This week, Product School hosted Kavita Mittal, Group Product Manager at Adobe, for an #AskMeAnything session. She talks us through Product Management by tackling questions like how to transition to PM, prioritization techniques, customer feedback, and more!
Meet Kavita Mittal
Kavita has 20 years of software design and Product Management experience, owning products and features from start to finish across a spectrum of areas ranging from ERP to CRM and Platform. She’s successfully brought products from concept to release in short timeframes. Currently, she’s a Group Product Manager at Adobe, driving features to optimize customer administrative experience for all of Adobe’s products.
How to Break Into Product
What kind of side projects would be helpful for a non-tech to transition into PM?
I would start by learning about the users of the space you are interested in being a Product Manager for. That’s the first step in design thinking, know the user, learn their problems and friction points and then start to solve and execute on it.
I love UX and Marketing, can you give your opinion on how to climb the ladder of Product Management?
UX is a big part of Product management. Regarding how to transition to a PM role, try to get on projects or explore on your own on a problem you are excited about and trying to solve it from an end to end perspective, not just UX. This could be a problem you are passionate about or an opportunity that comes up in your current role.
Can you tell us about a moment in your career that changed your product management process?
One thing that I recall a light bulb moment was concluding that I don’t need to know everything. It is okay to lean on others and indeed the best leaders I know do that
As a Product Manager, that is big empowerment or else my time would get taken up in a lot of details. Build a team, don’t hire yourself, hire people who complement your skills, and then trust them to do the job.
What is that one skillset that makes you super interested in a candidate?
The desire to learn and confidence is a skill that makes me interested in a candidate.
Any advice on breaking into Product Management?
- From what I recall, there is no BA or MS on Product Management. – whatever your vocation is, jump in and learn with a view to help a customer!
- Get training on topics you admit there is a gap in but that you are also interested in it. This could be data, UI/UX, customer research, and coding.
- Get a rotation in your organization for a Product Owner-like role
- Do a side project: evangelize, partner, and execute it. A lot of PM skills are on getting alignment
- Learn to “talk about it” in your resume – orient the skills you have for how they impact product design. Don’t tell me you know SQL. But rather, ell me you have experience being able to pull data and slice and dice it!
You might also be interested in: Product Management Certifications
All About the Customer: Experience, Feedback, Data, and Prioritization!
How do you see customer experience is impacted due to the cloud migration of digital products in the new normal age of COVID?
Customer experience is even more critical in the new digital post COVID scenario. Previously we could depend on some human interaction but as “everything online” seems to become a norm customer expectations on speed, performance, tolerance for error become very high.
Product Managers, therefore, need to be able to include this as a critical part of their solution and vision: How will we extend and expand a previously available safety net of human support calls?
In your experience what are the best ways to collect qualitative customer feedback? What do you use to analyze it after collecting it?
Focus groups are usually an efficient way of talking to multiple people at once. Another way is to talk to the people in your organization who talks to customers, this can be customer success folks, professional services, customer support, and of course salespeople. They can distill a lot of information via the data they already have.
Interested in customer feedback? Check out: Best Ways to Analyze and Implement CX Changes Based on Customer Feedback
How do you handle the data literacy gap across your teams? Or is everyone well equipped to work with data?
Everyone on a team has its own strengths. I don’t see the need to duplicate everyone’s skillsets 100%. Some organizations may need minimum proficiency, others may not be so good at leaning on each other. With the skills you can provide, you can contribute and work as a team.
How do you prioritize features & user requests?
There is never a simple checklist but here are a few things you need to consider:
How does this solution impact:
1. The pain index for customers: The higher the pain, the more important to implement.
2. Ask yourself: Will the solution still result in this being a problem in 6 months or 12 months? Often the answer is yes, in that case, look for the right way to solve it and not the quick fix band-aid.
3. Is there a workaround? If yes and feasible, it usually never makes an MVP.
4. You will get special asks from marquee customers, do the right thing but sometimes you need to take it in your stride.
You also might be interested in Product Prioritization Skills with Banjo’s Former PM
For more insights on Product Management, join us for our next #AskMeAnything session!