Tracy Higgs

Product Manager

I work for Kainos, an organisation building digital solutions to solve problems for our customers.

I work with customers to fully understand their problem and their goals in order to advise how technology can help them solve their problems and achieve their goals. I then work with our teams to work out how to design and build it (app/website/platform etc) and how much it will cost the customer, to ensure they get the best value for their money.

I really love seeing the idea transform and the end product come to life. As humans we love to solve problems, so usually a customer will have an idea that they think will solve their problem and helping them explore that idea and either grow it or find a different or better solution is great fun. Delighting them with a working product which is greater than they could have imagined is a fantastic feeling.

Product Management is about owning the strategy and managing the lifecycle of a product from initially launching it to deciding when it is old and needs to be replaced. The product is usually a digital product such as a website or app and therefore will have a purpose, a defined set of target users and metrics to monitor its performance, which I create inline with the business aims. Creating this vision takes time and producing the roadmap to deliver the vision is a regular action but once they are in place the daily role is about ensuring I keep upto date on changes and opportunities which might impact my product and that the team working to deliver my product developments (new features etc) have all the input they need and are progressing on time. As a Product Manager a typical day will consist of reviewing data to see how well the product is performing, eg how many people logged in yesterday to spot any trends or issues. Talking regularly with the design and development teams to answer any queries and agree final designs. I make decisions when the team are stuck, for example if something is going to take longer than expected I decide if its worth waiting the extra days or if we need to come up with a plan b. I talk with my customers to make sure they are kept upto date on the products success and progress as well as preparing for new product releases by ensuring marketing materials and legal approval is all in place for when the latest development is ready for release.

The good news is there isn't a specific qualification you need to become a Product Manager. When I interview I look for people who can demonstrate they understand technology, are clever and most importantly that they are curious and have energy. When I left school I was a bit lost and I didn't have the opportunity to go to college. When I became a mum to my 2 children I could not afford the childcare to work full time so I applied for a part time job at the local college. They spotted my potential and sponsored my education and eventually I became a full time lecturer with a teaching degree in English & Maths. Years later I was made redundant and became an IT trainer at a software company, again they spotted my potential and I was immediately promoted to a Business Analyst and then a Product Manager.

More adventures, lots of love and fun. I'd like to travel more, continually learn and open doors for girls wherever I can so my daughter and future generations have better opportunities.

I'm a big fan of Danielle Laporte's heart centred living and therefore I want to cultivate the feelings I enjoy more of. So I do what I enjoy which currently consists of yoga, open water swimming, stand up paddle boarding, pole fitness, sewing, reading, caravanning, hiking alongside helping others, being with my loved ones and having a lifelong correspondence with my own heart.

Today I choose courage over comfort-Brene Brown