Microsoft fmr Product Lead on Product Research (Part 2)

Sometimes, product managers actually have some budget at their disposal to conduct product research! This is especially important when it comes to building a new product from scratch. Ultimately, you need to have as much perspective from your target customers as possible.

I’ll share an example from my time at Microsoft that fits into the “have budget, no product” category. Fortunately, Microsoft gave our team plenty of budget to conduct qualitative and quantitative research for a new server-based solution. Yes, servers used to be “hot” back in the day. Clearly, times have changed – but the problem that we set out to solve is still very much a reality today.

Specifically, that problem is consolidating multiple products into a single easy-to-access platform.

Back then, every core Microsoft Office product required its own server for enterprise operations. For example, Excel had a unique server – as did Word / Powerpoint / etc. As you can imagine, requiring a customer to have upwards of seven servers to perform functions that tied into one suite of products was not very efficient. With this, we set out to create a solution to consolidate Office’s suite of products into fewer than one server per application.

As you can imagine, product research is critical for validating changes that impact key business partners. In this case, we made sure to use insights from both qualitative and quantitative research to come up with our final product. This is a very important factor in utilizing product research correctly – as the qualitative side is frequently overlooked. Typically, most companies will only invest in quantitative research. The assumption is that quantitative research “doesn’t lie” and is more objective.

However, the problem with approaching product research purely from an analytical perspective is that you lose “the soul” of why people respond to product features. Said differently, you don’t have much context by looking at results without understanding the personal drivers that led to people choosing those options. Ultimately, product research at its best combines pure data and personal insights to generate recommended product solutions.

Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 3

About the speaker
Anne Weiler Wellpepper, CEO & Co-Founder Member

Anne Weiler is CEO and co-founder of Wellpepper, a clinically-validated and award-winning platform for interactive treatment plans. She previously held global product management roles at Microsoft in new product development and emerging markets. She spent 3 years at Microsoft Russia leading the $300M Information Worker Business. Anne joined Microsoft in 2001 with the acquisition of a Canadian web content management company called Ncompass Labs. Anne holds a degree from the University of Waterloo and currently lives in Seattle.

Provide your rating for this post
If you liked this post, please use the buttons to the left to share it with a friend or post it on social media. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Read more

Microsoft fmr Product Lead on Product Research

Product managers use of product research based on the maturity of their core product and available budget for research projects

Product Research: Expand Your Current Product

Successful products use product research to gauge opportunities to leverage their business reputation to expand into new markets.

/ Register for Free

Don’t be left behind in your career. Join a growing community of over 500K Product professionals committed to building great products. Register for FREE today and get access to :

  • All eBooks
  • All Infographics
  • Product Award resources
  • Search for other members

Coming soon for members only: personalized content, engagement, and networking.