“Breaking Changes” with PayPal’s Deepa Goyal: What API Product Managers Need
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with PayPal Group Product Manager Deepa Goyal for an episode of Postman’s Breaking Changes podcast to talk about the world of API product management. I’ve been engaging with Deepa as part of PayPal’s partnership with Postman, and after learning more about her view of API product management, I knew I had to get her on the show.
Deepa came to PayPal via Twilio, and she has a very rich view of what API product managers need to be successful. While treating APIs as a product isn’t a new concept, I rarely see practitioners go as far as Deepa does when it comes to articulating what successful API product management actually looks like within operations.
Standardization as a solution
I found it enlightening to hear about Deepa’s journey to being a product manager, and how little hands-on guidance exists out there today to help would-be API product managers along in their journey. Deepa shared with me how she made her way to Twilio and then PayPal, learning along the way, but wishing she had more practical guidance when it came to monetizing APIs, setting pricing, and other important details of operating public APIs. I like Deepa’s approach to researching solutions to the challenges she faced, and how she tapped into the expertise of other leading API producers from across the space. If Deepa didn’t have the solution, she was going to learn more about how many others were solving it in order to craft just the right solution for her situation.
Deepa possesses a very sophisticated view of the multiple dimensions that exist when moving each API forward and how this forward motion contributes to the overall maturity of an API. During our chat, we shared opinions about the need for a more standardized vocabulary for describing the maturity of our APIs, setting expectations with consumers, and being more honest with ourselves about how hardened our APIs actually are. Deepa felt that how we support our APIs and what we measure will vary depending on the maturity of the API. Having a shared language for discussing which part of the journey our APIs are in will go a long way towards getting API producers and consumers on the same page regarding where things are headed. I’ll be referencing Deepa’s thoughts on metrics, analytics, and API maturity for some time to come.
API product managers on the frontline of tech
Like API product management, Deepa brought the conversation around to how we can ensure we are generating business value, moving the needle forward by taking a common API metric, time to first API call (TTFC), and evolving it to be “time to first API transaction.” This refers to how long it takes from moving a developer from discovering your API to not just making their first API call but to making their first API call that brings direct business value.
I feel like API product managers are going to be on the frontline of the world of technology, providing the essential feedback loop between a business and its mix of internal, partner, and third-party API consumers. This gives enterprise organizations the forward motion they are looking for when it comes to their digital transformation, helping ensure their teams are as agile and nimble as they need to be—ultimately allowing them to respond to whatever they face down the road.