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Nancy Chu

Product Manager by day and a beauty blogger by night. Inspired by great products that simplify people's lives, and that is why I do what I do. I actually like running around like a chicken with it's head cut off to make things happen.

Posts by Nancy Chu


7 Things That Product Managers Should Say

Product Management is an art, not a major in which you can earn a degree. Like an apprentice, you’d learn on the job which requires commitment, discipline, and perseverance. In my several years as a Product Manager, I’ve learned that communication is one of the most important aspects in this job; I’ve had to pick myself up numerous times from missteps learning through trial and error. In this post, I’d like to pass along seven things I have learned on what Product Managers should say: 1. That feature is on the roadmap, but has been deprioritized so we can focus on the company’s top initiative. We receive requests from all directions and the requests can be overwhelming, but PMs have to say “No” more than “Yes” because we cannot build everything for everyone. It is easier, though, to say “No” once everyone understands that we as a company need to agree on the strategic vision with a focus on the top initiatives solving the biggest problems. This means that we cannot and should not commit to every request. 2. This is one of the top pain points – we need to fix it in the next release because it generates X tickets a week. Although we focus most of our time building the next innovative feature or product, we can’t neglect our current customers. We must allocate time to address critical customer issues, even if an issue requires time and effort to properly fix. Providing the proper fix means we can improve the product quality, which improves churn and customer satisfaction. 3. I will be back in 10 minutes, after my standup. Being in-sync and aligned with engineering is the key to a successful release. To be fully integrated with the team, the Product Manager should participate in all the agile ceremonies like the daily standups, sprint planning, and retrospectives. 4. When will the wireframes/mockups be ready for user testing? A design that has been user tested carries a lot more weight than a design which hasn’t. Over a few rounds of user testing, designs can be refined significantly! Our engineers are also very keen on getting customer feedback so that they know what we are building truly solves customer pain points. Click here to learn more about our UX process. 5. I have socialized this with Sales, Marketing, Support, and other stakeholders. Getting buy-in and alignment from all stakeholders is often the biggest hurdle in getting a project kicked off. Getting the sign-off also validates the plan has a purpose which solves customer pain points and enables the business to move faster. 6. Please log these events so adoption and other KPIs can be tracked. Adoption is a form of measuring success for a feature, team, or product. When we put measurements in place we’ll be able to make informed decisions on moving forward as planned, pivoting, or investing in other areas of the product. 7. Let me tell Marketing early so they have time to plan for the launch. Marketing is Product Management’s best friend in getting the feature or product to the marketplace. Successful campaigns and events require enough lead time for Marketing to plan and execute a solid go-to-market strategy. For these reasons, a strong Product Manager needs to communicate frequently and clearly with colleagues to get the most out of the team. The quotes I’ve focused on in this post are examples that demonstrate the many moving pieces and the communication required to build and maintain a successful product. PS, here are some bonus quotes for your entertainment: Nancy Chu Sr. Product Manager

July 27, 2015


Setup Wizard – July 2015 Release is LIVE!


3 Reasons Why You Need To Bodystorm

Last month I wrote about learning to build a Service Blueprint to build a better SaaS product from the “Transforming Customer Experience” training at Cooper U. Another valuable tool we learned is Bodystorming. Bodystorming is a technique that can be very helpful when designing customer interactions. Rather than imagining an interaction by brainstorming, the idea of bodystorming is to act as if the product or workflow actually existed by roleplaying the different parts of the interaction. The example here captures an actual bodystorming exercise I had with our Support Manager, Kevin. He tried to explain a problem with our current account lockout and password reset, but until we acted it out, I wasn’t able to fully empathize with our users and internalize the frustration. Kevin acted as the Sumo Logic application and I acted as a user who was locked out of the account and couldn’t reset password. As you can see, bodystorming makes it easier to understand and empathize with users by acting out different roles in the interaction, and the best part is that this can be achieved in a short period of time. It is valuable in helping participants come up with new creative ways to design a particular interaction by enabling the participants to be surrounded by the actual events, behaviors, inefficiencies, and pain points. My next step is to work out all the details of this workflow, and run it by our Security team to make sure that we are still PCI Compliant while we simplify the User Experience. In summary, next time you should definitely include bodystorming during your design process because: You want to understand and empathize with your users You want to efficiently design a product, workflow, or interaction You want to create an effective design that solves inefficiencies and pain points

