How can product leaders guide teams to success? In this episode of the Product Leaders to Watch Series with Cognizant Product Director Chenny Solaiyappan, Unity Product Leader Marc-Andre Ferguson speaks on his diverse career path from filmmaking to product management roles at companies such as Autodesk and Unity. He emphasizes the importance of clear communication, teamwork, and understanding different perspectives to build trust within cross-functional teams. He discusses the potential of generative AI and the importance of user experience, security, and lifelong learning for product managers.

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Show Notes

  1. Guiding product teams to success requires respect for everyone’s craft and roles in cross-functional teams.
  2. Clear communication of goals, objectives, and roadmaps is key for teams.
  3. Empathy, listening, and understanding different perspectives builds trust.
  4. Product managers should guide product teams to success with respect, not authority.
  5. Agile development requires adaptability to changing priorities and milestones.
  6. User experience and viability are important factors in a great product.
  7. Generative AI could help scale development through testing automation.
  8. Applications supporting energy transition are an exciting area for innovation.
  9. Products should balance AI with human oversight for safety and trust.
  10. Customer experience encompasses the entire journey from discovery to support.
  11. Turning users into loyal customers builds long-term viability.
  12. Security and data privacy are especially important in industries like healthcare.
  13. Lifelong learning helps product managers stay up-to-date on trends.
  14. Communication and negotiation skills are valuable soft skills.
  15. Understanding business needs and financial outcomes is important.
  16. Behavioral psychology insights can improve understanding of users and teams.
  17. Defending product decisions requires courage, empathy and credibility.
  18. Books on varied topics aid career and skill development for product managers.
  19. Adapting to new teams and industries builds mutual understanding.
  20. Podcasts share valuable lessons and perspectives on product leadership.

About the speaker
Marc-André Ferguson Unity, Staff Product Manager Member

Product leader, problem solver, coach, dad. After 15 years in film and TV production, I moved to software as a designer, eventually to Product Management. I spent the last 15 years in both large companies (Autodesk, Unity) and startups (LANDR, Potloc, Contxtful). I give back through coaching and teaching with APM Canada. I sometimes break into song.

About the host
Chenny Solaiyappan Cognizant, Product Director

Chenny Solaiyappan is the Director of Product Management for Cognizant Trizetto's Government and Quality Solutions, and a founding member of the ClaimSphere suite of products, encompassing quality, HEDIS ®, CMS Stars, and clinical solutions. An accomplished Intrapreneur and Lean Startup Practitioner, he plays a pivotal role in shaping the overall product strategy and serves as the HL7 DaVinci Business Co-chair. With a notable track record, Chenny has provided consultancy to over 30 health plans across the nation, consistently raising Quality and Star ratings in Medicaid, Medicare, Federal Employees Health Plan, and Commercial health plan sectors, collectively supporting 30 million lives. His outstanding leadership and innovative contributions have earned him prestigious awards, including the 2023 Top 20 Global Product Manager Award by Products That Count, as well as the 2021 and 2019 Product of the Year awards by Cognizant Trizetto.

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