6 Questions With Emily Hoelting, VP of Agile at Mitek Systems
We have the best job in the world — we build software for software builders. And we are connected with people who are building what is next for customers around the world. So we are asking exceptional product folks who are shaping the future to share their knowledge with you.
Emily Hoelting is a VP of Agile at Mitek Systems with over 12 years of agile experience. In her role, Emily leads agile planning and adoption for over 20 global product teams. She supports the company's continuous improvement by helping to implement new processes and solutions like Aha! software.
Though she has not been in a formal product management role, Emily has worked closely with product teams throughout her career — from her beginnings as a scrum master until now as VP of Agile. Her experience comes with a unique perspective on the importance of product value and relationship-building.
Emily is based in Huntington Beach, California. Outside of work, she enjoys running, pilates, and walks on the beach with her Goldendoodle, Mogsley. She has recently gained an appreciation for golf and is in the midst of wedding planning and buying her first home.
When did you learn product management existed?
"Early in my career, I worked as scrum master. I have known about product managers and product owners since then. But the first time I truly understood the real value of product management was when I attended a Mind the Product conference back in 2014. The whole experience was really magical for me — to be immersed in a sea of product experts, speakers, and content. I walked away with a true appreciation and respect for the complex and vital nature of product management."
What was your first job partnering with product?
"I was asked to transition seven product development teams from waterfall to agile. I partnered heavily with the seven respective product owners in the process. It was my first time implementing and leading scrum — and I was fortunate enough to learn my craft in a fun and safe environment. It was that experience that made me fall in love with agile, servant leadership, and ensuring product teams are set up for success."
What is the most important trait for a product manager?
"I have found that the most effective product managers have an innate ability to build incredible relationships with everyone — from those building the product to the stakeholders. When you have that strong foundation of transparency and trust and you genuinely care about the people and the product, then you can say 'no' and still maintain positive rapport."
What would you recommend a new product manager not do?
"Do not get engrossed in delivering features without focusing on value. If you deliver every feature on the roadmap and your velocity increases, but nothing else improves, that is not success. Organizations focused only on delivery run the risk of becoming 'feature factories' with little understanding of whether their product actually solves business problems and adds value for customers. Instead, ensure you are outcome-oriented. Create an aligned and clear picture of what success looks like."
If product management had a slogan, what would it be?
"We say no — so we can say yes when it matters."
What will change most about managing products in the next decade?
Companies will continue to become more global and employees will want more flexibility in where and how they work — which inevitably brings more complexity.
I believe a big differentiator will be the ability to effectively align, engage, and empower your workforce to take action and make an impact on the things that matter most. This will require a robust digital operating rhythm that is balanced with the right cadence of bringing people together."
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