How to Succeed as a PM for Almost Any Product by AWS Sr PM, Siddharth Ilangovan

Knowing your customer

  1. Who is your customer? What is (are) their problem(s)?

    - B2B vs B2C customers

    - Behaviour trumps demography

    - Know their goals/needs

    - Stack ranking problems

    - Pain-killer vs vitamin

  2. What are your customers currently doing and what alternative(s) do they have?

    - Knowing your competition

    - Understand why your customer is using a particular competitor's product

    - Competition also includes DIY solutions

    - Understanding and evaluating the strengths and weakness competition

  3. Where/how can learn about your customers?

    - Social media such as Reddit, Twitter, Linkedin etc.,

    - Easier to get facetime with customers in B2B than B2C

    - For B2C, leverage social media to learn high level sentiments and feature requests to formulate initial hypothesis

    - Quantitative data such as funnel analysis, heatmaps, conversion ratio etc.

Develop first principles thinking

  1. Focus on that biggest problem (opportunity) that your customer would like to have it solved first

  2. Prototype the minimum “loveable” experience you can provide for your customer to solve that problem

  3. Hypothesize, validate using experiments, improve, repeat

  4. Understand your constraints

Empowering and influencing internal stakeholders

  1. Invite your designers and engineering friends to the party.

  2. Reduce ambiguity and drive clarity through strategy, goals, roadmap, success metrics, and counter metrics.

  3. Don`t forget your marketing and sales/field/go-to-market friends.

  4. Empathize not just with customers but also with your internal stakeholders to get diverse feedback; also understand their challenges/constraints and priorities.


  1. Be curious and have the willingness to unlearn and learn

  2. Develop first principles thinking

  3. Empower and influence internal stakeholders

  4. Have empathy

A rockstar Product Manager creates an illusion of “obviousness” with the leadership and teams so that they continually know when and where to invest, and what to work on, delivering continuous value to customers and generating sustained profits for the company.

Siddharth Ilangovan, AWS Sr PM