A big online consumer lender decided to build their own custom software to help grow their business by making it more efficient and gain a competitive edge.
The MVP needed to facilitate all of their business processes: purchasing leads, underwriting, loan origination, customer relationship management, payment processing, reporting and more.
I started the project pre-launch, it was my responsibility to manage the remainder of the development, ensure an effective transition of all teams and build out a product roadmap.
Launch & Roadmap
User testing, data mapping and mitigation plans were at top of mind prior to the go live period. There was a business to run and downtime was not an option.
Once live, my focus transitioned to filling gaps in the users needs and prioritizing needs based on a ICE scoring model (impact, confidence, ease). I initially focused on various aspects of reporting to create clarity to business processes. KPI's were established, hypothesis were created, requirements drafted, prioritized and success tracked.
One example of feature prioritization related to a newly integrated SMS provider. Post launch, users were reporting an increase in difficulty contacting customers through SMS. The SMS provider had limited UI reporting capabilities and we were unable to see any deliverability issues, from a high level the reports looked healthy. We quickly built a way to fetch raw data and broke the reporting down into a more granular level. The data showed a drop in SMS deliverability for a variety of use cases. Working along side our marketing manager, we came up with an immediate short term solution and a longer term solution that required dev. The impact of this issue was high, comprising our ability to reach customers. The short term solution proved our confidence in the solution. After LOE evaluated, the SMS overhaul jumped to the top of the roadmap and shortly after we saw not only a spike in delivery but overall sales & loan performance.
The product roadmap aligned with the business goals and with every release we were moving the needle in the right direction.
Critical Issue Management
A major aspect to being a successful Product Manager is the ability to manage issues. First, the issue needs to be analyzed, quantified and prioritized. For critical issues, timeliness is of upmost importance.Ultimately issues are going to happen, it is inevitable. How we prevent issues and how we react are whats important.
The prevention of issues was our first line of defense. For a business without any prior software dev experience required creating a testing plan. Staging environments were created and set to mimic our production environments settings. Testing plans were created, executed and tracked to ensure all aspects of the product were tested by multiple teams. Starting with the overseas QA team to ensure the requirements were met, by the PM and lastly by the users (in this case managers of the users). I crafted release notes and if requested allowed access to staging environment to end users. These processes ensured smooth product releases and transparency on what to expect.
Unforeseen issues still arose as the product had dozens of 3rd party integrations outside of our control. Communications channels were created to alert me of issues in real-time. This began communication between stakeholders, myself and the dev team. We encouraged everyone to brainstorm work-arounds while a fix was taking place.
Overall the LMS was successful in creating efficiencies to it's users and overhauling entire departments.
Most notably Data Analytics, having gained access to previously non-existant or untappable data, created transparencies and live-reporting that was previously impossible. Teams are now able to monitor their performance and make adjustments on the fly without having to run reports and crunch numbers in excel.
Additionally parts of the customer journey became automated - not only giving the customers a cutting edge experience but also overcoming some of the businesses largest bottle necks for scaleability.