Register now Essentials of User Experience - Sydney – 27 July 2016

Product Manager Qantas Loyalty – Cards / Financial Services

Posted on 14 July 2016 at 4:34 by Jen Marshall

As the Product Manager Qantas Loyalty – Cards / Financial Services, you will have the opportunity to work within the financial services team, adding significant value through the creation of new products with commercial partners.

This newly created and exciting opportunity will position you to drive specialist products forward and deliver large revenue streams for Qantas.

The responsibilities of the Product Manager Qantas Loyalty will include:

  • Development of the product proposition and strategy, based on customer insights, to deliver a best in market customer experience. This will include development and prioritisation of key user stories and requirements
  • Analysing the financial services landscape including regulation and innovation, and design strategies to adapt
  • Ensuring the products are achieving KPIs set and delivering strong profit results
  • Reporting and analysis of the product profit and loss and forecasts to enable the driving financial outcomes, working closely with Finance Partner
  • Owning, developing and championing the product strategy and roadmap to encourage customer use and utilisation
  • Working closely with marketing and legal teams to develop marketing strategies and collateral to ensure product and regulatory requirements are met
  • Working closely with design and technical teams to influence a best in market digital experience

What you’ll bring to the role:

  • Consumer financial services product management experience, preferably in Cards, transaction accounts or mortgages
  • Relevant tertiary qualifications together with a minimum of 5 years’ experience in financial services product management experience
  • Strong relationship management, with proven ability to drive successful relationship to influence outcomes
  • Strong financial acumen – with ability to understand and drive product profit and loss, forecasting and assessment of financial impacts of product roadmap development
  • Advanced skills in Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Word
  • A demonstrated ability to interact, communicate effectively at all levels within an organisation and across functions
  • An innate ability to ‘make things happen’

Qantas Loyalty creates a culture that will challenge and excite you – and give you the support you need to really go places. At Qantas Loyalty, everyone’s treated with the respect they deserve. And everyone has the potential to make the most of their skills.

Qantas is an Equal Opportunity Employer – so by coming to work for us, you’ll be part of an organisation that encourages diversity, supports charities and environmental initiatives, and is always striving to bring out the best in Australia’s youth, the arts and sport. Qantas encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander – and people from every other kind of background – to apply.

Apply now on the company website using job number: 030318

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Product Management is like a Fractal

Posted on 4 July 2016 at 11:15 by Nick Coster

Product Management is like a fractal. Self-similar and repeating at every scale.

What is a Fractal?

Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop.” This idea of the same shapes or patterns appearing at every scale or zoom level reflects the fractal nature of Product Management.

Lewis Fry Richardson, a mathematician demonstrated the concept of fractals by taking a map of the UK and measuring the length of the coastline. With a coarse measuring tool, the length of the coastline will just be an approximation. There will be details that are missed which adds a little bit more length to the measurement. If we use a more detailed map, or a big satellite photo and more carefully measure the length of the coastline, the length will always be longer because we are measuring it in more detail. If we were to walk the length of the coastline and measure the distance covered, it will have more details and be even more accurate. The length measured will be longer again. We can keep going to the physical limits of our measuring devices, measuring the jagged sand grains in every pebble and rock that makes up the coastline and again we will get a larger number.

This is a good analogy for Product Management. As we spend more time learning about our customers and we spend more time examining solutions, we inevitably obtain more detail and become more knowledgeable at making better decisions.

From High Level to Finer Detail

Product Managers tend to walk out of any ideation or brainstorming session with big ideas. We are tasked with obtaining funding for that big idea. The big idea gets a business case that describes a worthwhile problem to solve and estimates the benefits and the costs of solving it. The resulting investment opportunity is usually sized in big round numbers because at this stage it is just an approximation.

To build something valuable we need more detail, ideally starting with information about the individual customer. The overall business opportunity doesn’t need to change but as you investigate how to deliver a solution, the level of detail required to consider increases. Just like the measured length of the UK coastline gets longer with finer measurements, this also means that the effort (and associated cost) required to accurately measure the customer’s needs and identify a solution also increases.

But in business we ignore this scale problem. We jump straight into pricing a solution design at the highest and broadest level of scale. This is akin to having a conversation with a customer from a satellite photo and believing that you will truly understand how to help them.

The Infinite Snowflake

Another example that illustrates the increase in cost within a fixed scope is the beautiful Koch Snow Flake that performs the magic trick of capturing an infinite length in a finite space….

