Instaclustr Insights provide meaningful insights into team members’ work lives. This time it is Paul Aubrey, VP—Product Management, Instaclustr.
What does your role at Instaclustr entail?
The Product Management team that I lead is responsible for the development and maintenance of Instaclustr’s product roadmap. I took on the role early this year when we created the new team.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Let’s go with a typical week as it gives a better understanding of Product Management at Instaclustr.
Our team works closely with the Development Feature teams. We attend the daily standups to make sure we understand what the devs are working on and can help out when we need to make decisions about features, prioritize effort, and bring the perspective of the customer.
The Product Management team facilitates the prioritization of the ticket backlog. The backlog contains the tickets for all the pieces of work that have been identified. We help in taking tickets and turning them into meaningful things. These range from roadmap ideas for major new features, product enhancements, and bugs.
In the long term:
- We are responsible for planning the delivery of the product roadmap. In practice this is facilitated in our quarterly planning, development, and refining the overall product roadmap and coordinating delivery across our business areas.
- The team is always developing communications on Instaclustr’s offerings. This generally comes in the form of our blogs, whether it be a release blog for a new feature, or the deep dives that our Tech Evangelist Paul Brebner is responsible for.
- We are continually working with our customers, whether it is sharing our roadmap, understanding their plans and how we can help meet them, or working to deliver special features. The insights we gain from our customers are invaluable.
And your formal education followed in that path?
I have an engineering degree in Industrial Chemistry from UNSW. As part of my degree I spent 18 months working in industry prior to graduation. This helped me understand that I enjoyed the project management side of engineering more than the chemistry. Occasionally through my career I have been able to have intelligent conversations about pumps or laplace transforms but the foundation in problem solving and critical thinking have been invaluable.
How did you first get interested in what you want to pursue?
With my interest in project management I was receptive to the recruitment strategies of the large system integrators who were keen to recruit more broadly than IT and software engineering degrees. As a result I gained over 10 years of experience across the software development lifecycle and a number of industries. This has put me in good stead for a career as an IT professional.
When did you join Instaclustr—and why?
I joined Instaclustr late in 2017, how time flies! To be perfectly honest I joined Instaclustr as CPO Ben Slater asked me if I was interested in a change. Before joining Instaclustr I had worked with Ben for 7 or 8 years in a number of different settings. I was looking for a change and it was perfect timing. Working with good people is important to me so it was an easy decision.
What’s been your favorite part about Instaclustr since joining?
Instaclustr definitely has a brilliant team and culture that make it a great place to work, but you have probably heard this all before.
Instaclustr is an active member of the Canberra community and I really appreciate that. It helps that the company was founded here and we have strong ties to the Bush Capital. We have a close relationship with both University of Canberra (UC) and Australian National University (ANU). We take interns from both universities, present guest lectures, and employ casuals who are completing their degrees. We also support local businesses, like Swell Design for our branding along with local brewers and coffee roasters. This all combines to make it feel genuinely embedded in the Canberra community.
In your opinion, what makes someone a good fit to be in the Product Management Team
Unlike traditional Product Management teams, our team needs to be focused on the underlying technology. Our customers are predominantly developers so we need to be able to put ourselves in their shoes and understand the features that matter most to them. Added to that you need to be a great communicator and a handy project manager when it comes to coordinating a release.
*Photo Story: I’m a passionate cyclist, I have raced on road, mountain, and cyclocross bikes over the years. In recent years my young children have helped me rediscover my love for mountain biking. The photo is taken in Derby, Tasmania. If you have followed the EWS you would know all about Trouty! The riding in Canberra is amazing and I am super lucky to be able to commute through the beautiful trails on the National Arboretum.