Product Industry Trends with Microsoft Product Leader

This week, Product School hosted Sumithra Maran, Product Leader at Microsoft, for a special #AskMeAnything session. Sumithra answers questions about at Microsoft, transitioning into Product Management, and what do do when you don’t agree with your engineers on timeline.

Meet Sumitrha

Sumithra Maran, Product Leader at Microsoft

Sumithra Maran is a Product Leader at Microsoft, where she has been working for eight months. Some of her main tasks are developing new software product concepts and enhancing existing Product Design that reflects market and user requirements. Prior to that, she worked as a Product Manager at Ola Electric. Sumithra has an engineering background and worked at Visa as a Software and Senior Engineer for more than six years.

What are the main industry trends that will impact Microsoft in the next 6-18 months?

I think flexibility and change in the hybrid work culture, and how quickly we adapt to these uncertain changes will have a visible impact in the next upcoming months. Microsoft as an organisation adapts to such changes relatively quicker from the past experiences. Hence, these two would be a game changer, IMO.

Is the interview process at Microsoft similar to other FAANG companies?

Yep, it’s very similar to other FAANG companies. Understanding the loop process based on the company’s interview framework would help.

Which advice would you give to someone transitioning career from CX who needs to get closer to engineering topics?

Don’t feel pressured to master the technical skills. Understand how things work at a high level and be able to translate those specifics to layman terms. Once you feel confidence over your understanding, the path becomes more clear.

You have an engineering background. Have you ever been in a situation where your tech lead or team has given you a long estimate to deliver a feature, but you’ve built something similar before, and knew it took a shorter time? How did you approach the situation?

Yes, absolutely. My approach to such situations would be/have been to first understand the end to end development of any features, the test cycles, what it requires to perform accurate validation of the requirements, testing, how to develop features in ways that it can be further enhanced without much hustle. One tip would be to not over commit in advance as each development could result in different technical challenges.

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