Jan – Product Manager

Jan has been regularly working for TalentFormation on various projects since 2011. Originally starting out as a frontend developer, he is now passionate about being a product manager and trainer for product discoveries.

Who are you and what do you do at TalentFormation ?
My name is Jan, I live with my family in Hamburg and I am currently in the role of Product Manager and Trainer.

What does TalentFormation mean to you?
Great jobs, expertise & community

What turning points did you have in your professional career and what were the triggers for them? Why did you decide the way you did in those situations?
The experience of leading a startup from grand vision to bankruptcy taught me humility and to finally think truly lean. Moving from the role of frontend engineer to product management opened up new activities and made me realize my generalism and enthusiasm for methods. The first and probably only quit with the realization that a dependent job in a traditional organization is not a path for me.

What made you decide to go into business for yourself?
I have been self-employed for ages (since 2003, at that time still besides my studies), apart from a short 3 year employment as PO.

What advantages / disadvantages do you see in self-employment?
Self-determination, independence, time for other important things, varied tasks.

What motivates you?
A strong team!

What sense do you see in your work?
To enable a meaningful strategy for both sides – customer & business – and its implementation.
To ensure the effectiveness of innovative projects by questioning and methodically inspiring.
Being a strong “firewall” for the always too many ideas & wishes of the stakeholders.

What do you love about your job?
Agile software development in a good team with clear roles.
Solving complex problems in a smart way.
Always trying out new methods.

What are you really good at? What do you always get positive feedback for? For which skills would others invite you? What would others ask you to do?
Consistently ship software “too early” to maximize learning: ship it! Always welcome anything new. I am open and direct and stand by decisions made. For a clear mindset: love the problem, not the solution.

What projects have you done for Talentformation?
Product: Breuninger, Frontlineshop, Lichtblick, Tchibo, Zurbrüggen
SEO: Breuninger, Kaufhof, Manufactum
Trainer: Fahrrad.de

What were your biggest learnings in the projects?
Working with business modeling according to Osterwalder gave me a lot of new insights.

In which projects did you feel you had to leave your comfort zone? Why? What did this change for you?
As a trainer, facilitating a larger group including executives was very uncomfortable for me at first. I was able to experience that repetition is really helpful here and that it gets easier over time. At Zurbrüggen, I was the PO responsible for a store relaunch, remotely. I then learned how to write emails properly. A remote setting is still very challenging for me today. I need the face2face team.

Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
As a better trainer for product discovery, because I derive the methods I teach even more consistently from my own successful projects. Walk the talk.