Making People’s Lives Easier with fmr eBay Senior PM

This week, Product School hosted Vignesh Sundaram, Former Senior Product Manager at eBay for a special #AskMeAnything session. Vignesh believes Product Manager’s main purpose is making people’s lives easier, which he backs up with insights on user stories, customer impact, user experience, and his overall customer-centric view.

Meet Vignesh

Vignesh Sundaram, Former Senior Product Manager at eBay

Vignesh Sundaram is a Product Management leader building products that make people’s lives easier. Currently, he is working as a Product Manager, Technical II at the Cloud management startup SkyKick. He previously worked as a Senior Product Manager at eBay. There, he collaborated with teams across the organization to enhance the buyer experience on both web and mobile platforms. Before that, he was at T-Mobile as a Technical Product Manager creating digital orders platform. He has also worked as a Technical PM at Microsoft and earlier was part of the founding team at Grallo. His first role in the technology world was as a Business Analyst at Amazon curating Kindle experience.

When you are building enterprise level software, how large should your user stories and epics be?

Great question! User stories from a Product Manager talks about the functionality of the artifact/product that the PM want other teams (could be engineering, design) to build based on the functional requirements. And when you build, enhance an enterprise level software, it can be bifurcated to bigger milestone and trickle down to smaller pieces.

So, the epic usually represents the holistic goal and what we are trying to achieve, then segment features based on the complexity, artifacts required to achieve the epic, and breakdown user stories pertaining to the specific features. This way, it becomes easier for teams to navigate through the large system requirements and have a seamless planning experience. Hope this helps.

What is the optimum work environment to be in as a Product Manager?

people sitting side by side in a workplace working on laptops, smiling at each other

It comes down to the team’s ambiguous decisions taking trait, not being data driven, and inflexibility to collaborate. As PMs, we tend to work with different teams and bring people, ideas together to build an awesome experience for the users. Situations like deciding to prioritize a work item without considering the customer impact is a red flag.

How do we choose our subset of end users for testing a feature through experimental releases?

In such cases where you have to test the features – you could use the feedback loop method to figure out the test user scenarios and build test use cases based on the patterns derived from the loops.

For a test engineer pivoting into Product, would it be easier to get a Saas / B2B PM role or a consumer facing PM role?

That’s great to know you’re passionate about user experience! That’s the first and important trait of being a Product Manager – to understand the user experience. Getting into a B2B or a B2B both has its own set of challenges. Figure out what your core strengths are, channel them in determining what would fit the best for your strengths, interests. Both sides will give different flavors to Product engineering and management. Congratulations on your future endeavors.

Which would be the 3 main things to enhance the buyer experience on a marketplace platform?

  1. Customer, user experience
  2. Simplifying onboarding experience
  3. Listing, relevancy on SKUs
person sitting on a couch with a laptop on their lap, looking at the screen and holding a credit card in their hand

Given inflation, we could anticipate that purchasing power will decrease. What could that mean for Product Managers?

Your anticipation is fair. There’s an evident supply chain and demand issues, and it reflects on all departments including Product Management. It definitely drags on PM’s world when it comes to discovery and ideating enhancements. The best way to stay ahead of this is to ride the tide, and keep building more insights on market, industry trends.

What do you think about web3, crypto, and NFTs? Do they have extended PM scope?

NFT is a classic example of art meeting product. Web3, Crypto, NFTs are the new trends that are still in the grassroot level. There’s a lot of potential for enhancements and development in those sectors and there’s a lot of scope for PMs.

What are the must-subscribe newsletters to stay up-to-date on business and Product Management insights?

I’d love to share few links that worked for me.

https://www.saastr.com/blog/
https://www.romanpichler.com/
https://stratechery.com/

Any final advice?

Thanks for having me! It’s been a very insightful session and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you all. We as PMs need to strive on making people’s lives easier. I’d love to chat further, stay connected with you all. Feel free to ping, connect on LinkedIn:cara_ligeramente_sonriente:

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