We spoke about this year’s theme of Product Firsts and her journey into product delivery.
Over to you, Claire!
What’s your role?
I’m delivery director at Code, so I’m responsible for all things delivery, our delivery discipline – which is our delivery managers and our product owners, and I’m also responsible for how we do things at Code too.
How long have you been at Code?
I’ve been here for five and a half years now.
How did you get into digital?
Well, it wasn’t a traditional route into digital. My background is in travel and customer experience.
What I found was that there are a lot of transferable skills in customer experience that there are to digital, so things like doing the right thing for the end user, making sure we get value early and doing the right thing at the right time.
A role came up, I went for it and I got it!
Where was your first product role?
It was at Laterooms.com based out of Manchester. I was a customer experience manager there and also had a dual role in the digital team as a business analyst.
A product owner role came up, and again I recognised those transferable skills and went for it and I got it.
What was the first product you worked on?
The first product I worked on was with the reservations product team, so Laterooms is a hotel booking platform.
They essentially sell hotels and previously we would have to fax hoteliers with their reservations and we automated the system so that the hoteliers could actually get their bookings on a platform.
What’s something you wish you knew when you first started in product?
Digital didn’t exist when I came out of school, which was a long, long time ago!
So I wish I knew what a digital role was then that there were loads of different transferable skills.
I think my understanding of digital was all engineering. So, you know, tech and coding, whereas actually there are lots of different varied roles that you can get, including delivery managers like my guys.
What would you recommend to anyone who wants to get into a product leadership role?
I think for me, it’s all about being a good role model. Being good at what you do and being able to empower people around you to push themselves out of their comfort zone to do things that they don’t really want to do, to help develop their skills.
I’ve got a lot of people management experience. I think that helps with dealing with people as well in terms of personal challenges and work-related challenges.
What are the top three skills you need to work in product?
I’d say passion, pragmatism, enthusiasm.
What’s been your favourite project at Code so far?
One of our biggest clients has advisors working for them and you weren’t able to amend or cancel your appointment with them.
We automated that, it reduced operational efficiencies, it reduced their cancellation rate and they made a lot of money from it. So you can imagine they were delighted, which made me happy too!
What’s your favourite quote?
That’s a tough one, I’d say “Never give up”.
Keep trying and keep improving yourself. You know, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
I’m a big believer of that – my experiences come from making mistakes and learning from them.
What’s your favourite memory at Code?
Another tough one – but it’s got to be one of the Christmas Do’s!
However, ultimately I get a lot of joy out of what we build. Great products and services for our clients, and that makes me happy when we do things well and we exceed customer expectations.
What would you say to someone who wants to work in product?
Just go for it, there are so many roles out there. Don’t just assume it’s tech or assume it’s engineering because it’s not just about that, you know, there’s product managers, designers and creators.
Just go for it and do something you enjoy doing as well. Don’t stick with something that you don’t want to do, and that would be my advice to my younger self.
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Want to know what a day in the life of a product consultant looks like at Code? Find out here.