June 24, 2015


4 Reasons Why You Should Make A Service Blueprint For Your Service

4 reasons why you should put together a Service Blueprint for your service: You understand that providing a cohesive customer experience is a requirement in today’s service-oriented society You want to understand your customer experience in its entirety You want to identify places where you can improve the entire customer service experience You want to motivate people in different parts of your organization so that you can work together to improve your customer experience from all touchpoints A couple of weeks ago a group of us attended the “Transforming Customer Experience” training at Cooper U. We had participation from User Experience, Customer Success, and Product Management. Together we want to unite cross functionally to have greater impact within the Sumo Logic organization, so that we can improve our service offering from all possible touchpoints. We are a service company, and we know that providing a cohesive customer experience is a requirement that is more important than ever in today’s service-oriented society (think, Uber and Airbnb). One of the most valuable lessons I learned in this class is the benefit of using the primary tool of service design – the Service Blueprint. The Service Blueprint includes the customer journey as well as all of the interactions and touchpoints that make up and support that journey. After sitting down and creating the Service Blueprint for the Sumo Logic Setup Wizard (which recently went through a dramatic UX transformation), it helped me look beyond the Setup Wizard so that I can evaluate all the other backend systems that make up the customer’s entire journey. The Service Blueprint for the Sumo Logic Setup Wizard starts off with the user signing up for the service on the website, going into the product, stepping through the wizard, seeing the Wow moment, and upgrading at the end of the 30 day trial. The multiple swimlanes capture the backend systems that support this entire journey: sending the activation email, syncing with Marketo, which then syncs with Salesforce, which then creates the lead and then routes to the appropriate Sales manager, at the same time our Onboarding engineers also get notified and they then reach out to the user providing assistance to get them fully set up in Sumo Logic. The existing workflow is marked in green. After mapping out the existing workflow, I then identified the customer emotions in the yellow boxes. Wherever the emotion is not entirely positive, I put a red circle next to it identifying them as pain points in the journey. Identifying pain points make it clear that we need to come up with improvements, marked in blue. For example, we know that waiting for a long time to see data in Sumo Logic is a frustrating experience, therefore we plan to keep on iterating on this portion of the workflow to shorten the wait, so that our users can get to a dashboard as soon as possible and visualize their data. This is the Wow Moment in the entire journey. The journey doesn’t just stop after the Wow Moment though, we need to continue to enhance the journey because the ultimate goal is provide the values that our users are looking for so that they feel compelled to upgrade to a paid account. After mapping this out on the Service Blueprint, it is now very clear visually that we need to shorten this portion of the journey as well – the time to conversion – as much as possible, because at the same time the Onboarding engineers are spending time helping customers onboard. To improve this, we plan to build in more in-app help, enhance our nurturing emails to point users to helpful tutorials and documentation, and to automatically parse fields during ingest so the important fields already come parsed by the time the user is ready for search. The next step is to put the Service Blueprint on a big wall somewhere in the office where everyone can see, and then invite other parts of the organization to review it together so everyone can contribute in adding more ideas on how we can improve the overall customer journey. A Service Blueprint can clearly identify the interactions between the user, touchpoints, and service employees, including the activities that the user can directly see and those that user does not see. Therefore, it is a very powerful tool that can be used to better deliver a successful customer experience holistically; it is a great tool in the way that it makes it easy to explain a long-running and complicated process in just a few minutes, which adds tremendous value in getting multiple minds together to collaborate on a problem. To summarize, here’s why you should put together a Service Blueprint for your service: You understand that providing a cohesive customer experience is a requirement in today’s service-oriented society You want to understand your customer experience in its entirety You want to identify places where you can improve the customer service experience You want to motivate people in different parts of your organization so that you can work together to improve your customer experience from all touchpoints

June 18, 2015


Sumo Logic Setup Wizard - June 2015 Release And The Road Ahead

In March we introduced the first version of the brand new Sumo Logic Setup Wizard focused on AWS after an amazing UX journey. This month we introduced a bold new version that works harder for you so you can get started quickly and easily for more types of Sources. It guides you step by step through the process of adding data, from selecting the type of data to configuring your Source, so that you can send your logs to Sumo Logic with minimal work on your end. From the usability to the visual design, every aspect of the setup process has been improved so that setting up data in Sumo Logic is now easier than ever. The wizard also installs a Sumo Logic App to help you analyze and visualize your data, if available. This release includes: The ability to upload local static files without configuring a Collector so that you can start searching right away! A completely redesigned experience for setting up Apache, Windows IIS, MySQL, Nginx, and Varnish Sources. For more information on this release, please contact Nancy Chu at But wait, there’s more! Here’s a sneak peek of what is coming in July: Based on popular request, a welcome page that clearly distinguishes between a sandbox environment via static file uploads and configuring Collectors to collect streaming data. A redesigned experience for setting up HTTP Sources, Syslog Sources, Cisco ASA, Palo Alto Network, Linux system logs, Mac system logs, Windows Events, and Windows Performance. We also have an interactive prototype for the ultimate vision for the Setup Wizard, please take a look here: Setup Wizard Ultimate Vision. In our upcoming releases, we plan to extend the new user experience to cover cloud Sources like Google Drive and Microsoft Office 365; and by popular demand we plan to incorporate Field Extraction Rules and Templates during data ingest so that important fields come already parsed when users are ready to search! To give feedback on our upcoming releases, please contact Nancy Chu at PS: Remember where we were a few months ago? We’ve come a long way! Nancy Chu Sr Product Manager

