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Growing Product at Instil

A Product Mindset is crucial to creating truly great digital experiences - one that values product, design and engineering. Instil is growing by investing in these capabilities. Following the appointment of Jason Karayiannis as Head of Design early in 2020, Emma Mulholland now joins Instil to lead the Product Management team.

Growing Product at Instil

What is a Product Mindset?

It means being outcome focused rather than output driven. Product Mindset is a step-change from traditional management of delivery - it’s focused on solving problems, rather than prescribing solutions. It is helping to understand the needs of users and the business, and proving out the best way to meet these. It switches the dial on measurement of success, tracking the tangible change, rather than the time and cost taken to deliver. Best of all, it’s about creating empowered teams who are focused on success and continuity - they build the product, they support the product.

What do I love about Product?

My work is all about people. I’m inspired by human centred design and solving user problems. I love working in teams, continuously collaborating and responding to feedback.

Being a Product Manager means working across the whole Product Lifecycle, and thinking both strategically and tactically. You can be talking to users to understand what to build, working with engineers on the building, and planning go to market activities all at the same time!

My specific interest however is Product Discovery. The Product Discovery process is all about understanding the problem space, empathizing with users, coming up with ideas on how to help them, and then testing these out. The tools and framing techniques we use at this stage help teams laser focus on validating that they have the right customer, product, and business model.

A little more about me

Over the last 15 years I have worked across large enterprises, an XP lab which used Lean techniques and Design Thinking to solve business problems (CompoZed labs within Allstate), and a medium sized start up (ShopKeep).

I began my career building search and browse experiences in eCommerce (Tesco.com and Marks and Spencer). Both times I worked on a 3 year waterfall programme with globally distributed teams, only to find that the product did not land as successfully as we’d hoped. Each time we quickly moved to an Agile approach in order to understand what the customers needed, make the changes, and iterate fast.

We also heavily used A/B testing, user research and usability testing in our in-house usability lab. This allowed us to optimise the platforms quickly. This experience made me a big advocate of Lean methods and passionate about Product Management. I shared my passion when I moved back to Belfast helping to build the Belfast Product community through groups such as ProductTank Belfast, LeanCoffee Belfast and Product Camp Belfast, and by working as a trainer for Mind the Product.

What are the plans for Product at Instil?

I’m very excited about our plans to grow Product Management within Instil. We are looking at adding Product across the existing Instil training and software delivery offerings, and to create some new services around Product Discovery. We are also building our own products to bring to market. This allows us to continuously build and improve our tools and techniques and form our view on best practices.

We can help your team frame the problem you want to solve and gain a solid understanding of your audience and target market. Please get in contact with us if you are interested in learning more about this.

Be part of our Product Community

We’ll be taking a Product Management approach to design our training products. As a first step we want to build up a small user community to engage with us and collaboratively help build the training content. We’re interested in talking to people who are new to Product Management, or want to move into Product. The benefit of being part of this community is that you will get a chance to try out our training material for free as we build it out. If you are interested, please contact us.

Article By
Emma Mulholland

Emma Mulholland


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