Product Management All-Star: 6 Questions With Jessica Groff
We have the best job in the world — Aha! builds software for software builders. And we are connected with people you should know. These are the folks who are building what is next for customers around the world. So we are asking exceptional product managers who are shaping the future to share their knowledge with you.
Jessica Groff loves empowering others to achieve. She is currently the Executive Director of Product at Keller Williams, where she oversees consumer products, as well as industry tools for real estate agents. Based in Austin, Texas, Jessica has more than 13 years of software experience. When she is not building product, Jessica loves fishing, mountain biking, playing golf, and searching for the best breakfast taco.
When did you learn product management existed?
"I was 22 when I got my first job in software. I was doing product marketing and working alongside product managers. I loved partnering with them to create new products and bring customer experiences to market."
What was your first product job?
"I was a founding team member of an early-stage startup in Austin. When you have fewer than 10 employees, you do a little bit of everything. I fell into a product management role there and eventually became Head of Product."
What is the most important trait for a product manager?
"The most important trait I look for in product managers is intense curiosity. There are so many skills you can teach, but inherent curiosity is one of the things I think either comes naturally or it does not. Someone who loves understanding how all the pieces fit together in a product, in a company, and in an industry can bring unique insights to the role."
What would you recommend a new product manager not do?
"Never stop learning. Always continue to learn about your technology, your user’s needs, your sales challenges, your business model. And just when you think you have learned it all, ask again because there is likely something that has changed in one or all of those areas."
If product management had a slogan, what would it be?
"Have a plan, plan for it to change, and then adapt and create a new plan."
What will change most about managing products in 2030?
"I think the industry is maturing. You see product certifications and even degree paths at some universities now. Product managers are connecting more and learning from each other. We have purpose-built tools like Aha! Roadmaps that help us capture ideas from users, plan, and roadmap — then surface all of that to the business so they can stay in the know and see how the work we are doing is connected to our strategy. None of that existed when I first got into product. I felt like we were figuring it out as we went. It is exciting to see businesses and industries see the value in a strong product team and invest in those areas."
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