As a Universal-Category WOW Fellow, I am currently the inaugural Product Management Intern at a tech startup called Teamlift. Teamlift is a software-as-a-service (Saas) company that is revolutionizing the future of work by developing an AI-based skills mapping software. Their product uses employee data and data from project management softwares at companies to identify, validate, and develop skills within that organization. While our official headquarters are in Boston, our team is incredibly diverse, and this summer we are working from across the globe: people are Zooming in from places as distant as Macedonia, the US, and Bangladesh(me!). I can safely say that I’ve learned how to do just about any time zone calculation in my head by now!
When I started my internship this summer, I definitely hit the ground running. Product managers triangulate with UI/UX i.e. design teams, sales and marketing teams, technical development teams, and most importantly their potential clients. And I entered the role as we began interviews to determine preliminary customer feedback, or as we call it, “User Testing”. Prior to actually working as a Product Manager, I assumed that User Testing only consisted of showing a customer a version of the product and then asking them what they thought open-endedly. Instead, I discovered that User Testing is a process with distinct stages. Firstly, we ask a set of unbiased questions to understand the customer’s pain point(more on that below!), and strategize how that can be solved. Of course, we do show our users the product and let them test it. However, in addition to an opportunity for open-ended feedback, I learned that there was a stage in which I needed to ask more specific questions about various features of the product. I also gleaned that Product Managers need to be careful in their phrasing of questions, since the goal of a Product Manager in a User Testing interview is to get responses that are as unbiased and truthful as possible. We need to determine customers’ “Pain Points”: things that the customer identifies as annoyances or problems, either with the product or more generally in daily life. The ideal product will cater to these pain points and assuage customers’ struggles in the sphere of the product.
As a next step, Product Managers need to collaborate with design and development teams to take new feedback into account. After I’ve synthesized and summarized responses from User Testing interviews, I meet with Teamlift’s tech and design teams to improve our prototype. I’ve learned to use a program called Figma for design management, and I’ve had enlightening conversations with our development team about the AI they’ve developed so far. I’m still trying to grasp AI models more in-depth, since as a Computer Science major and Technology-sphere Product Manager it is particularly advantageous for me to comprehend as many of the aspects of the product as I can. Notwithstanding, my final current task involves visualizing product roadmaps, or determining a timeline for the product from a prototype to a stable release.
This experience at Teamlift– albeit only one month so far– has been instrumental in helping me develop desirable skills in my field and giving me a glance into the real world of Product Management. Thanks to the fellowships team, and stay tuned!