My Semester as a Product Management Intern at Tanium

7.8.2020 | Roshni Rawal

Roshni joined us in the summer of 2019 as an engineering intern. Following her passion, she pursued a product management internship. This is her Tanium story.

About Roshni

I am a rising senior at UC Berkeley studying electrical engineering and computer science. In my sophomore year, I became interested in product management after taking a product management class and built a mobile investment platform focused on socially responsible investing with my team. Since I have a technical background, I started my intern experience at Tanium as a front-end developer on the Console team in the summer of 2019. I was eager to switch to a product role, and I was lucky enough to be offered an opportunity to do so. Coming into the internship, my main goal was to understand the product management role at Tanium and ship a visible and valuable change to the product set.

The Internship

Background

This semester, I worked on improving the Console’s content transfer workflow. This is how administrators handle content ownership when synchronizing changes with identity providers. My project this semester was to understand how customers work with the existing process, then propose and drive a change to improve the functionality of the Console workflow.

Product Management

I had a helpful guideline of what I should complete by certain points of the internship, but I was responsible for planning out my day-to-day tasks. I approached my assignment with the following process:

  1. Initial research/understanding the problem
  2. Developing a proposal
  3. Monitoring for feedback and improvement

Initial Research

I spent the first two weeks of the internship trying to understand what the current workflow for content transfer is, how customers interact with this workflow and where customers and TAMs felt the need for innovation in the process of transferring content. I scheduled calls with several Technical Account Managers (TAMs) and other subject matter experts who have experienced difficulties with the content transfer workflow. From each of these calls I tried to gain a big picture understanding of the type of customer affected by this problem, the most common use cases, the cost to customers of dealing with this issue and the ways in which TAMs work around the problem. I also focused on understanding the way customers interact with the current UI for managing user access and transferring content to gain context around what was working and what wasn’t.

Developing a Proposal

These conversations gave me a breadth of information about different situations in which customers delete users and transfer content as well as an understanding of the biggest pain points faced by TAMs and customers. I distilled all my key insights from each call and used them to define a set of objectives that I wanted to meet with my proposed changes to the workflow. I came up with a tentative proposal, which I walked through with my mentors. After receiving feedback, I composed a more definitive solution. I mapped this solution to each of the use cases I previously identified to ensure that any missed corner cases were covered. After a final review with my mentors, I presented my solution to the engineering and design teams where we started discussions about the feasibility of the solution and developing a timeline.

Monitoring

To ensure that development occurred on time, I had weekly calls with my mentors as well as with engineering and design teams. At these meetings we provided feedback to the teams working on the product and as development continued, and we made decisions about which features to prioritize in the final version of the product.

Conclusion

After one sprint, testing and documentation review, my feature shipped! This was super exciting. Our new UI gives customers the ability to transfer content freely, which will improve their overall experience while using Tanium!

My Big Takeaway

The biggest takeaway from my internship experience was the importance of mentorship. Being in constant contact with my mentors throughout the internship helped set me up for success. Weekly conversations answered any questions I had, confirmed that I was moving in the right direction, provided feedback and shared general wisdom about product management and life in general. I am so grateful to my Product Management mentors Jack Coates and Barby Fernicola for making this such an amazing experience.

At Tanium, I was given the perfect balance of freedom and guidance as I played the challenging role of product manager for the first time. I am now completely sure that a career as a product manager is the perfect path for me.


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