Niklas has a commercial background within sales, marketing and business development in both B2B and B2C from companies like Ericsson, Telenor, Projectplace and MTG. He is currently successfully leading a team covering product management, product marketing and benefits development. In relation to his current position he will be speaking about what has made Benify the fastest growing HR tech company in Europe.
How did you get into Product Management?
I actually had my first product management role quite early. My second job was already as a product manager role in Ericsson, after two years in sales. Then I have been switching between product management, business development, marketing and sales. As we all know, these fields are very related and share the same success criteria: genuine customer understanding. In most businesses, these roles are also stakeholders to each other. So, I’d say that sales and marketing is a very useful experience before entering product management. You get an understanding of your key stakeholder groups, you build trust and mutual respect, and you learn to understand each other’s challenges. A common theme in my career has been industries that are under significant change and where customer needs and expectations are changing fast – so you not only need to be agile and innovative but also be able to predict (or take a bet on!) upcoming customer needs.
People often help along the way, has there been somebody that really helped you and how?
- Per Widerström, who recruited me to several roles in Telenor and Expekt.com. He helped me understand the importance of playing the cards that you have. Make use of your USP’s while you have them! They will soon be outdated…
- Mattias Hällström, the founder of Projectplace. He helped me realize the importance of being yourself at work. Only when you’re are true to your values and beliefs, you can come to the state of comfort and focus that you need if you want to become a great professional. Everything else will steal energy from you. I’m still trying…
- Several managers, and actually the whole management and training system, in Ericsson. I afterwards realized how immensely they helped me in building my professional character. They let me try new things and gave me surprising freedom for being in a large corporation. And I also got feedback that was tough to digest when received, but extremely valuable in the long run.
What book have you read lately that has really influenced you?
- The Startup Way- Eric Ries
It gives some very important thoughts on how to run efficient product management in large organizations by using the principles from a startup.
- Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey
a must-read for every product manager, and I realized it was decades ago I read it the first time...
On the bookshelf at hand for the daily product management craftsmanship I have titles such as
- Inspired (Marty Cagan)
- The Lean Product Playbook (Dan Olsen)
- And, of course, the ever-lasting bible: The Product Managers Desk Reference (Steven Haines)
How do you do Product management?
1. Our broad and deep access to insight, both qualitative and quantitative.
2. Our system architecture (divided into a platform- and solutions layer) and configuration flexibility.
3. We build the product together with our customers – and almost every employee is involved in that development.
Note: Niklas will be speaking more about his in his talk
What do you see as the most exciting development for Product Management?
We’ll be able to bring the user into the core of product management – for real.
There is a clear convergence happening between Product Management, branding and customer interaction - fueled by the IoT and big data access. “The product is the brand” will become even more true when almost all products will be connected. Product managers will have real-time access to insight on how their products are used, and often be able to interact directly with the users. This will bring the real user into the center of product management in a whole new way, and become the most important source for both innovation and storytelling.
Intrigued about the talk Niklas will be giving? Join us at The Product Leadership Day and meet the other inspiring individuals!
- Interview Karolina Jackson-Ward @ Webforum
- Interview Nicklas Rosvall @ Benify
- Interview Dariush Ghatan @ Pivot
- Interview Saeed Khan @ Transformation Labs
- Interview Love Thyresson @ Net Insights
- Interview Petter Johnson @ Arbetsförmedlingen
- Interview Markus Eriksson @ Sandvik Coromant
- Interview Anna-Karin Lindblom @ FLIR Systems
- Interview Magnus Billgren @ Tolpagorni