Product Management All-Star: 6 Questions With Aimee Ferguson
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.
Aimee Ferguson is a technical director at Hexagon's PPM division, where she oversees product owners for industrial plant design, analysis, and automation software products. These products form a complete solution for their customers — providing intelligent 3D models, analyzing for material and structural soundness, and visualizing facilities to limit project downtime.
Based in Tennessee, Aimee has more than 13 years of experience working in software. Outside of work, Aimee enjoys baking cookies and cakes, building model trains, hiking, and traveling.
When did you learn product management existed?
"In 2008, I was hired by a software company as a subject matter expert in the structural construction and engineering field. The company converted to scrum methodology within my first four months there — which is when I became the product owner of a component within a large engineering software product. That was my first introduction to product management."
What was your first product job?
"My first product job in software was with a product called SmartPlant Structure, which was a component of a much larger software product. My team and I worked together as a part of a larger team to get the full product delivered."
What are the most important traits for a product owner or manager?
"Organization and follow-through. Many product owners are experts in certain subject matter — but if you cannot manage and prioritize your product backlog, the dependent development team will be in a constant struggle of figuring out what to work on next."
What would you recommend a new product manager not do?
"Do not get hung up on the details. If you do not know every facet of your product when you start out, that is OK. Your team's expertise is at your disposal — learn to lean on them as you come up to speed."
If product management had a slogan, what would it be?
"Translating customer requirements into development execution."
What will change most about managing products in 2030?
"Strategy has always been important, but it will be paramount moving forward as rapid release cycles become the reality for most SaaS products. This changes the nature of customer relationships and the way we think about large feature and epic development. A clearly defined and frequently reviewed strategy to fall back on will be vital to help you stay on track in your market — and avoid ending up in a cycle of customer-centric requests."
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