Product Management All-Star: 6 Questions With Laura Owusu-Antwi
April 29, 2022

Product Management All-Star: 6 Questions With Laura Owusu-Antwi

by Aha!

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.

Laura Owusu-Antwi is a director of product operations at Frontline Education. Based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, she has over 20 years of experience working in software with 10 years dedicated to product management. In her current role, Laura guides a product team that manages more than 30 products for K-12 administrators. A bright and energetic leader, Laura works hard to equip the team with the data, processes, and skills they need to effectively manage their product portfolio.

Outside of work, Laura enjoys cheering on her kids with her husband at soccer games and dance performances. She also loves reading, yoga, volleyball, and cooking plant-based meals.

When did you learn product management existed?

"My second job after college involved conducting software training and sales demonstrations for business continuity software. In that role, I frequently interacted with the product team — collaborating on client feedback, preparing for product releases, and responding to RFPs. It was a valuable opportunity to work with the team that was driving the product direction."

What was your first product job?

"I got tired of being on the 'receiving end' of product decisions and wanted to play a more active role. But I had to make some hard career choices — I was in a director-level role and ultimately had to take a demotion to join the product team. But it is a decision I never regret. I encourage everyone to not let titles and ego get in the way of following your career goals.

As a senior business analyst on a newly established product team, I was able to build a brand new product from the ground up. I collaborated with our users, UX team, and development team to translate requirements into working software. We also conducted usability studies to validate our approach before writing any code."

What is the most important trait for a product manager?

"There are so many. If I had to pick one trait, it would be the ability to ruthlessly prioritize. With all the competing priorities and different inputs into what we build, the ability to decide what to do next — and why — is a key trait of a strong product leader."

What would you recommend a new product manager not do?

"Do not think you know everything. Building great products is about listening — to the market, the end-user, and everything in between. We have to listen, prioritize, and respond with solutions that make an impact for both our business and our users.

I would also remind new product managers to stay curious. Do not forget what brought you to the position in the first place. If you were a domain expert, keep it up. If you were passionate about engaging with users, keep it up. Product management can pull you in many directions — but staying curious and remembering why you started will help you avoid assuming that you know all the answers."

If product management had a slogan, what would it be?

"We solve problems — what do you do?"

What will change most about managing products in the next decade?

"With the rapid rate of change in technology, the way we discover and build solutions is bound to be tremendously different than today. A colleague of mine was recently using virtual reality tools in a meeting and collaborating with a teammate in the 'meta-verse'. I cannot even begin to comprehend how products will change the ways we interact with users across the globe in 2030."

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