Polishing PM Skills: Tools & Techniques by Microsoft Product Leader, Divya Kamath

Challenges for v1 product?

  • Who is it for?

  • Why is it important?

  • How is it different from existing products in the market?

  • How confident are we in product/market fit?

  • What is the goal?

  • Revenue projection

You need to understand what team you are going to decide what value you will get. Then you can think about income.


  • Analyze your competitors

  • Form your stakeholders

  • Understand the local laws and compliance

  • Build a prototype

  • Define your MVP and OKRs

  • Plan your infrastructure

  • Identify your dependencies

  • Track risks

  • Build diverse team

  • Define Release schedule

  • Channel continuous customer feedback

  • Form CCB board

  • Build an operational model

  • Evangelize the launch

  • Track usage & metrics

  • Build your backlog-ready for v2

Analyze your market

  • To create a successful product launch, you'll want to conduct market research and focus groups to determine the true benefits and differentiators of your product.

  • Understand what worked what are the metrits/determits of those products

  • - Clarify your purpose

  • What is your valueprop

Form your stakeholders

  • Core team forms product managers, technical pms, dev managers.

  • Supporting team forms the team that you will regularly consult – infrastructure, support, legal team, finance etc.,

  • Producting marketing team to understand the landscape

  • Cab team to validate your hypothesis and early bird testing.

Understand the local laws and compliance

  • Build on the foundation of security, privacy and trust

  • Understand local laws and have your products engineered to meet them

  • Give customers their control of their data

  • Transparent engineering

  • Handle PII data

  • Storing customer data

Build a prototype

  • Ideation sessions with your CAB

  • Broad customer surveys

  • Open ended customer interviews

  • Engagement with Marketing and Design

  • Sharing plans with internal stakeholders

  • Hypothesis exploration and Concept Testing

  • Draft a customer experience model

Define your MVP and OKRs

  • An articulation of the plan of record (1 to 2 pages)

  • Build your product iteration milestone

  • Each milestone must be a complete feature set

  • The feature must be tested with customers and iterated through experimentation

  • A set of documentation that can be shared and socialized with your stakeholders

  • Lastly, OKRs and metrics to track the progression

  • Flexible design

Plan your infrastructure

  • Regions

  • Datacenter

  • Monitoring

  • Security

Identify Dependencies

  • This is extremely important to ensure you land your deadlines on time

  • Identify all the intra/inter team dependencies

  • Always have a plan B if dependencies are not met

  • Bring your stakeholders along

Track Risks

  • Build a detailed project plan

  • You can start with early dogfood exercise with your stakeholder team

  • You can introduce early private preview with your CAB audience

  • Do regular check-ins with your dependency partners and customers

  • Maintain Risk register

  • For every risk identify if there is a mitigation plan

  • Identify workaround and consult your stakeholders

Build a diverse team

  • For each of the product area, you need to identify team members and their super power

  • One team member will be good in design while the other could be a master in testing & finding bugs

  • Provide ownership and authority to team members to execute their work.

Define Release schedule

  • Stand up attendance and sprint planning

  • Active participation in listening channels

  • Ongoing status comms and highlighting of risks

  • OKR creation and monitoring

Channel continuous customer feedback

  • Once you are ready with early feature design complete, get this into testing

  • Activate all listening systems to get feedback

  • Surveys, customer interviews, like/dislike buttons on your feature forms.

Form CCB board

  • You will now get feedback on features, what works-doesn`t work.

  • You will also get enhancement requests

  • Prioritize all the incoming feedback.

  • Identify which features to be shipped vs backlog

  • Try to keep your changes as minimal as possible

  • Validate with your stakeholders

  • Socialize with your leadership

Build an operational model

  • This is needed for you to scale

  • Start delegating each area of operations to a dedicated team

  • Each team will lay their principles of operations

  • Model should range from customer support to infrastructure live site to supply chain management to engineering management

Evangelize the launch

  • Figure out the story you want to tell regarding your product's bigger purpose.

  • Display customer testimonials, case studies, and other social evidence to positively frame your new product.

  • Create a social and email campaign

  • Use blog posts, email marketing, social media, and other channels of distribution to increase interest and demand for your digital product.

  • Make sure you keep the product team in the loop on your marketing plans. The product team could have insights that inform your overall marketing campaign.

  • Engaging and clear communications

  • Story telling about the product, vision, customer, problem, and strategy.

Track usage & metrics

  • Track Monthly Active usage.

  • Customer retention analysis

  • Survey – NSAT score

  • Availability & Reliability metrics

  • Support data – how many tickets.

Build your backlog – ready for v2

From your listening systems – get ahead

  • Customer retention analysis

  • Survey results

  • Support tickets

  • Live site incidents

  • In-market bugs

Divya Kamath, Microsoft Product Leader