Agile and customer-focused, Product Managers are reinventing their profession - News Cardif Lab - Corporate
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Agile and customer-focused, Product Managers are reinventing their profession

11 April 2019

 

Data, artificial intelligence, robotized processes, customer expectations... The world of work is undergoing a profound transformation. To anticipate these changes and turn them into opportunities, BNP Paribas Cardif has implemented a strategic process seeking to identify the jobs of tomorrow and to support employees in their development: Strategic Workforce Planning.

 

"We have already implemented a training programme called "Skill Up'", with our partner General Assembly, focusing on up-skilling and re-skilling. Methods are changing very fast to stay close to customers’ needs in the marketing and product development professions in particular. What we call ‘agile’* methods, which are customer-centric, are at the heart of our Product Management training programme,” adds Nathalie Doré, head of acceleration and digital expertise.

 

“As part of our determination to contribute to the changes in our professions, we want to offer all our employees the possibility to continuously acquire new skills.Technological transformations are having a genuine impact on jobs today, especially, for instance, on Product Managers, who are tasked with designing new products, guaranteeing the best technical and design aspects” explains Sophie Joyat, Human Resources Director. 

 

Olivier Demarine, Marketing Product Manager, and Zoé Cazalet, Analytics Manager, give us their feedback on this training programme.

 

Why did you take part in the Product Management training programme?

 

Olivier Demarine: I work in the BNP Paribas Cardif Marketing department and I’m responsible for designing loan insurance products for our various partners. A year ago, I had the opportunity to contribute to the development of Minalea, a tool for customer advisors in BNP Paribas branches. Product Management training would have helped me in the development of the tool. But now, it will help me imagine other developments and adaptations for our various partners.

 

Zoé Cazalet: I am an Analytics Manager. My role is to acclimatize the company to the challenges of analytics. I identify needs within Compliance and France Customer Service, and I help them improve their operational efficiency thanks to the use of data science. I was going to start a project as part of the Fast Lab (full-time secondment for designing new products in 3 months) as a Product Owner. This is why I have been given the chance to take part in Product Management training. It was good timing!

 

What form does the training take in practice?

 

O.D.: The programme runs over five very dense days. We work in small groups of 3 or 4, made up of people from different departments and countries, on a common topic. In my group, the idea was to produce a clothes try-on application in order to improve customer experience. Between theory and practice, the sessions are rich. The project begins on the first day and ends with the presentation of models of the applications.

 

Z.C.: My group worked on designing a car parking application that could be integrated in Waze. The project is a strand running through the whole week. Of course there’s a theoretical component, covering the roles of product manager, scrum master*, agile coach*, and so on. But the practical side is very important: customer interviews, definition of personae*, competitiveness studies , definition of product features, and so on.

 

What benefits have you drawn from the training?

 

O.D.: A rich catalogue of methodologies, techniques of conceptualization, immersion in digital culture… Having a methodology focused on design, in particular, is really useful to me in order to look at product design projects in a different way. The training completed and validated my culture, allowing me to construct products in a new way.

 

Z.C.: I was going to be Product Owner on a project, as I already had been earlier this year on another project. But I had learned all I knew through “doing”. This training programme enabled me to refine and sort out my ideas. I learned to direct an agile project accurately, using the right tools.

 

Would you recommend other people to take part in this training?

 

O.D.: Yes, I would. I think it would be useful for many people. Even if it’s only for the opportunity to work in another culture, using digital methodologies. Especially as it’s very concrete, and very exciting, and it gets you closer to the field, to the basics: it reminds you that you really do have to put customers at the centre.

 

Z.C.: I would definitely recommend it. And I would encourage all the Product Owners in “season 2’ of the Fast Lab, which will start in March, to do it. On a more general level, it will be useful for everyone launching a project that has to be delivered fast, using agile methods… It’s a training programme that applies to a lot of professions. The trainers are clear, they’re very good teachers. It makes me want to take part in other ones!

 

Does this training inspire another way of working… perhaps a change of profession?

 

O.D.: In terms of tools as much as mindset, it’s a mine of discovery and inspiration, showing you can work in a different way, more agilely, and go quicker. And, you’re right, it has almost made me want to change my function and join the innovation team!

 

Z.C.: I’m still motivated to learn new things and the company is changing… So if there are opportunities to go further in agile methods, count me in!

 

 

*Agile method: Methodology aiming to place the customer’s needs at the centre of the project’s priorities. It is more flexible, and allows excellent interactions and privileged relations between the customer and the project team.

*Scrum master: Manages the information and ensures that the project is understood within the agile team. He or she organizes the team, helping it to identify solutions and avoid various obstacles.

*Agile coach: Trains and advises the various members of the agile team on the good practices to adopt on the project. Coordinates and directs projects and acts as a trainer.

*Personae: Characters invented in order to imagine and represent a target segment as part of a project, particularly during the design phase of a new product or service.