Engineering and Product
Hannah Jamieson, Data Product Manager at Plexure
Too short to be an astronaut, but with some Star Wars and Lego analogies to describe working in product that anyone would be proud of, we loved learning more about Hannah Jamieson, Data Product Manager at Plexure's career journey.
We caught up with her hear more about her current role at Plexure, where Hannah helps Plexure provide customer's with products that give them value and also gives teams building the products everything they need to do their best work!
Thanks for sharing your story, Hannah.
Firstly, how would you explain to a five year old what it is you do?
It was best described to me as engineering works out ‘how’ to do things and product the ‘why’. So, while engineers are responsible for working out how to build the Lego Death Star, product managers are more concerned with why we want to build it in the first place.
Sometimes the answer is ‘because it’s super cool’, and other times you have to say ‘Mum doesn’t want us to build a Lego death star for her birthday, we should bake a cake instead’. But the end result is always great because, well, cake!
And for the adults, what does that translate to in regards to your day-to-day?
I like to think about success, and for me that’s providing the customer with products and capability that give them value BUT also making sure I’m giving teams building the products everything they need to do their best work. Day to day, it’s a lot of meetings, process and synthesising information.
What are some of the common misconceptions about working in your role?
That product owners or product managers aren’t necessary or get in the way. Bad product managers definitely make things harder, but the good ones? You won’t even know they’re there.
Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?
I’m still a kid at heart. Over the years, I wanted to be an astronaut (too short), then a theoretical physicist (too hard), and then a data scientist (did that). Now, I dream of being a writer. I don’t think tech should be a dream or an end goal for kids, but it’s a great place to be for a time in your life.
Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and, ultimately, about how you ended up working at Plexure?
So, back to being a theoretical physicist – I went to uni studying physics only to flunk out in my second year. I enrolled in statistics instead, which turned out to be the better personality fit (I found interpreting and analysing everyday data much more interesting than the hard theoreticals of the universe).
I started as a grad at Xero, riding the data science wave just as it was becoming hot and sexy, but my interests kept bringing me back to customer problems and the ‘why’ rather than the solutions (I felt like a lousy data scientist a lot of the time!).
I ended up spending eight years working at SAAS companies in the product data space. I wasn’t expecting to apply for a Data Product Manager position, but I'm so glad I did. While it is a big learning curve, it feels like the right fit.
What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?
In the meeting room, you are the expert. It doesn’t matter if there is a more senior data scientist in the office or in the world, all that matters is in that room — and in that room, your opinion matters.
What are the core skills required to be good in your role?
To be good, it has to be what you enjoy doing. It's skill as much as personality. It requires an affinity for 'why' over 'how'. It would help if you were compassionate, understanding and flexible.
If you can't understand other people's points of view or pivot on new information, the job will be more challenging than rewarding.
Lastly, as Plexure continues to grow and evolve, what are the key traits and characteristics of people who will be well-placed to work there?
Kindness. Patience. Ownership. There's an opportunity to take charge and make an impact, but also in understanding we’re all humans working together.