Day in the Life: Product Owner

At HALIGHT, we work in collaborative teams and have an organization rich in the diversification of roles and talents. Our Day in the Life series will take you on a typical day through the eyes of one of our teammates. In this post, we’ll be uncovering what an average workday looks like to one of HALIGHT’s Product Owners (PO), our solutions seekers.

Product Owners are part of our Solutions team who work with clients one-on-one and develop concepts to push their learning platform, user experiences, and learning strategies forward.

In a typical day in your life at HALIGHT…

…what can you expect to accomplish?

For me, there’s a lot of collaboration with multiple teams – the UI/UX (User Interface and Experience), Development, and CSMs (Client Success Managers). We’re the only department that has that much interdepartmental involvement. In a day, but also throughout the week, we work on creating what we call Statement of Works or “SOWs”. Those are basically the documents that outline an enhancement or all the updates we’ll be doing for a specific product. Once it gets approved by the client, it goes into our backlog. From there it gets scheduled into a PI (Project Increment) and then it’s put into a sprint. Every PO has at least one development team and those are the developers that work on that product. We do daily stand-ups with them to touch base, address any roadblocks, and alleviate as much as we can, and then we let them do their thing.

…what kind of enhancements do you work on?

Depending on the size of the project and SOW, these could be overarching learning strategies. For major projects, we work through multiple iterations and there could even be pilot programs dedicated to that. Some smaller enhancements could be just a new feature, such as updating an admin tool to alleviate some manual work for the admin user. We could also update the system so that there’s more functionality, something cool for front-end users. Usually, admin and front-end go hand-in-hand, so often we’ll do both of those things together. Any kind of update to the system counts as an enhancement. It could be small, but it could also be something really large.

…how are you involved with a new LMS for a new client?

It’s up to Solutions, the Architect team, and Sales to define the client’s requirements and wants. With our history in LMS development, we have some baseline concepts to use. We’ve learned how to do some things really well and how to improve on those things. We take the knowledge that we have from our other LMSs when there’s a new one that comes up and then create that new one from the ground up. That’s where Solutions comes in to add features and functionalities that are going to work as a customized solution for that specific client.

…what is unique about working at HALIGHT?

The culture is really awesome here. The office is open concept, and we have a work-hard-play-hard mentality. We get stuff done, but there’s still comradery between the departments. Everyone is super friendly. It’s a great place to work. We got very lucky with the giant team that we have – and it’s growing so fast right now – and it’s still maintaining that level of great personality and collaboration.

…what do you enjoy most about your job?

I like the fact that we get to work with all these different teams. We get perspectives and input from all different sides of the project so we can create the best possible solution for something. You have all the information for UI/UX, you have the concept behind the back-end development – like what would make the most sense to do something a certain way, the limitations. You have all the information to satisfy the customer’s needs and at the same time, we push the limits and boundaries. There’s so much collaboration that it’s easy to talk about new ideas. You can just bounce things off each other and then from that, we come up with innovative new concepts. Some of our most creative solutions have come from random conversations. We get to be really innovative in that way.

…how are you involved in pushing HALIGHT forward in the industry?

I think we have very good relationships with our customers which is a fundamental step. In doing that, we can understand where they’re headed and what they’re going to need in order to succeed. We take that input from all our customers and use it to analyze the industry as a whole and not just one customer specifically. We see the broad spectrum from different clients to understand the general consensus of what they want, and that really creates the industry trends. These things deal with learning strategies as well as user involvement – getting people into the system, having people wanting to learn, new ways for people to learn, and having leaders be more effective and efficient in their roles so they can coach their users better. These types of things are what we deal with on a day-to-day basis to advance us forward. We’ve created innovative solutions from the ground up that lead to overall increased engagement. With these solutions, we empower people with their ability to take their learning into their own hands.

…what is your favourite part of your day?

I talk to the customer a lot, and it’s cool to have that interaction. When they respond well to a solution, when they’re really happy, it’s cool to see how something that started out so small has come into something that is affecting even corporate teams.

…how do you work in AGILE?

Software is like construction: something’s always going on, something’s going to happen, something’s going to break at some point. There are going to be setbacks. That’s, unfortunately, the reality of it. With AGILE, those things come to light so much sooner. You’re able to plan and clarify dependencies and basically plan for those mishaps. We can talk in sprints with customers, too, which allows the team to focus more on one specific product. Because of this focus, they know that system so much better, which allows them to maybe test a use case that they didn’t think of before because they’re so much more familiar with it.

Now that you have some insight into how a PO can help your organization find solutions to enhance your learning strategy, call us today to start collaborating!

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