2000px-KochFlake.svgIt starts with a simple equilateral triangle. Let’s say that each side has a length of 1 unit, so the total length of the sides is 3.

Now add a smaller triangle to each side where the length is 1/3 of the length of the side it is being added to in this case it will be 1/3 per side.

We now have a star shape with 12 surfaces, each with a length of 1/3 to make a total perimeter length of 12 x 1/3 = 4.

So here is the really cool thing about this process, the more you do it the longer the perimeter gets but the space it fills never increases. In fact, after just 51 iterations of the process above the perimeter length increases to over 5 MILLION units. This process can go on infinitely and as it does the length of the perimeter also increases to infinity. (Yes, that was the sound of your mind blowing….)

Budget Blowout or The Cost of Seeing the Details

Fractals are beautiful and are interesting mathematical objects but how does this align with the world of Product Management?

Many of us have had an experience that starts with clearly defined scope and budget for a product delivery project that inevitably ends up expanding beyond the originally estimated costs. When the original budget gets blown, poor project management or scope creep often gets the blame.

The reality is that as the original business case is turned into more detailed descriptions of the customer and business needs, more details are exposed. As these details are exposed, additional costs surface because the original estimate did not consider the appropriate level of detail that was required to effectively describe the customer experience and secondly, to create an applicable solution.

It is important to note that the original idea from the business case didn’t increase in scope, but the act of zooming in to a level that described a working solution immediately increased the resources required in the same way that more detailed measurement of the Koch Snowflake gets longer with every increase in detail.

How do we address this problem?

Review the Business Case when more details are exposed.

We need  to recognise that there is a problem with our current belief that an initial business case can provide a complete budget for an entire product build process. A business case lacks the level of detail to deliver an actual solution and as a result there are unavoidable costs that have not yet been uncovered.

In the same way that it seems counter intuitive to believe that an infinite length can be contained in a finite space, it is easy for infinite costs to be hidden in a business case of fixed scope. In real world projects we won’t hit infinite values, but we will run out of time and money. It is very important to note that this is not scope creep or “gold plating”. It is just that nature of dropping from a less detailed view to a more detailed view.

To address this the Brainmates Framework uses a 2 step business casing process to firstly evaluate the high level opportunity (Draft Business Case), then reviews the business case again when further details (requirements, user stories, solution designs) have been generated and cost estimates have been applied (Baseline Business Case).

Focus on the most valuable customers first

To mitigate the problem of projects expanding beyond their business case budget the product needs to focus on the most valuable customers first. This is where the level of detail needs to switch from an “overall market description” to a “Specific Target Market” level to “the experience of a real person”. Personas are a superb tool for stepping through specific, real world scenarios that assist in mapping out the Personas current and future desired state experiences. Every time there is an increase in the level of detail being described there must also be ruthless prioritisation and focus.

Stay focused on one customer problem at a time

Identify one part of the Persona’s experience to focus on at a time. You can’t describe everything when you increase the scale so it is important to stay focused on the right customer and stick with it until you can create sufficient value or pivot to another opportunity. To create value in the market it is better to deliver something of smaller value earlier, instead of waiting until everything is done.

In many respects this is the true essence of an Agile or Lean approach. Understand a customer (zoom in). Test that there is a problem to solve. If there is, solve that part of the overall problem quickly. Don’t attempt to solve every problem on the curve until the first one is solved. This is the essence of an MVP and lean experiments. Zoom back out and look for another area of the curve to work on.

Repeat, iterate.

But don’t get lost in the infinite snowflake.

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Scentre Group Senior Product Manager Opportunity

Posted on 27 June 2016 at 1:46 by Jen Marshall


  • Scentre Group Senior Product Manager- 12 Month contract- at Head Office
  • Connecting digital and physical environments throughout the shopper journey
  • Work on digital touchpoints, products and services that enhance our shopper’s experience

The Company

Scentre Group is the owner and operator of Westfield shopping centres in Australia New Zealand. With more than 12,000 retailer outlets and 3.7 million square meters of retail space, Westfield drives more than 560 million shopping visits every year. You can find out more about what it’s like to work at Scentre Group by checking out the Careers page.

