M-KOPA Product Manager

ROLE SUMMARY
M-KOPA Labs is a research and development business unit within M-KOPA that is responsible for testing and developing innovative products that will meet customer’s future needs, and market conditions. The Product Manager is responsible for product planning, delivery and marketing throughout the product development lifecycle. They will develop a vision and roadmap for the product based on input from internal stakeholders, customers, market research and their own industry insight. They will work closely with Development/Engineering and other teams to deliver products that align with this vision, meet market needs and are delivered to a consistently high-quality standard. They will develop a forecast for the product based on input from marketing, sales, market analysts and their own experience and manage its delivery. They will identify the key benefits and value of products. This will be used to create and maintain marketing plans and collateral (including web updates, product training materials and sales training).

SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIESM-KOPA has an established product development process with stage-gate steps to move products through stages in the process. However, this process is under review to include enhancements throughout the process, including further defining the specific roles of individuals in relation to product management. Therefore, it is intended that the Product Manager will play an important role in further defining and refining the responsibilities of the Product Manager. Therefore, this definition will be further developed within two months of the Product Manager being appointed.
Working closely with the Director of Labs, the Chief Product Officer, and the Chief Operations Officer, the Product Manager will be responsible for:

  • Defining the product strategy for key products emerging from Labs.
  • Managing the product throughout its lifecycle from concept to market introduction.
  • Collecting, managing and maintaining traceability of requirements from all stakeholders across product releases.
  • Writing the business case for investments and gaining internal approval.
  • Proposing a product marketing plan and budget and then delivering against it.
  • Writing Product Requirements and Market Requirements documents.
  • Working with internal stakeholders and third parties to assess and establish partnerships.
  • Being the recognised expert in the business on your product, the market, relevant technology and the competition.
  • Developing core positioning and messaging for the product.
  • Performing product demos to customers and develop relationships in key clients (B2B).
  • Leading the virtual product team to ensure delivery of agreed objectives.
  • Setting the pricing.
  • Monitoring, reporting and improving product performance.
  • Briefing analysts and the press.
  • Running alpha and beta testing programs, developing and delivering go to market launch plans.
  • Channel management and support.
  • Commissioning market and competitor research.
  • Promoting the product to sales teams through sales training sessions, update briefings, newsletters and other mechanisms.
  • Developing and deliver training to technical sales support.
  • Managing development and marketing projects to deliver to plan.
  • Collating feedback from sales and customers.
  • Representing the voice of the customer in senior level management meetings.
  • Evangelising the product internally and externally.
  • Being recognised as a leader in the business and build relations with business stakeholders.
  • Delivering a regular (e.g. monthly) volume, revenue and profit forecasts.

COMPANY OVERVIEW
M-KOPA Solar, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya with offices in Woking, Dar Es Salaam and Entebbe and is the global leader of “pay-as-you-go” energy for off-grid customers. Since its commercial launch in October 2012, M-KOPA has connected more than 650,000 homes in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to solar power, and is now adding over 600 new homes each day. The success of M-KOPA (M= mobile, KOPA= to borrow) stems from making solar products affordable to low-income households on a pay-per-use instalment plan. Customers acquire solar systems for a small deposit and then purchase daily usage “credits” for US $0.50, or less than the price of traditional kerosene lighting. After one year of payments customers own their solar systems outright and can upgrade to more power.
All revenues are collected in real-time via mobile money systems (such as M-PESA) and embedded GSM sensors in each solar system allow M-KOPA to monitor real time performance and regulate usage based upon payments.
This connected design means that M-KOPA is processing vast amounts of data (i.e. over 20,000 mobile payments per day) via the company’s proprietary cloud platform, M-KOPAnet.
As of January 2018, M-KOPA employs over 800 full time staff across East Africa and sells through a network of 1,000 direct sales agents. It has also commenced licensing its technology to partners in other markets.
M-KOPA has been recognized for its pioneering business mode and scale, notably being selected as Forbes magazine’s top 50 companies changing the world, winning the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize, being selected as the top New Energy Pioneer at the 2014 Bloomberg New Energy Finance awards and earning the 2013 FT/IFC Excellence in Sustainable Finance Award.

EXPERIENCE/COMPETENCIES
This role will be ideally suited to a candidate that has experience managing hardware product development (with a focus on emerging markets) and interaction between hardware products and a software platform. The experience and competencies that the successful candidate will have include the following:

  • 5-10 years’ experience in hardware product management
  • Demonstrated success in defining, launching and managing products
  • Thorough knowledge of technology relating to the M-KOPA product suite
  • Demonstrated track record in developing product strategies
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Proven ability to work under pressure and to deliver to strict timeframes
  • A bachelor’s degree in engineering, product development or a related field. (A Master’s degree is desirable)
  • A strong understanding of the different approaches to project and product management including waterfall and Agile.
  • A strong understanding of the design approaches to product conceptualization including Human Centered Design.
  • Strong leadership, coaching, communication, and facilitation
  • Effective listening and communication
  • Good computer skills with strong experience using Microsoft Office suite,
  • Experience of using product roadmapping tools (such as AHA), software backlog management tools (such as VSTS), and software suites (specifically Autodesk software tools) to manage the end-to-end stages of product development.
  • A fluency in both written and spoken English.
  • Passionate about product innovation and management and the market
  • A strong commercial and customer focus
  • Good attention to detail
  • Strong negotiating skills
  • Able to network and develop key relationships at all levels
  • Excellent teamwork skills
  • Proven ability to motivate and drive cross-functional teams without formal authority
  • Able to travel 25% of the time (if required)

COMPENSATION
Competitive and subject to experience.

PLEASE NOTE
Due to the large number of applications received by us, we regret that you will not be contacted unless you are short listed for the post and invited for an interview. Therefore, if you have not heard from M-KOPA within 4 weeks of the date of the deadline your application, you should assume that you have not been successful on this occasion. This measure has been taken in the interests of efficiency and cost effectiveness and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.



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