What’s it like to be an APM?

Jian, APM 2015, Mountain View
“Our roles are a lot more cyclical than people might think. It’s not day-to-day that the role changes, but it’s more like quarter by quarter, or month by month. For a month you could just be thinking, researching, and fleshing out overarching theories. The end of a year is a big time for this, and it’s a lot less tactics and a lot more design sprints and brainstorms. We also do research to vet ideas; we test products and talk to users to understand the market. And, of course, we look at a lot of usage data to find trends. Other times, it’s very project based. I get involved in user design and engineering design. My role has a lot of partner interactions (OEMs and content providers), since I work on a product that requires tight integration with third party products.”

Sam, APM 2016, Mountain View
“Recently, I worked on a project to update and redesign Google’s privacy policy. As new European data protection legislation came into effect, our team worked to improve the way Google describes what information we collect, why we collect it, and how users can review and manage their data. I spent a decent chunk of my days in a cross-functional writer's room, which included a group of privacy lawyers, a user experience writer, a designer, a researcher, and myself. We also did a series of user research sessions, showing versions of the policy to people around the world in order to understand how different users engage with the policy content.”

Bryan, APM 2014, Tokyo
“Maps is very consumer focused, so there’s a lot of collaboration with the UX team. Typically, I have about a half day of meetings (1:1s, status updates, decision meetings), and other times I’m following up on those action items, or carving out time to think about larger initiatives or working with UX to create new designs and new strategies. We’re lucky enough to have UX researchers on our team too.”

Janvi, APM 2015, Mountain View
“I’d say my job is a good balance of strategy and execution. I spend a lot of time with user researchers thinking about what surveys or research studies we’ll do. We have a strong feedback loop of early testing with real users. On the execution side, once we know an idea has gained momentum, we get a rough sketch of what a product will look like, and discuss how we’ll implement it. We then find the hardest parts and decide where we can cut scope for a v1 release. Other than that I mostly work on PRDs (Product Requirement Docs meant to help engineers understand what to build) and specs. I also work a good amount of time with privacy, legal, and policy, depending on the type of launch, and doing data analysis to review launches and see how they landed.”

Muli, APM 2013, Zurich
“Every day, there are two mental hats that I wear — planning and execution. When I’m in planning mode, I spend a lot of time thinking about metrics my team should be driving, areas of opportunities and the types of projects we should be focusing on. I spend time doing foundational research and work with executives to make sure we’re aligned with company priorities. When I’m in execution mode, I do a lot of detailed work with engineers and designers to move projects towards launch. I troubleshoot, try to understand what’s missing and collaborate with marketing and PR around communicating value.”

What’s it like to be an APM?

Jian, APM 2015, Mountain View
“Our roles are a lot more cyclical than people might think. It’s not day-to-day that the role changes, but it’s more like quarter by quarter, or month by month. For a month you could just be thinking, researching, and fleshing out overarching theories. The end of a year is a big time for this, and it’s a lot less tactics and a lot more design sprints and brainstorms. We also do research to vet ideas; we test products and talk to users to understand the market. And, of course, we look at a lot of usage data to find trends. Other times, it’s very project based. I get involved in user design and engineering design. My role has a lot of partner interactions (OEMs and content providers), since I work on a product that requires tight integration with third party products.”

Sam, APM 2016, Mountain View
“Recently, I worked on a project to update and redesign Google’s privacy policy. As new European data protection legislation came into effect, our team worked to improve the way Google describes what information we collect, why we collect it, and how users can review and manage their data. I spent a decent chunk of my days in a cross-functional writer's room, which included a group of privacy lawyers, a user experience writer, a designer, a researcher, and myself. We also did a series of user research sessions, showing versions of the policy to people around the world in order to understand how different users engage with the policy content.”

Bryan, APM 2014, Tokyo
“Maps is very consumer focused, so there’s a lot of collaboration with the UX team. Typically, I have about a half day of meetings (1:1s, status updates, decision meetings), and other times I’m following up on those action items, or carving out time to think about larger initiatives or working with UX to create new designs and new strategies. We’re lucky enough to have UX researchers on our team too.”

Janvi, APM 2015, Mountain View
“I’d say my job is a good balance of strategy and execution. I spend a lot of time with user researchers thinking about what surveys or research studies we’ll do. We have a strong feedback loop of early testing with real users. On the execution side, once we know an idea has gained momentum, we get a rough sketch of what a product will look like, and discuss how we’ll implement it. We then find the hardest parts and decide where we can cut scope for a v1 release. Other than that I mostly work on PRDs (Product Requirement Docs meant to help engineers understand what to build) and specs. I also work a good amount of time with privacy, legal, and policy, depending on the type of launch, and doing data analysis to review launches and see how they landed.”

Muli, APM 2013, Zurich
“Every day, there are two mental hats that I wear — planning and execution. When I’m in planning mode, I spend a lot of time thinking about metrics my team should be driving, areas of opportunities and the types of projects we should be focusing on. I spend time doing foundational research and work with executives to make sure we’re aligned with company priorities. When I’m in execution mode, I do a lot of detailed work with engineers and designers to move projects towards launch. I troubleshoot, try to understand what’s missing and collaborate with marketing and PR around communicating value.”