move from pencil to eraser by just a double-tap near the nib of the pencil. 

This feature made my life easy until I came across the app feature- automatically changing eraser to pencil after one use – which made work better and more productive. It blew my mind how people are so creative and are constantly trying to make a product better. 

That is when it got interesting for me which opened discussions for crazy ideas and creative learnings. I decided to build my own product in the area I fancy the most and that’s when I started my website

Question 3: What all Product Management concepts, frameworks & tools have you mastered in your program at Accredian so far?

Ajachi: Agile methodologies, MVP framework, GTM strategy, A/B Testing, SWOT and my favourite, building personas are concepts that I have mastered from my program.

Question 4: What were some of the initial challenges when you got started on your Product Management journey and how did you overcome it?

Ajachi: When you start as a Product Manager it is difficult to understand when you own the product and when the product owns you. I have also seen Product Managers who were opinionated because they considered themselves as the only user of the product. 

So much information on the internet and all the creative people around me made sure that the imposter syndrome caught me off-guard. It was a challenge to remove self-doubt and make confident decisions, also because the product lives and dies with your decision-making skills.

Being kind to myself and acknowledging that the only way to move forward is to ‘do it than doubt it’. I kept reading and learning from everyone around me (especially on LinkedIn) and most of the failure stories of Product Managers were very inspiring. 

I started enjoying the journey of building the product and stopped focusing on the destination. Being an agile enthusiast helped a lot, I would learn in the empirical process and start with an empty canvas after every failure or success.

Question 5: Who is your favourite faculty at Accredian and what did you learn from them? 

Ajachi: Ishaan Anand is my favourite faculty. I have learned everything from him, as he took most of my classes. He will always be my favorite teacher because he made me realise the fine line between what the potential user is looking for and what I think the potential user is looking for. 

This approach has completely changed the way I build products. I am more aware of the decisions I make, especially when they lead to failure.

Question 6: In your view, what is the goal of Product Management & how has it evolved in the last few years?

Ajachi: I am pretty sure the goal of Product Management has always been focused on maximising profits but there is no denying over the years that it has evolved in so many ways. 

We are moving towards more ethical approaches like sustainability, ease of use, innovation and optimization. So I would rephrase, the goal of Product Management is to build mindful products to keep the user happy.

Question 7: What are the current trends in Product Management that you are most excited about? 

Ajachi: I am most excited about the data-driven approach in building products, and I really look forward to the ‘zero party data’ playing a key role in the near future.

Question 8: Which are some of the Product Management blogs, podcasts, communities & channels that you follow? 

Ajachi: Product School and Swag wala PM by Shravan Tickoo. ( I never had enough time to do my own research so I just relied on Shravan). He would like or share something relevant on LinkedIn and the Accredian reading material, many relevant blogs posts are mentioned in it.

Question 9: Please tell how your journey has been with Accredian so far and what are the elements that you liked.

Ajachi: My journey with Accredian has been self-subsistent (not trying to flex my fancy vocabulary it is extremely difficult to put my elaborate journey in one word).

Self- subsistence basically means to continue to exist without dependence on or support from external agencies and that is exactly the kind of relationship I had with the Accredian student’s dashboard. 

I had enrolled for the course one fine Sunday morning and it seemed like an impulsive decision initially. I will be very honest, I had my doubts about it, managing alongside work and doing it virtually were a few challenges. But when I started there was no going back.

I would miss the classes frequently due to other personal and work commitments but to my surprise, it was so easy to manage with the student’s dashboard. Everything was so organised with the reading material, class presentations and class video recordings for every topic neatly placed together (dopamine rush!). 

I would often watch the recordings at 1.5x speed to revise the concepts and ended up saving so much time. I never referred to any other material not only because I trusted the course but because I never had enough time for my own research, but when I would see book, podcast and blog recommendations in the reading material I would literally cry with joy.

Even though I consider myself a self-motivated electron, the frequent nudges via email from Accredian were very helpful to remind me I was on a mission. I am yet to watch a few videos, I might even pause my program for a while and just soak up what I have learned, implement it further in my work and then resume (that should be fun!).

Question 10: What is your advice to anyone wanting to start a career in Product Management? 

Ajachi: We have a plethora of good quality information available, and I assume you have already started preparing and have your action items planned. But during the journey, it is important that you are compassionate to yourself, the user and the product. 

It is also important that you are writing what you are learning. It definitely helps to retain the knowledge. Also, it is very important that you do more and doubt less. 

Hope you enjoyed reading this interview. If you want to read more such interesting student stories, check out Accredian Spotlight.

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