Scrum Team Interview Series: Meet Our Product Managers

We’re excited to continue our series of interviews with members of our scrum teams. Today we  interviewed Laura Luttmer, a Group Product Manager, Will Wang, a Product Manager, and Caro Seiler, a Sr. Product Manager. Note that Product Manager or Product Management are frequently shortened to PM.

Photos of Laura Luttmer, Will Wang, and Caro Seiler

How did you decide to become a Product Manager?

Laura: I kinda fell into it, honestly.

I originally thought I was going to get a Ph.D. and be a theoretical mathematician, but I hated grad school and left with a Master’s degree instead. After I graduated, I landed a Marketing Analyst role at an eCommerce company, where I modeled trends in purchasing behaviors and used that to buy Google product ads. But I was bored and a little disillusioned by eCommerce, Google, etc.

Fortunately, the VP of Marketing reached out and asked me to fill in as interim Product Manager for the internal tools team assigned to Marketing. I absolutely loved it. I loved working with engineers, understanding the problems of my “customers” (the marketing department), and releasing and iterating on solutions. Every day was a little different. This was what I wanted to do.

I asked to transfer into Product full time, but the company was looking for a more tenured candidate to fill that role. So I quit, did a little soul searching, and started looking for Product Management positions at other companies. Eventually, I was hired as an Associate PM at Lucid, and the rest is history! I’ve been here for over 5 years now and am now a Group PM and the lead PM for Lucidchart.

Will: My journey in product management started when I started my first full-time job at UPS. I was given a pretty nebulous data analyst/admin role, and no one really knew what my job was. As I got into it, I noticed that I was always thinking about how to make our services better and spent time tinkering with our deliverables to see if I could make them more useful. Not sure why I was thinking about these things…it just kind of came naturally. I started to spend time talking to salespeople and customers to better understand what customers were trying to do, and then I’d go back and make changes to our deliverables and test with them on the next call. The whole process was super fun, and I started to weave more of this work into my day-to-day job. Later on, I learned that there’s actually a job out there that does this kind of thing full-time…it’s called a ‘product manager’. At that point, I decided I wanted to pursue PM and made myself the PM for my team.

Caro: For the longest time, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up—which is why I accepted a job in consulting right out of college, hoping that it would give me the chance to try out different industries and roles until I found my dream job. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I enjoyed parts of my job, like working with businesses and technical teams to translate needs into requirements, and solving complex problems. But I still felt too removed from actually making an impact, which made it difficult to justify the long hours and weeks away from home. 

When I decided to leave consulting, I came across Lucid and immediately fell in love with the company. Looking at their job openings, I realized that Product Management offered all of the things that I had enjoyed most about my old job (and none of the things I disliked), while also offering an exciting opportunity to build products that solve real customer problems and that would help shape Lucid’s visual collaboration platform.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Laura: Vibing with the customers.

There’s a magic moment in the discovery phase of a project when you’re starting to really understand the user and their needs. You feel their pain and can anticipate their asks. You and your UX partner have tons of ideas for possible solutions and are excited at the prospect of testing them out. The absolute best is when you show a prototype to a user and they respond with something like “HECK YES! That will make my job so much easier!”

It’s even better when your team has released a new feature and you can see its impact. There’s no high like a customer reaching out with “This team is amazing! This actually has made my job so much easier!”

Will: My favorite part of being a PM is that we are actively involved in every part of the product dev process, from idea conception all the way to final delivery to the customer, and the impact potential that creates. Think about the PMs for Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, Twitter’s character limit, or Google Map’s Search feature. The decisions these PMs make will, ultimately, define how millions, if not billions, of people make themselves heard online or find the nearest hospital after getting into an accident. Or, in the case of Lucid, how people work together on a day-to-day basis. This is the tremendous responsibility that PMs are tasked with, and that’s what makes it so exciting and fulfilling.

Caro: As a Product Manager, I get to listen to our users, tease out common needs and pain points, and help come up with creative solutions that will address these needs and pains, while also helping Lucid build towards our larger company vision. I really love the process of taking a big and gnarly problem, breaking it down into smaller, more consumable pieces, and then coming up with specific strategies and solutions for each piece. I also absolutely love talking to users and learning how Lucid can help them work better and more effectively. Almost every customer call I am on people tell me how much Lucid products have helped them, and their excitement is really infectious!

What’s coming next in this series?

The next post in this series will feature members of our Quality Assurance team! 

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