James Whitman

How I Got Here

It all started when....

Don't worry I won't bore you with my life story, but like all good things there was a point that started my career and inspired my interest in making great experiences. 

After graduating in Manchester Metropolitan University in 2009 into the middle of an economic recession there wasn't much work around at the time for a bright eyed graduate. I took a job in a Contact Centre at the time and the recession continued - a position many my age were in.

I worked this job for close to two and a half years before I got my first opportunity in 2011 but it was the experience in the contact centre that set my course.

I had always been interested in Tech and Digital but working in a Contact Centre all I heard was customers having problems. Either they couldn't complete what they needed to on the website, didn't have the confidence to perform actions themselves or were feeling like they had been let down by the business.

Simply put: Their Products were failing them.

The whole time I kept asking myself - why can't this be better?

When an opportunity was given to work in a Project Office I jumped at the chance to start making the Products better.

Quickly my role evolved into Product Management and i’ve been there ever since, trying to create better experiences and delivering great results. 

 

 
 

How I work

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Learn, Build, Measure

and repeat

 
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LEARN

Every Product and Feature and iteration starts with learning. We need to discover more about our users, their needs and what the requirements and needs of the business are before we start building anything.

Our main focus should always be - What problems are we trying to solve? 

People make products, so the whole team is involved.

 
 
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BUILD

We need to build our products, taking it through design then to delivery. Whether it be software, web or app.

Do we start with a RAT (Rapid Assumption Test), MVP (Minimal Viable Product) or is it worth the risk to go big bang?

If we're optimising an existing feature, what do we need to do? Is there tech debt that needs refactoring or has the experience become unusable and outdated?

 
 
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MEASURE

Once the Product or Feature or iteration goes live, I then measure it. I do this by employing quantitive and qualitative measures.

We're building products to better our customers, so we need to know they're suiting their purpose. Once we have measurements, we can then learn and repeat the cycle. 

If it didn't have the result we expected we only fail if we're not able to learn from it. 

 

Skills

 
  • Effective Influencing
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Product Management
  • Business Analysis
  • Statistical Modeling
  • Wireframing
  • Use Cases
  • Personas
  • Lean, Scrum, Kanban, Dual Track forms of Agile
  • AB & MVT Testing
  • Strategic Planning & Thinking
  • Market Awareness
  • Strong Written & Verbal Communication
  • People Management
  • Mentoring
  • SQL
  • User Story Creation
  • Backlog Grooming
 

Given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes understanding the problem and one minute resolving it.
— Albert Einstein