Caitlin Stanway-Williams
02.08.2019

Datasine Insider: our Product Manager, Alex Lillo

Datasine sits down with Alex Lillo, our product manager, to talk all about the work he does at the company and the world of UX and product design.

DataSine is nothing without the people that make us. So we’ve decided to run a series of blogs, ‘DataSine insider’ where we’ll be talking with members of the team about the work they are doing. To start us off is Alex Lillo, our Product Manager.

Alex joined us in January this year, when he brought with him 15 years of experience understanding user experience. He is passionate about solving problems and we particularly appreciate the calm and pragmatic approach he brings with him to work every day. 

What does a product manager do?

Multiple things! But if I had to break it down it would be two overarching responsibilities. Number one, it’s my role to define what the vision of the product is with the founders and the team. Then, with their help, I have to define what milestones are coming up in the next six/three/one month(s). 

DataSine insider: our Product Manager, Alex Lillo

Secondly, I am responsible for understanding the user as much as possible. I do this by conducting user research, interviewing people and just talking to them about their experiences. That way, I can find out what their problems are, what they are trying to do with their marketing and how they do their work so we can build something that makes their life easier. 

So I take these two things – the vision of the product and the user – and break that down into milestones we’re going to cover over the coming months. I then break this down into digestible parts and put it into actionable tickets, from the very top level to the very granular. 

Oh, and it’s up to me to ensure everyone in the company understands what the product is and where we’re at with it.

What does your day-to-day look like?

It really depends. I could be doing any number of things that fall under those key responsibilities. Some weeks will be more focused on certain things, but it’s incredibly varied.

What tools are most useful?

I think the most useful tool is sticky notes! Apart from that it’s a combination of Sketch, JIRA, Omnigraffle, and a lot of Google Docs. 

DataSine insider: our Product Manager, Alex Lillo

What is your favourite thing about your job? 

That it touches so many different parts of the company. My past is as a UX designer and in that position I was always responsible for the user, but not all the other parts that I am now responsible for. It’s great to be able to see the bigger picture.

What is your least favourite thing about your job?

Because I’m involved in so many moving parts it can get a bit chaotic at points. There’s so much going on that I have to be really diligent otherwise things that need to be done are missed. 

What is it like working at DataSine?

It’s good because there’s a lot going on. I really like that everybody is very open and happy to talk. It means it’s a more productive work environment, because no one goes “I’m doing this because I’ve been told to do it,” they’re doing it because we’ve all agreed that it’s the right idea. And if we can’t work out why we’re doing it, together we make the change.

DataSine insider: our Product Manager, Alex Lillo

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in product design/UX?

Focus on the user research. It will make your job so much easier! When you do that then suddenly everything falls into place, you understand what the problem is instead of just guessing. When you really know the user, you don’t have to assume what their issues are and you end up just guessing the solution without knowing why. Because you have the research you can see what the problem is immediately.

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