Chat Interview for January 2022 – guest Kate Smith

Our first chat-interview of the year is with Microsoft Program Manager – Kate Smith. We chatted with her on SQL Server 2022, working for Microsoft and some of her hobbies and interests. Kate can be found on LinkedIn here.

Key takeaways from the interview are as below.

What does a program manager role in Microsoft involve?

  • Work with customer needs based on feedback from customers and developer team to define a feature or a new feature that needs to be added to the product.
  • Define the scope of that feature and what the customer experience is going to be.
  • Work with the developer team to build a plan to deliver that feature.
  • As the work starts to get going – there are opportunities for customers to try it out.
  • Interface with customers on a small scale basis to get early feedback(limited private previews with certain customers, that allows them to test it.)
  • Take that feedback,incorporate it back with the into the product, and then eventually deliver it and yeah, and then it’s a party!! Find more features to do.

What are the interesting/cool features in SQL Server 2022?

I am particularly involved with query processing – so as below –

  • Improvements to memory grant feedback
  • Approximate query processing.
  • Improving parameter sensitive plans.
  • Query Store hints /Query Store on readable secondaries.
    Also brief discussion on Azure Synapse, failover to managed instance and ledger features.

What is the coolest part of your job?

Right at the beginning of a feature – we want to deliver something to solve this problem, right? And we’ve established that this is a problem that, that needs to be solved. And it’s a problem that that you can solve. And then we get to solving it!

How do you deal with Imposter syndrome, being yourself amongst a lot of very smart people?

One of the things that have helped me is to find the right niche for myself and own the place
I’m solid and confident in my knowledge and what I have to bring to the table.
I know myself, and they know what I can do. I try to surround myself with people who also see what I’m capable of and see what I can do.

Links to learn more on SQL Server 2022:
Anna Hoffman’s interview series on Data Exposed.

Glenn Berry’s blog post

Interview with PMs on RunAsRadio podcast.