The Team

The Digital Team at Scentre Group is responsible for introducing and managing shopper centric digital experiences across our shopping centres. Our vision is to build an ecosystem of digital touchpoints, products and services that enhances our shopper’s experience by seamlessly connecting digital and physical environments throughout the shopper journey.

The Role

The Senior Product Manager role, based in our head offices in Sydney CBD, is responsible for managing existing products and services and leading the development of new shopper centric products and services. The role is focused on identifying shopper and retailer needs, defining innovative solutions to improve the shopper and retailer experience, gathering and prioritising requirements, leading internal and external cross-functional teams and working closely with other areas of the business including shopping centre operations and marketing to ensure the delivery of superior experiences.

If you’re interested, please read the job description and apply via LinkedIn by following this link.

Scentre Senior Product Manager JD

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Towards 2017: Marketing Trends Review

Posted on 22 June 2016 at 8:27 by Sean Richards

Towards 2017, Marketing Trends for Product Marketers and Product Managers

Marketing Trends for Product Marketers and Product Managers

Well, we are half way through 2016…. already. I must have blinked a little too long. Now is a good time to see what marketing trends are playing out and what others are emerging for 2017. Product Marketers and Product Managers that have marketing responsibilities need to stay frosty and in tune with emerging trends. Go to market execution is a core competency. Do it well and it is a competitive advantage. So, let’s review what new trends and technology are emerging to help you sustain that competitive edge.

Continue reading...

Tagged in:market trends, marketing trends, product management, Product marketing

How to – Customer Interview

Posted on 31 May 2016 at 1:39 by Jen Marshall

There is so much buzz around user-centred design, design thinking and Lean methods of creating and delivering products and services to the market. One thing that these methods all have in common is that they put they explore the unmet needs of a customer by going out and meeting them face to face. It seems obvious that Product Managers would be constantly in contact with their customers to help understand them and to continue to discover new opportunities, but many Product Managers and organisations struggle with talking to their customers.

When we have asked why it is difficult we hear a number of blockers including everything from: “I’m not allowed to talk to the customer” to “Couldn’t I damage my company’s image by talking to the customer?” or “I don’t know what to ask my customer.”

In reality these are just excuses that cover an uncertainty of just how to get started with a customer meeting and what to say when the interview starts.

With a little bit of planning and a few simple steps it isn’t as hard as it first seems.

4 Steps for conducting a Customer Interview

Here is an overview of the four steps for customer interviews, that will help you start your journey towards knowing your customer.


Step One: Research Objective

The first step is to define the research objective. A customer interview is not a chit-chat, it needs a specific objective, which could be:

  • to prove or disprove a hypothesis
  • to describe a customer journey
  • to be an input for persona creation
  • to test a Product, prototype or MVP

Step Two: Identify and Recruit Interview Subjects

Your research objective will be an essential input as you decide who you’ll interview. Will you speak to customers, or non-customers, or a combination of both? Your interviews may focus on a particular market segment, or a group who demonstrate a particular behaviour, or perhaps match a demographic. Many people ask how many should be interviewed? The common benchmarks are somewhere between 5-20 and when you stop learning new things from the interviews.

Step Three: Plan Interview Questions

With these foundations, you can move on to devising the interview structure and questions. It’s worth being aware that asking customers what they want, or what they will do in the future, can produce unreliable results. Asking what they have done in the past can produce much more honest data.

Step Four: Extract Insights

Back in the office, you’ll need some method to extract the insights. This doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as easy as grouping like answers together on post-it notes, or compiling themes in an excel spreadsheet. Take time to recognise patterns relevant to your research objective. If you were testing a hypothesis, are you in a position to say it was proven? Or if you were trying to build a customer journey, can you deeply describe all the steps your customer takes?


During the whole process, it’s important to be aware of our personal biases. A customer interview should be approached with an open mind. As much as we want to see our Products succeed, it’s important to check those hopes at the door and be ready to receive any feedback the customer may provide.

Finally, conducting a customer interview is a skill, which requires practice. Having a colleague watch you while you interview may help identify possible areas for improvements. It’s very easy to slip into pitching your Product as the solution during an interview, or leading your customer to a particular answer.

Sitback and Brainmates have joined forces to present a new course: Customer Interviewing Masterclass. It’s designed for both User Experience and Product Professionals, who want to deep-dive into every step of the customer interview process.

The class is integrated with the Brainmates Framework and will provide tools, techniques and tricks valuable through the Innovation, Design and Implementation phases.

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