June 17, 2015


The UX Story Behind Our Brand New AWS Setup Wizard

The Release: New AWS Setup Wizard A new first-time Setup Wizard for our AWS users is now available, so that setting up AWS data is incredibly simple in Sumo Logic. The Problem: Time to Productivity We want our users to be productive as soon as possible. The new streamlined setup wizard enables our first-time users to dive right into Sumo Logic without spending too much time setting it up. The Goal: Intuitive, Simple, Powerful Improving the user experience has been a crucial part of this initiative. We aimed to deliver a new user interface that doesn’t require users to understand too much about how Sumo Logic data collection works. We were also careful not to solve a problem users don’t care about or introduce unnecessary features. The UX Philosophy: Clean and Straightforward Rebecca Sorensen, our designer, shared the philosophy behind this new design: Tell our readers about your role at Sumo Logic. I’m a Visual Designer on our UX team. Much of what I do focuses on the way things look, but we try to make sure are roles aren’t too siloed. I participated in all aspects of this project, from UX research to interaction design. How would you describe our design culture? Our UX team, like the company, is rapidly growing. And with this growing team, our goal is to foster a culture of openness and collaboration, which we’re achieving by getting constant feedback on our ideas from each other and across other teams as well. Starting this dialogue has really helped us to increase visibility at the company. Now everyone from Sales to Backend Engineering can get excited about important changes that are coming to the product and contribute to making excellent user experience a priority at Sumo Logic. What tools do you use in your design process? Rapid iteration is really important to me so I’ll use whatever tool is fastest to get my point across. Axure has been great for turning wireframes into clickable lo-fi prototypes that were easy to share with stakeholders early in the process. Once we’re ready to transition to high fidelity mockups, I generally design the screens in Sketch, which is a newer tool built especially for UI design. Then I might import the mockups into Invision where users can play around with a more realistic-feeling prototype. I like to test out certain components in HTML and CSS to get a better feel for things like hover states and animations before passing the designs onto our front-end developers for implementation. What was your thought process behind this design? I knew the design had to be clean and straightforward, since the data setup process is so technical. Helping the user accomplish their goal was first and foremost, so in many ways the design had to take a back seat to making sure the page was uncomplicated and intuitive. In terms of visual design, I was inspired by Google’s Material Design’s use of bold color and large-scale typography. Establishing a consistent hierarchy was also a critical part of the design being successful. What can Sumo Logic users look forward to this year in terms of design? A lot! Our focus will be shifting in a big way this year to building interfaces that look polished but are also incredibly thoughtful and intuitive. We already have an powerful product – our next challenge is to make sure the UI can hold up. We’ll start by unifying our design language and bringing a consistent look and feel to all areas of the application, then extend this language to new features and functionality. Providing the user with tools that help them get their work done better and faster will be central to everything we do. Thanks Rebecca, great work! The Method: Ask, Think, Repeat The diagram below depicts our method. We gathered user feedback at multiple points during the planning and development cycle to test that our understanding of the problem matched our users’ thinking and rationale. We observed what users did and thought as they interacted with each version of the design This helped us quickly discover what worked and what didn’t to iterate through another cycle. Before development started, we hosted a round of tests with internal stakeholders using lo-fi wireframes without any backend functionality. Testing in this fashion provided a simple and quick way to determine if the design would actually solve problems; it was something tangible with which the user could interact that could also be easily updated and modified. Once we were happy with the direction, development started. We continued testing using hi-fidelity mockups; at this point realistic prototypes were required to get the next level of feedback. We improved the design without impacting the overall direction throughout the development cycle as we planned our sprints. The fun part began once development was ready for user testing. I recruited both existing customers as well as prospects without prior knowledge of Sumo Logic, but with experience using other log analytics services. We had eight user sessions over two weeks; some of the user tests took place at Sumo Logic HQ, while others were remote. Observing the users while they worked through a series of scripted tasks to set up their AWS source gave us terrific insight into what worked, what didn’t, and why. Our team operated on a rapid development cycle: directly after each user test, we reviewed the feedback, decided what changes to incorporate, made those changes to the code, and were able to re-deploy new code before the next user test. This fast iteration allowed us to collect and incorporate a great deal of user feedback, without the delay of traditional lab testing. As a Product Manager, I loved being able to share user feedback live with the team, because having actual data short circuited debates over whether a feature made sense to users. As soon as the team saw what the users saw, everyone knew what issues needed to be fixed. Next Steps: More Flows, More Feedback Usability testing is effective but traditionally time consuming. Our goal this year is to come up with a faster, easier, and more efficient process that compliments our agile development cycle in order to understand what we can do to improve our user experience. This new first-time Setup Wizard will be one of the many releases that primarily focuses on improving Sumo Logic’s user experience. Our goal is to extend this kind of simplicity, power, and flexibility throughout our user interface to enable our users to solve a wide range of problems. For this release I plan to collect metrics for a couple of weeks as users interact with it organically, to see if this new workflow is as effective as we hope. Finally, I want to hear from you. If you’ve tried our new Setup Wizard, please let me know what worked for you and what didn’t. And let me know if you’d like to see a preview of the next iteration. I’d love your feedback. If you haven’t signed up for Sumo Logic yet, sign up for a free trial to try it out now!