A day in the life of a product manager

Giulia FabritiusGiulia Fabritius


People always ask us - what do you do? The answer varies and inevitably will depend on the type of product manager you are. This my attempt to describe a typical day of a Product Manager (PM) at Lendable.

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This is easier said than done, as every day is different. However, If I had to summarise the main common thread in one line:

It is our job to build products that delight our users. To do whatever it takes to progress conversations, create strategic alignment for initiatives and lead the execution.

This includes collaborating across different teams in the business to solve problems for our users.

Working with software engineers

At Lendable, the product function is split across our three products: Lendable Personal Loans, Level Credit Card and Autolend Car Loans. Within each team as PM's we work hand in hand with the software engineers.

Every morning we have a 15 minute stand-up to keep a pulse on how feature work is progressing. This is a chance for each engineer to discuss what they accomplished on the previous day, what they are planning to focus on today and discuss anything that is blocking their current work...

In addition to these quick daily check-ins, we also have a more in depth weekly planning session as a team to discuss each new initiative in detail. It is a chance for us to highlight the business context and commercial impact of new initiatives. At the same time, it is an opportunity for the engineers to raise any concerns and agree on the best technical implementation. Once we are all in agreement we prioritise work in our project management system - JIRA.

Also, it's not just those formal meetings where we work with software engineers. Throughout the week we have a number of ad hoc catch ups on various topics. This ranges from triaging bugs, testing new features, brainstorming a new product spec or simply having a coffee outside of work ;-).

Building great products for our users

To build great products for our users and continuously improve the customer experience, we frequently check in with all other teams. This allows us to identify the most pressing pain points for our users. Also, it’s not just Lendable customers whose lives we’re trying to improve. Often, it’s other teams at Lendable that we’re helping.

Every two weeks we create a comprehensive and exhaustive list of the latest priorities, all of which are fleshed out in detail and sized in terms of dev days. This information is then used to guide our prioritisation process determining which initiatives should be addressed first.

Examples of how we interact with other internal Lendable teams to build new features that benefit our customers and internal teams are:

  • Marketing - continue improving our customer onboarding journey, optimising for ease and speed of completion. For example, we have built an automated flow that allows customers to verify their income using open banking, providing a much slicker customer journey and saving thousands of hours for our customer service agents
  • Operations - automating manual processes for the team and building new features to allow customers to service more aspects of their loan independently. For example this quarter we are building the functionality to let our customers change their repayment date in their account, without having to contact our customer operations team.
  • Credit and Data Science - we work closely on improving our risk models, iterating on our current ones and testing into new credit regions. Most recently we have worked with the team on a new risk model for our car loans and deploying this to production to be used in underwriting for Autolend.

What is the most important skill to have as a PM?

As you can tell by now, the life of a Product Manager at Lendable is incredibly varied. Every day is different and never dull. You can expect to be challenged and to learn something new every day.

With this in mind, I think the single most useful skill to have as a PM is curiosity. Curiosity to understand problems, their root cause and finding the most viable solution.

So, whilst you do not need a data science degree to do the job, a willingness to find an answer to your question should drive you to data analysis - whether that is writing SQL queries or excel formulas.

Following that, I think making suggestions for improvements in fields that are new to you has its own set of challenges. You will need to communicate your ideas effectively to all stakeholders, but also stay flexible and be ready to change your proposal if you discover anything new.

This combination of analytical thinking, communication and teamwork make the role an exciting one - plus you get to learn something new every day!

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We are hiring!

Does that sounds exciting? Well, we are actually looking for a Product Manager!