Product All-Star: 6 Questions With Matt Zollers
July 17, 2023

Product All-Star: 6 Questions With Matt Zollers

by Aha!

Building products is an adventure. That is what makes it the best job in the world. But it is not for the faint of heart — true product success requires decisive action, continuous effort, and a relentless pursuit of value.

At Aha! we have the honor of being connected to product experts and companies who go boldly and bravely. We are asking folks to share their knowledge with you — in hopes it will inspire you in your own product career.

Meet Matt Zollers, a leader of the Enterprise Capabilities and Enablement team at Ascensus. As the company continues to evolve, Matt helps different divisions understand how their work adds value and contributes to the overall goals and objectives of the business. Day to day, he interacts with teams to optimize workflows, identify customer needs, and drive greater alignment throughout the organization.

What was your first product role?

"I began my career as a business analyst and then project manager — a 'doer of all deeds' within software delivery. Over time, I gained skills around agile and scrum methodologies and became a scrum master. This pathway is what led me to the capabilities team at Ascensus.

Ascensus has a growing number of product teams, with many added through acquisitions. It became clear that we needed to establish a common value stream so we could operate effectively. We also needed to help each team understand how the common value stream fit with their specific agile transformation journey. That's the core directive of my team.

Today, I like to think of each team as my customer — helping them create efficiencies in their work and ultimately deliver better experiences. It is rewarding to see product teams shift from being narrowly focused to embracing a bigger picture around value delivery for our customers. I am very excited to be part of that transformation."

How do you find success in your role?

"No matter your role, it is important to meet people where they are."

"I work across a very broad organization, interfacing with several different teams daily — and like customers, they are all so different. Some teams have just recently become part of our organization and others are well-established. Each team has its own history and different opinions about how they work best. It is my job to understand the problems each team is trying to solve and the processes they are using to solve them. I am not interested in sameness. Instead, I'm focused on helping teams try out new solutions that address their challenges, helping them work better and easier.

It is also important to remember that every experience you have with a team is transferable elsewhere. Every conversation, challenge, and success matters. The knowledge gained from that interaction can help someone else down the road."

"Each experience expands your toolbox and that expands your ability to help others."

What would you recommend not to do when starting out in a product career?

"Do not act like you know everything — that is just impossible to keep up. And do not tell people how they are going to solve a problem. No one reacts positively to being told what to do.

While it is my job to ensure alignment across the organization, it is important to balance top-level business goals against each individual team. I do not make assumptions. Instead, I customize my approach based on the uniqueness of the team."

"Listen first, and listen often. Ask questions and keep an open mind around what the team is trying to solve."

How do you stay motivated when complex challenges arise?

"I stay motivated when I see a team find workflow success, and when our collaboration made their professional lives better."

"A good process makes life easier. It just disappears into the background and everyone is on the same page."

"When the team has established a strong process for work, they don't argue about priorities anymore. The status and timing of every task is clear. Aha! software enables that visibility so teams can focus on product challenges instead of how to tackle their daily to-dos."

What is the most exciting aspect of your current role?

"I have a natural tendency to organize things. I value purpose and order. It's satisfying when I can help people examine their own processes more deeply — simplifying things so everyone understands their true intent. I enjoy making progress, alleviating pain points, and seeing teams benefit from working with me."

What will change most about product development in the next decade?

"No matter the state of technology, you have to be responsive to customer needs as they align with your business goals."

"Putting the customer first will always be a trend."

"There is a lot of tech out there, so companies need to be prepared to deliver solutions iteratively and embrace near-constant change. The entire organization needs to consider itself a value delivery system and evaluate whether today's customer needs match internal business objectives. If they do, then you are in a good place."

Read more of the Product All-Star series.

Know an inspiring product builder? Nominate them to be featured in an upcoming post. They simply need to be doing quality work and using Aha! software.



Aha! is the world's #1 product development software. We help more than 1 million product builders bring their strategy to life. Our suite of tools includes Aha! Roadmaps, Aha! Ideas, Aha! Whiteboards, Aha! Knowledge, and Aha! Develop.

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