Get excited: Colorado product managers explain how their teams stay engaged

by Cailin Crowe
April 11, 2019

Product managers are tasked with always keeping an eye on the prize — the customers' needs — and another eye on an equally important demand: employee engagement.

Three Colorado product managers explained how they keep their teams excited to optimize collaboration and exceed customer expectations.

 

Rebecca Berger
senior product manager

Rebecca Berger is the Senior Product Manager of Peaksware. The company creates software platforms for musicians and athletes to go for the gold and do everything from publish, teach and train.

Berger discussed how she facilitates collaboration and why the team feels fulfilled and inspired by their work. 

 

How do you facilitate collaboration on your own team and cross-departmentally?

Our product and UX teams have in-depth experience with leveraging process tools like story mapping and design sprints to get cross-functional teams thinking about initiatives from the user's perspective. Bringing together team members from across the business has helped us create a holistic view of the best ways to serve our customers' needs. As experiences start to take shape in the design process, we print out user flows and put them on a wall next to the relevant user personas so that each team member can see the product taking shape and collaborate further on the concepts. 

...each team member can see the product taking shape and collaborate further on the concepts.” 

How do you keep your teams excited and engaged?

Our focus is helping people achieve their goals, which is inspiring. On top of that, we continue to challenge the way we think about our customers and our products in order to better serve our customer needs. These areas of focus get people pretty excited in general! 

As part of our collaborative process, we work to ensure that team members understand the long-term vision of the product and how each new product enhancement will connect to that vision. I find that involving cross-functional teams in the ideation phase encourages more engagement in the outcome of each initiative. As each of our hypotheses are proved or disproved, we continue to have collaborative conversations as the details become more refined. Most importantly, making customers happy is very fulfilling.

 

Taylor Linnell
Product Manager

Taylor Linnell is a product manager at Denver-based GoSpotCheck. The team of self-proclaimed “dog-lovers, goofballs and creative thinkers” provides a management platform that improves workforce operations. 

Linnell explained the product team’s top motivators and collaboration exercises. 

 

How do you facilitate collaboration on your own team and cross-departmentally?

Collaboration at the company-level and the team-level, is facilitated through the ScaledAgile framework, which gets stakeholders from across the company to sit down and plan the quarter together. This exercise aligns everyone around big product milestones and surfaces cross-team dependencies that we can proactively plan against. ScaledAgile is far from perfect but it absolutely has improved collaboration throughout GoSpotCheck.

The number one team motivator is seeing our products solve real-world pain and frustration...”

How do you keep your teams excited and engaged?

The number one team motivator is seeing our products solve real-world pain and frustration for fieldworkers, our end users. This workforce tends to have hard, tedious, and manual jobs. When GoSpotCheck’s computer vision and machine learning abilities have eliminated the tedious tasks, we get pretty excited. 

 

Andrew Chapello
senior product manager

Andrew Chapello is the senior product manager of Boulder-based Recurly. Founded in 2009, the company provides a subscription management platform to help businesses navigate the billing challenges of the ever-popular subscription-based business model. 

Chapello explained how his product team collaborates by never losing sight of who benefits most from their work: the customer.

 

How do you facilitate collaboration on your own team and cross-departmentally?

As a product manager, I mostly connect the dots between customers and the rest of the product development team. Being inclusive and encouraging discussion are the most helpful ways to foster collaboration. 

Great ideas can come from anywhere in the company. But those ideas often go unshared because the individual was never asked or encouraged to speak up. I try to foster an environment where people feel comfortable placing a problem on the table for discussion in front of a broad audience. I encourage employees to speak up and say, “I have an idea to solve this.” 

Great ideas can come from anywhere in the company.”

How do you keep your teams excited and engaged?

I’m happiest when everyone feels like they can be themselves. At Recurly, we have folks with an amazing variety of experiences and interests, and I am genuinely interested in how they spend their time. I try to ensure space for each person to be themselves at work.

I also aim to make sure that we don’t lose sight of who benefits from our work. In the business-to-business software industry, we ensure that the team is always close to the customer’s needs in order to help them understand the real world application of their work. 

 

Jobs from companies in this blog21 open jobs
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