I have been using Prowess for more than a month and I would like to give some feedback because this product can get even better. Before I dive into the details, let me commend you for taking up the challenge of improving hiring by making it more skilled-based. It is a tough problem to solve and your approach has a lot of good ideas.
Your emphasis on projects is really good as it is one of the best ways to measure skills. I also like how you break down the skills required to become a product manager into roles. Anyone interested in growing as a PM would find this useful, especially the aspiring and even early career PMs. Here are some of my thoughts/ questions about Prowess -
- What mechanisms do you have to ensure people don’t just endorse everyone else and we all have full ratings? Endorsements by teammates are just as meaningless and unreliable as references. What are you going to do to solve this issue?
- How do you envision professionals tackle the problem that most employers would probably frown upon sharing actual work information here?
- Who can add projects on the platform? You mention that experts are allowed to add projects. Can people who are not experts add projects?
- I see experts provide written feedback which seems to be exhaustive, but is there a way for early career professionals to get direct live feedback from experts?
- Projects are a good way to learn but experienced professionals are busy with their jobs and would like mentorship/ networking opportunities to grow their leadership skills. Have you thought about helping people connect at a 1-1 level?
Overall, this is impressive work and a very important problem to solve. Good luck and I look forward to participating and seeing Prowess grow.
@michaelyoffe thanks for being a member and giving us honest feedback. That’s what we want to build the right product for ou and all our members.
Let me try to answer your questions one by one
Mechanisms to avoid gaming of endorsements, just as references - a user on the platform has to request endorsement for a project i.e. no LinkedIn type generic endorsements. Every endorsement request has skills tagged to it and the endorser would have to 1) have the same email address as the company where the project was done 2) rate every skill on a 5 point scale. You can look at an example here. Finally, the overall score of a person is defined by projects + endorsements + community reputation. The weightage of endorsements is the lowest of the three and this prevents anyone from gaining a massive advantage by asking friends to endorse them. We are also brainstorming ideas to look for fishy endorsements where all the ratings are perfect all the time. We are also using moving average to calculate scores so that no one activity can lead to a massive spike in skills score. I know there is a lot more that can be done here but I am comfortable with kicking off without having all the answers and tweaking the system as we go.
We explicitly tell our members not to share work projects. Instead, we ask them to request endorsements from colleagues. Having said that, there are two scenarios where people can share work projects - 1) if the company allows them to share a redacted version of the project. I have talked to some people and it seems like some companies are okay with that. 2) Share the project for review when it is public information. This would cause a delay but is better than having nothing to show for years of work at a company
Anyone can create a project on Prowess but only projects created by experts would be visible to everyone to use as inspiration for their next challenge. This is done to maintain the quality of project prompts that our members can select and work on. There are strict criteria to set objectives and clear deliverables for the project and experts have to comply with the rules just like anyone else.
That’s a great question and something we are considering adding to our platform. It would work something like this
- A professional requests a review
- Expert reviews the work anonymously
- Professional receives the written feedback and rates the expert’s review anonymously
- Prowess shares the feedback with experts in regular intervals to avoid discovery of who gave the feedback
- Experts and professionals jump on a 1-1 call to discuss the work or just network based on the interests of the professional
You are asking all the good questions, Michael We understand the need for something like this in the market and frankly, there are players offering this service at varying levels. We are laser-focused on building a skills-focused platform and have not thought in detail about building a 1-1 session functionality beyond the professional expert call I mentioned above.
Thank you for your kind words and honest feedback. Please keep it coming!