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a day in the life of ravi govender, product head: capitec app

Ravi Govender shares what a day in his life as a Product Head: Capitec App looks like. Hint: it’s busy!

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You’ve only got a few minutes to explain to someone you’ve just met what you do. What do you tell them, including your title and what it means? Think of it as your elevator pitch!

I am the Product Head for the Capitec banking app. A large part of my job is about bringing the business and technology aspects of design for the app together into a single product team.

I head up this team, which is a combination of software development and product management. In a nutshell, my job focuses on making sure that we deliver the world’s best banking app.

How long have you been at Capitec?

I joined Capitec in July 2020 as a Senior Manager in retail technology. I was nervous about starting at a company during lockdown as I wouldn’t be able to meet people in person. Fortunately, my experience was incredible and despite working remotely, I was made to feel welcome from day one. On 1 October 2021, I was promoted to product head of the Capitec app.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

I’m an early riser and my day usually starts well before 6am. I use this time to check emails, which helps me plan my day.

Tell us about a typical day at the office.

It’s a bit tricky to talk about a typical day as I’ve only recently moved into this position and am still finding my groove. My first month in the job was spent writing a business plan and creating a budget, so a typical day involved crunching numbers and strategising.

Once I settle into this role, however, I can tell you that no two days will be the same! I’ll need to juggle multiple responsibilities because an important part of my job is making decisions from both a technology and a business development perspective.

Where do you fit in at Capitec? And who do you report to?

I report to Michael Swart, who is Head of Electronic Delivery Channels, and work within the client retail division.

What is your go-to tool for getting your job done efficiently and effectively?

I use Wunderlist, a list management app. It keeps me on track at the office because the to-do lists are easy to update and manage. But it’s also a life saver at home as my wife and I use it to share our personal to-do lists. It really helps me to juggle family and work without worrying about dropping a ball.

What are you most excited about in your role?

I'm excited about the challenges we face as a team because they push us all to work better together. At the moment, we’re one of the largest banking apps in South Africa, which means the problems we’re solving have never been solved by any other local company.

This presents a unique challenge because we can’t reach out to any other South African company and ask for help to solve a problem. Instead, we need to look at the global arena, which means that we’re a truly global app and that’s why I’m so excited about this new journey.

What did you study?

I did a BCom in information systems at the University of Natal. While studying, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go the IT or accounting route. Fortunately, my degree covered both and I soon discovered my passion for IT.

What skills do you need to be good at what you do?

The skills you need are twofold. People management is probably the most important, although I prefer to call it people leadership. Modern organisations such as Capitec need leaders, people who can make their teams believe in themselves and in the business’s vision.

The ability to cope under pressure is also critical. It’s a fast-paced environment and there are many moving parts. You must be able to keep a cool head in stressful situations.

Another important skill is the ability to manage your product, which requires both product management and business development skills. If I look at what my product is, it’s the banking app that services 9 million clients. Going forward, I have to keep asking: how do we grow the app so we can help our entire 17 million-strong client base to bank digitally?

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an archaeologist like Indiana Jones. I still enjoy the outdoors and science, so when I’m not working, I read everything science-related and go camping with my family as often as we can.

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