The best products are a result of a team who knows project management well. Alison Connard, our Director of Product Management is no exception to this rule. Bringing a wealth of experience, Alison works closely with a number of teams including our Engineering and Marketing teams to ensure that 33Across’ product offerings are competitive and commercialized successfully. For this edition of Friday Fives, Alison gives us insight on how she got into product management, the skills needed for the role, and where her last vacation was.

How did you get into product management?
I started my career in various ad operations roles, some of which worked very closely with publishers. I learned the ins and outs of advertising technology and decided that I wanted a role that involved developing products that would help publishers effectively monetize their content.

Is there a certain skill-set you have that you believe makes you great at product management?
Starting out in ad operations has helped shape my product management skills. In order to holistically manage a product you need to be able to wear various hats and not be afraid to dig into other areas of the business that aren’t necessarily your focus. This is something ad ops teams know all too well.

Is there an ideal product that you would like to see developed?
I would like to see products developed that more effectively address the problem surrounding capturing quality consumer attention. This is critical as digital consumption becomes increasingly fragmented. Truly reaching consumers at the right time, with the right message, is ultimately the solution. Using myself as an example, I do most of my browsing on my smartphone. I prefer to be reached there, with contextually relevant product offers and a limited number of quality ad executions that don’t disrupt the overall experience.

In your experience, what factors make a project successful?
Carefully curating who needs to be involved, knowing the goal of the project as well as the expected results makes a project successful. It’s also important to not just move on to the next project once the current one is complete. While nothing is ever perfect, incomplete products are sometimes launched. Taking a step back to figure out the things which guarantee long-term success is key.  In all, I enjoy the complexities of product management. It’s a delicate balance between revenue, business needs, user experience, and resources. Never a dull moment!

How did you spend your last vacation?
Our yearly family ski trip to Stratton Mountain with my siblings, nieces and nephew. It’s the one week a year I typically ski, so I make the most of it and usually return very tired and worn out, but totally worth it!