Micro-Interview: Velina Krasteva, Sr. Product Manager

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Velina Krasteva is a Senior Product Manager at VMWare – a leading provider of multi-cloud services for all apps. We sat down for a micro-interview on product management.

In under 500 words, Velina shares: 

  • How to win the engineers on your side…
  • Useful training on public speaking…
  • Some of her sources of learning…

And more…  

Enjoy!


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“How did you get into product management?”

Started my career in Storage and Backup technologies in engineering and consulting roles. One of my role models, Nikolay Fesliyski, left the company and recommended me as a successor Product Manager for the entire Backup and Storage Offerings. Being selected for the position, I felt overjoyed that I can influence the industry and decide the roadmap for the technology I admired. I am thankful every day for this chance and feel inspired by the innovation and what’s latest in technology (like Kubernetes). My career transition from technical to business side is exciting and falls into my growth mindset.

“How do you start your mornings at work?”

By checking my email to get feedback from various customers (my product has 20 000+) and reading the In-product Feedback (a cool feature we have to capture it). As a next step, I would have meetings with customers, engineering teams, tech marketing, account managers, and support. Effective communication is key in our position. Of course, a product manager needs the perfect cappuccino in the morning as well.

“What do you know about product management now that you wish you’d known when you first started?”

Win engineering on your side! Get them to understand how critical it is to get this feature in the next release. Start with WHY customers need the feature, do not get into the HOW and WHAT yet. Spread the word – evangelize your roadmap and vision with key stakeholders and customers. When you have everyone on your side, it is much easier to succeed as a team and make products that customers love.

“What did your biggest product failure teach you?”

Validate features and designs with customers, before they are developed and released. Why are we building this feature? Do customers really need it? Is it the right timing?

“What’s the #1 thing that has helped you shorten your product management learning curve?”

Completing the Decker communications training in person. The course helped me master public speaking skills, and winning body language, and showed me the magic of storytelling. Very early in my career as a product manager, I had to present on a stage with 200 people. I definitely needed rehearsal. The moment I entered the stage, I realized how many people spent their time to come and hear it, it was an unforgettable thrill.

“How do you stay updated on the best practices in product management?”

By listening to the “Product Podcast” and “How I Built This” podcasts, reading new books, and checking reviews on Goodreads. By following communities like “Product Management” and “Product Tank” Facebook groups and “Product School” newsletters and blogs.