I'm a product manager.


I manage a product for CES.

Ad Simulator

In every January, Samsung Ads team attends Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV. CES has turned out to be a great opportunity to meet clients – content provider and advertising agency – to showcase ads platform built at Samsung. Due to launch time of ad products is behind TV sets, presenting a real TV at CES would not have had ad placements incorporated. That being the case, Ad Simulator was born.

Ad Simulator is a browser-based application that reproduces ad experience on Samsung Smart TV. It represents featured ad formats, placements and click-actions with ad creatives customization supported.

How I Manage

Product manager is a unified title on Ad Simulator. In this role, I am standing at the center point, guiding the success of the product and leading a cross-functional team to make it real. My duty is comprehensive, from collecting needs and use cases from stakeholders, to make product strategy, define product scope and roadmap, create and prioritize tasks, bind and coordinate functions, etc.



Break Down into Parts

Confluence is the major tool we use for product management and team collaboration. As part of product requirements document, in addition to product description, a table of use cases was set up and a priority was assigned to each. This was an initiation and preparation of engineering tasks. (Screenshots are partially blurred for confidential considerations.)

Confluence



Engineering Discussion

It is necessary to communicate with Engineering team ahead of implementation. In the first conversation, project goals, scope and timeline was addressed, as well as a walkthrough of all the use cases and related design guidelines. Also, we discussed potential technology challenges to have them be considered in the big picture.

Design Guidelines



Create and Prioritize Tasks

As starting implementation, a master Jira ticket was created with a set of sub-tasks corresponding to use cases table. Similarly, priority was given to each sub-task. In the following Sprint planning, tasks would be assigned to the engineers based on prioritization.

Jira Ticket





Check-in and Update

In daily stand-ups, engineers address questions from two aspects: progress and impediment. Attending stand-up meeting was helpful for me to get updates from the team, clear up confusions and obstacles to keep the project going healthy. On top of that, a bi-weekly meeting was scheduled with end users – marketers and sales – to give them live demo and collect feedback.



Testing and Bug Fixing

Testing was a continuous effort in parallel with product development. When a new feature came out, engineers would give me a demo and I would get a hands-on experience like standing in user's shoes. If the feature was not matching PRD or design guidelines, a ticket would be created to report it as a bug and get fixed later.



Tradeoffs and Adjusting Plan

Plans don't always keep up with changes. On the one hand, unexpected engineering problems may occur. On the other hand, new needs or requests may come from the users. When the plan doesn't match new conditions, tradeoffs and reprioritization could be inevitable. Within a limited amount of time, a balance would be needed between getting it right and getting it out of the door. Although the plan may change, the goal stays stoned.

Final Product

Ad Simulator is viewed as a powerful demo tool as part of sales kit. It debuts every year on CES and presents in client meetings through the year. Instead of reading pages of descriptions, or struggling with the idea behind static images, Ad Simulator helps people understand ads product easily for its being dynamic and interactive.

Home Screen Video Ad in Ad Simulator



App Store Video Ad in Ad Simulator




Music Carousel Ad in Ad Simulator


Learnings

Effective communication is the key to lead a cross-functional team and ship product successfully. On a cross-functional team, people come from many different backgrounds. When someone has a question, I may not have the answer, but I'd best know who can answer and get the asker pointed in the right direction. In other words, I need to be able to communicate in multi-direction: translate engineering jargon into something that business folks can understand, and translate user questions and concerns for the engineers.

Also, I need to be communicating regularly to set everyone's expectations correctly and keep everyone on the same page. Send out a quick note or update to stakeholders regarding the questions or requests they brought up. Don't wait till they show anxiety.

The most challenging part would be communicating negative news. When things are not going our way, either a delay or a feature cannot be implemented, communicate promptly before it grows into a big crisis. Prepare one or two workarounds to overcome the limitation. The new outcome could be even better than what was expected from the original plan.