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A framework for PM skill development | Vikrama Dhiman (Gojek)


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Vikrama Dhiman heads all things product at Gojek, including product management, design, program management, and research, across Indonesia, Singapore and India. He has over 16 years of experience building internet products, consults with Fortune 500 companies, and is among the most well-known and respected product leaders in all of Asia. In our conversation, we discuss:

  • The most common traits among successful product managers

  • The 3 W’s framework for PM career growth

  • The Four A’s of leveling up in product management

  • The right way to push back as a PM

  • Common pitfalls that stall PM careers

  • Vikrama’s advice for transitioning into product management

  • Why intent alone is not enough

Some takeaways:

  1. As a PM—especially early in your career—make sure you’re nailing execution before you spend too much time on strategy. Effective strategic thinking requires context on the company, product, and stakeholders that you might not have yet. But you always have opportunities to execute and make your team members’ lives easier. As you execute more, you’ll begin to understand the strategic needs more deeply, and you’ll have more opportunities to contribute at that level.

  2. Three traits that make you a great PM to work with:

    1. Raise difficult issues without being difficult to work with

    2. Bring up important topics without drawing importance to yourself

    3. Remember that you are in charge of getting decisions made, not making the decisions yourself

  3. Good PMs produce good artifacts: PRDs, product notes, design briefs, etc. These demonstrate your proficiency across core PM skills, and they are your opportunity to “have impact on the impact”—to add value to a team that is adding value to the company. If you’re not sure what to focus on next in your PM career, go scrutinize your recent artifacts and ask how they could be improved.

  4. To push back on ideas without being difficult to work with, ask clarifying questions and bring the conversation to a logical space rather than an emotional one. Here are some of Vikrama’s favorites:

    1. Why has this become suddenly important?

    2. So that I am clear, can you help clarify xyz?

    3. What would success look like?

    4. What time frame do you need this in?

  5. Vikrama’s 3 W’s framework for PM career growth comprises (1) what you produce, (2) what you bring to the table, and (3) what your operating model is. Strong product managers excel at two of the three W’s. Product managers who rise in their career excel at all three.

  6. Three mindset shifts that can enable faster growth:

    1. Focus on things you can control: Concentrate your efforts on aspects of your role that you can influence or control, especially as you advance in your career.

    2. Always embrace change: As an IC PM, you experience rapid change. It’s important that as you get to mid/senior level, you never stop looking for ways to improve.

    3. How you see yourself: Cultivate a positive and growth-oriented mindset about yourself and your capabilities.

  7. Three core competencies to focus on when transitioning into PM roles are (1) data, (2) design/research, and (3) technology. Someone from a design background should focus on strengthening data or tech skills to complement their existing expertise. Similarly, someone from a tech background should pick a design skill to focus on. This approach allows for maximum leverage.

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Overcast, and YouTube.

Where to find Vikrama Dhiman:

• X:

• LinkedIn:

• Website:

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Vikrama’s background

(03:56) Three common traits among great PMs

(07:09) The first W: What you produce

(15:40) The second W: What you bring to the table

(18:58) The third W: What’s your operating model?

(20:36) Three traits that make you a great PM to work with

(21:49) How to improve the quality and quantity of your outputs 

(23:26) The art of the pushback

(26:55) Common factors that impede career growth

(33:39) Vikrama’s personal reflections

(39:33) Choosing which skill(s) to focus on developing

(46:28) The ambiguity of the PM role

(51:47) The 8 axis for PM growth

(56:57) Contrarian corner: Why intent alone is not enough

(59:30) Lightning round


• Taxi mafias, cash vaults, and 100% MoM growth: The story behind Southeast Asia’s biggest startup | Kevin Aluwi (Gojek):

• How to scrappily hire for, measure, and unlock growth | Crystal Widjaja, Gojek and Kumu:

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Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.

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