The Natural Traits of a Product Manager by Amazon Senior PM

This week Product School hosted Khushboo Saraf, current Senior Product Manager at Amazon for an #AskMeAnything session. Khushboo shared her advice for moving from APM to PM, the natural traits of a Product Manager, and the difference between B2B and B2C.

Khushboo Saraf Senior Product Manager Amazon

Meet Khushboo

Khushboo has 10+ years of work experience across e-commerce, strategy, banking, and product management areas. Currently, she is a Senior Product Manager at Amazon. Prior to this, Khushboo was the Director of Product Management at Snapdeal where she was responsible for driving growth and marketing for Snapdeal Services. She has worked on both seller side as well customer side products. On personal front, she is an art enthusiast and also maintains an instagram handle [www.instagram.com/lifeonapalette] where she posts DIY and educational activities for kids.

“When your started off what were the initial challenges you faced and how should one prepare to get into product roles and deal with those challenges?”

One of the biggest challenges that I initially faced was understanding the product role itself as to what it entailed, given it was not documented anywhere then nor where there any platforms like Product School or so. What helped me overcome was continuous interaction with tech colleagues, 1:1 with seasoned product managers.

“How do you position yourself for a technical PM role if you don’t have direct experience with the core technologies, but have PM experience overall?”

It is generally easier to make a transition in the firm that you are currently working with. I would suggest talking to tech counterparts, understanding the systems and taking an internal movement. Once you have some experience in the specific domain, its easier to move out in that role.

Check out: What Is Technical Product Management Anyway?

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What are some natural traits that can help you succeed as a Product Manager and some skills that can be worked on over time?

One of the most important requirement of product management role is to align stakeholders so its critical to have articulation skills along with dive deep and customer backward approach

How different was your experience working in B2B (Seller side) vs B2C (customer side) of Amazon retail ? Do you have a personal favourite?

Good question, there is not much of a difference – we need to focus on customers in both B2B as well as B2C – customers for B2B are sellers, for B2C those are buyers. However, the stakes are higher in case of B2C vs B2B. My personal favourite has been B2C as it also allows me to use the product as an end customer.

Isn’t a marketing background essential for this role?

Not necessary, but its an added advantage as you can be a good influencer to the design and marketing team.

“So when you are looking to push a product or service what are the key tools or metrics you use to do this?”

It depends on the  problem that the product is trying to solve. So business metrics could differ for different products. From product perspective, its important to do an end to end user acceptance testing before you roll out the product.

You might also be interested in: Basic Metrics for Each Organization in Your SaaS Company

“I am currently working as an Associate PM for my friend’s start up for free and looking for a paid PM job. What should my next step be?”

I would suggest get at least 2-3 years of experience in the PM field in the company that you are currently with, so that you can talk about it to your prospects.

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“What is your favorite thing about your role?”

This role forces me to think and solve customer problems. What excites me the most is when I see that product being used by customers.

“As the PM, are you responsible for the product success?”

It differs basis the size of the company. In mature firms and products, there is marked difference between the JDs of product and category. Product is normally responsible for conversion metrics, category on growth.

“Any final advice?”

Job industry is constantly evolving, so do not get swayed away with what is most popular right now. What matters is that you should love the job that you do and that should match with your skill set and career objective.

Join us next week for another #AskMeAnything Session for more insights from Product Managers around the world!

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