Building Product Ninjas: How EPAM Equips Engineers for Success in a Dynamic Landscape

EPAM Systems India equips its engineers with strategic thinking and problem-solving skills through its unique Product Excellence (ProductX) program.

Aanchal Ghatak
New Update

The world of technology is a whirlwind of innovation and disruption. To stay ahead, companies need engineers who are not just technical wizards, but also strategic thinkers and problem-solvers. In this interview, we speak with Sandeep Joshi, Head of Delivery at EPAM Systems India, about how EPAM is building an army of "Product Ninjas" – engineers equipped with the skills and mindset to thrive in this dynamic landscape. We'll delve into EPAM's unique Product Excellence program, exploring how it empowers engineers to see beyond the code and become valuable partners in the product development journey. 


How do you ensure engineers understand the importance of skills beyond technical expertise in today's dynamic business landscape?

The business landscape of today is marked by disruption and innovation, which offers opportunities but also demands adaptability and foresight. Technology brands are in a fierce competition to deliver products that not only solve real business problems but also scale efficiently for complex needs. In this scenario, engineering teams must be willing to push the envelope with bold ideas and continuous innovation.

EPAM sets itself apart by fostering product mindset within its engineering talent. We upskill them with the help of latest tools and technologies and enable them to put product mindset into practice.


Can you elaborate on how EPAM's Product Excellence program addresses the specific needs of India's technology landscape?

Our Product Excellence (ProductX) program is designed to help engineers tackle this through ‘product lens’. Product lens builds room for strategic thinking, continuous learning, and leadership abilities. It instils an outcome-oriented and user-focused mindset in engineers, which helps them succeed in today’s technology space. As a result, engineers see the bigger picture and think strategically, helping them tackle challenges specific to the Indian geography. The ProductX mindset help the future workforce stay competitive and relevant in an ever-evolving market.

What are the core components of the program, and how do they contribute to engineers' development?


EPAM's ProductX program includes three stages, each playing a crucial role in an engineer's development.

1. Curious (Level 1) - This stage is about discovery and learning. Engineers learn in-depth about the customer's business processes, goals, end-users, product strengths, weaknesses, and unique selling propositions. They also understand the market, including the geographies in which they operate and their competitors. This stage contributes to an engineer's development by helping them understand the product ecosystem and identify customer's needs effectively.

2. Passionate (Level 2)- This phase channels the acquired knowledge into active innovation. Engineers work on identifying problems, brainstorming solutions, building proofs of concept, creating business accelerators, and developing the product. This cultivates their problem-solving and innovative thinking skills, helping them create impactful solutions.


3. Obsessed (Level 3) - This final stage encourages the team to work more as consultants or advisors than just service providers. By focusing on long-term, outcome-based value stream delivery, the engineers are encouraged to think strategically and understand the holistic business ecosystem. This not only enhances their technical proficiency but also develops their business acumen and client consulting skills.

Each phase of this program progresses the engineers, through increasing familiarity with the product ecosystem, innovation and problem-solving, to a strategic consultancy role, thereby shaping holistic engineers.  

Could you provide examples of tangible benefits resulting from this program? 


The ProductX program enhances productivity and accelerates adoption rates. The program establishes this through promoting an iterative process of building, testing and learning for continuous product development. This methodology ensures accuracy from the start and eliminates time and effort allocated to misguided strategies or unnecessary features. As a result, productivity experiences a substantial increase, typically between 10% and 20%. Additionally, because the product aligns accurately with user expectations and market requirements, it experiences swifter adoption. 

How do you ensure engineers acquire new skills and apply them effectively in real-world scenarios?

We ensure that engineers not only acquire new skills but also effectively apply them in real-world scenarios through the ProductX assessment. This assessment evaluates the product excellence capabilities of a project team and their readiness in the ProductX journey to become a client’s preferred Product Development Services (PDS) team. Every team member, regardless of experience, participates in this assessment conducted by a panel of experts. It identifies the team’s ProductX maturity level, provides valuable recommendations to drive continuous learning and ensures they put their skills to good use.


What role does collaboration play in the success of ProductX initiative?

Success relies on collaboration. It creates a harmony between designers, engineers, product managers, and testing teams to come together and collaboratively work on the product. It moves away from the traditional siloed approach, where each team works in isolation. It ensures that everyone deeply understands the product’s purpose, competitors, and the problems to be solved.

By aligning everyone on the product roadmap and market strategy, ProductX unifies the team, enables effective collaboration, and fosters product development that meet market needs.


How do you measure the long-term impact and ROI of the Product Excellence program?

We evaluate impact and ROI of the program by analyzing customer experiences regarding the speed and quality of product development.

Conceptualized at the intersection of user-centricity, iteration, data-driven decision making, and empathy, ProductX ensures that our solutions not only exceed customer expectations but also deliver impact. As per the 2024 Client Satisfaction survey, EPAM scored 61% promoters score, which was higher than the industry average. ProductX program has been one of the significant contributors to this achievement.

EPAM ProductX Product Ninjas