8 Product Management lessons from the movie 'Gold'


The movie 'Gold' starring Akshay Kumar, is an inspirational story of how passion, determination and persistence can help one achieve the Impossible.
The character of Tapan Das, who was the Team Manager of Indian Hockey Team, is a fine example of an ideal Product Manager.

Listing few of the core responsibilities/skillset of an ideal PM with examples from the movie (Spoiler Alert! ):
  1. Vision: The foremost responsibility of a PM is to set the vision for the team. During 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Tapan clearly set the vision for Gold medal as free India as a Goal and Vision.
  2. Hustle: As a PM, you need to hustle to get things done. Tapan, hustled to meet Mr Wadia to get things done over and over again through out the movie.
  3. Stakeholder Management: Aligning different stakeholders to your vision and progress is critical. Tapan did a brilliant job of doing that with Mr Wadia, Imtiaz, Samrat and other members of the team. Be it a royal blood like Raj Pratap Singh or a village boy like Himmat, he aligned everyone to a common objective over and over again through out the movie. Post Independence, when Mr Wadia asked him, "If the current team can win a Gold Medal?". Though he knew it was not possible at the moment. He told "Yes" and than worked towards making it happen. These are some of the most important quality that a PM needs to demonstrate on a daily basis.
  4. Expert Advice: Whenever, you start on a new project, it's best to take expert advice. Tapan at the start of his journey reached out to Samrat, the hockey sensation and not only got the important directions on how to start, but also a mentor and believer, who helped when all the guards were down.
  5. Extrinsic Factors: There are always external factors at play which is beyond our control. Only way to sail through them is persistence and determination. When the team was ready, India and Pakistan partition led to it to break. It was determination and persistence of Samrat and Tapan that helped them achieve so much, in such a little time.
  6. Limited Resource: You are always sort of resources. Only way to succeed is to figure out ways to work around by thinking out of box and come up with innovative solutions. Tapan, when sort of funds, got a Buddhist Monastery for setting up National Hockey Camp.
  7. Multiple Hats: As PM, one needs to wear multiple hats, like from resourcing to logistics to planning. Given the needs of hour, resource availability, one needs to fill in different roles. Same was depicted by Tapan, when he went out scouting talent to build a team or took up logistics for the team stay post independence.
  8. Influence, don't enforce: As a PM, when you work with other stakeholders, it important to know your boundaries and figure out ways to influence them. You should be persistent but never enforce your opinions. You need believers. Like when Tapan wanted Himmat to play in the finals, his approach was to convince the Captain, Vice-Captain and the team. As a PM one needs to take this up on a daily basis with Tech, Business, UX, Operations, etc.
This was a fun attempt at explaining the role of Product Manager. Hope, you enjoyed reading this. Do comment!
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