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Product Supervisor Do’s and Don’ts with CNN Senior PM

This week, Product Faculty hosted Elisabeth Kamor, Senior Product Supervisor at CNN, for a particular #AskMeAnything session. Elisabeth covers Product Supervisor Do’s and Don’ts, creating MVPs, teamwork, and user-centricity.

Meet Elisabeth

Elisabeth Kamor, Senior Product Manager at CNN

Elisabeth Kamor is a customer-obsessed Senior Product Supervisor at the moment working at CNN. Earlier than this, she was a PM at Amazon centered on bettering instruments that solved scheduling inflexibility issues for customer support associates.

She began off with the corporate in 2014 as a Program Supervisor engaged on the TVOD publishing group for Amazon Video. After virtually three years in that position, she was promoted to Supervisor and was the one proprietor of the Digital Buyer Service Army Program from its launch. She was well-suited for that position after beforehand working as a Program Supervisor for the US Prospects and Border Safety and as a Value Analyst for the US Division of Homeland Safety.

What are your high 3 Do’s and Don’ts for PMs?


  1. Change into your customers’ voice
  2. Use failures to tell your learnings, not simply successes
  3. Earn belief of your group by taking part in coaching, testing, and every other occasions you might be “non-compulsory” for


  1. Reveal an authoritative management type
  2. Overcommit.  As an alternative follow radical prioritization when your to-do checklist is getting unmanageable
  3. Skimp on communication with stakeholders.  Keep forward and guarantee your stakeholders are knowledgeable, no matter how good or unhealthy the information could also be.

If you begin engaged on a brand new product, and lots of different merchandise are already obtainable in the identical business, what ought to your MVP comprise? An instantaneous differentiated worth, or a match with competing merchandise together with your worth on high of it?

I might not attempt for parity with these different product except you know all these options are driving worth.  At all times deliver your middle again to the consumer downside you’re fixing.  If they’ve an issue, it means the opposite merchandise aren’t reducing it.

Ought to a PM be technical?

To me it extremely will depend on your product.  Whereas I’ve an Industrial Engineering background, I’ve by no means had a coding job and lean closely on my eng group for the technical facets.  Some days the technical experience could be extraordinarily useful, however I’m assured that what I deliver to the desk on behalf of the consumer is of utmost significance.  A user-centered PM is most impactful when you’ve got a robust eng group to drive the tech.

What do you search for when hiring PMs?

  1. Take heed to the way in which they seek advice from issues; do they are saying consumer issues or enterprise issues?  In the event that they’re referring to enterprise issues, I drill in to ensure they are surely consumer centric and perceive the connection between fixing the fitting consumer issues and enterprise income.
  2. Ask your self whether or not this particular person has earned your belief.  Belief is likely one of the most vital qualities a PM can exhibit to their cross-functional group.  Their solutions to questions surrounding failure ought to display how clear and thoughtful to others they’re of their management type.

As a Product Supervisor, how concerned are you in consumer analysis?

I usually do foundational work in defining hypotheses to be validated.  I analyze what information is accessible, assessment previous experimentation, and “interview” other people for his or her institutional information.  From there I’m in a position to present nice construction for our consumer analysis group to be productive in no matter they’re proudly owning whether or not that’s consumer interviews or surveys.  I take part in interviews as an observer as usually as I can and I take an energetic position within the synthesis, nevertheless each of those are owned by our analysis group.  It’s my job to be sure that analysis was productive and informative to hold the product ahead.

What ought to a PM do within the first month at firm?

I like this one!  First, ensure you perceive who your consumer is and what their issues are.  Consider the product you’re taking over and ensure you’re aligned to no matter issues it’s at the moment tackling.  Get snug together with your consumer information and have the ability to communicate confidently in regards to the three largest issues your downside is fixing.

How would you describe Product Operations? What are the most important Product Operations points in enterprise kind environments?

I’m fortunate to be in a corporation the place groups hearken to and help one another.  One problem I’ve skilled up to now is busting by way of meaty dependencies.  My recommendation there may be to not let it fester.  If you will discover a path to inexperienced each groups are snug with inside a pair weeks, it’s time to escalate and guarantee each management groups are conscious of the impression of the dependency work and what delays imply in your group.

How did you break into PM?

I took an unconventional path from the federal authorities into Product. I noticed I actually like the issue fixing side of any mission and it took time earlier than I even realized that Product Administration does simply that. 

What are your solutions to pivot from gross sales operations to PM?

Set skilled targets for your self that enable you begin ticking off expertise packing containers in Product, e.g. conducting consumer analysis, writing necessities, analyzed information to help a speculation, and so forth.  Additionally make your aspirations identified!

Do you are feeling like taking a job that’s so politically polarizing in as we speak’s atmosphere (like working at a CNN or a FoxNews) is dangerous to future employment?

Attention-grabbing query!  I do know the Product abilities I’m honing as we speak are relevant wherever, so I’d hope that interprets ought to I be on the lookout for work with an opposing viewpoint sooner or later.

How do you divide obligations between a PM and PO at CNN/Enterprise kind environments?

My group doesn’t distinguish between PM and PO, and I’ve really by no means been on one which does. Provided that, I put on each hats and am answerable for all the things from understanding our customers, defining our issues to resolve, and transport the solutions to these issues.  With out PM/PO breakdown, it’s useful to have a Program Supervisor or any individual to help the monitoring of duties and dependencies throughout the group.

I’m having a problem creating duties for my engineering group. Are you able to advocate an excellent useful resource to brush up my understanding of backend and frontend activity creation?

I’ve been in your sneakers!  I’d first make sure you’re persevering with to construct your relationship together with your eng supervisor; I’d hope you’ll be able to have clear two-way conversations about what you each want from one another. Then, moderately than specializing in a activity creation course, take a backend course itself to only turn into extra acquainted with crucial ideas. I’ve all the time loved Udacity. Right here’s an Intro to Backend course from them. 

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