Making Investment Decisions is Product Management

Anuraag Verma
Nov 19, 2018

Nick Hill, Product Manager at Humana, discusses how to get executives to invest in iteration, and why product management is similar to investment management.

Nick Hill has the honor of being the first product manager at Humana, a Fortune 500 healthcare company. Acknowledging that the healthcare industry and the needs of consumers are rapidly changing, Nick and his team work with various lines of business to achieve their business goals by building digital products.

Nick’s team focuses on evolving interactive care for members from a purely financial relationship to one where users’ health and well-being is top priority. Technology can help Humana bridge that gap, and Nick’s team act as an a internal consultancy to help do so.

Nick changes the way teams work.  Immediately after understanding business objectives and goals over a two-week discovery period, Nick and his teams start building products. Even though they don’t yet know exactly what the solution will be, they get started, and continuously iterate.

In this context, the role of a product manager is similar to that of an investment manager. Rather than asking for a check to build a specific solution, Nick asks executives to invest in figuring out a solution. This requires a leap of faith on behalf of key stakeholders, who are writing a check without knowing exactly what they’re going to get in return.

Nick presents these investment opportunities to stakeholders by laying out what the team knows, what they’ve learned, what they need to learn, and how they plan to learn it. He adds that while past returns don’t guarantee future returns, having a few small success to point to can be highly influential.

You’ll learn a lot from this episode about treating product decisions like investment decisions and how to move the needle at a large organization.

Here are the highlights:

  • How Nick and his team are transforming Humana (2:05)
  • Nick describes how he helps business teams build digital products (5:57)
  • Nick explains how the role of a product manager is similar to that of an investment manager (9:32)
  • How Nick presents product updates as investment opportunities (12:50)

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