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Humans of Product: Carlie Love

By Leading The Product

Meet Carlie Love - a Product Owner at NAB’s Business Everyday Banking.

Carlie is a seasoned Product Owner whose journey began in graphic design and marketing strategy before finding their calling in product ownership. With over six years of experience, Carlie brings a unique blend of skills to the table, emphasising customer-centricity and collaboration. Let’s delve into Carlie’s insights on product ownership, its essential skills, challenges, and the path for aspiring product enthusiasts.

How did you get into product ownership and the defining moment that made you love your job?

I started my career as a graphic designer a very long time ago then moved into marketing strategy roles that were focused on creating customer segment propositions and experiences. I did this for a number of years across Australia Post, Medibank and then ANZ. The challenge was the roles sat separately to product and technology and this made it harder to deliver. Then ANZ as an organisation moved to Agile ways of working and it was there l got the opportunity to become a Product Owner around 6 years ago. I found my happy place. I love the accountability and ownership, working collaboratively with a cross skilled squad with business and technology skill sets, and using my passion for customers and their experiences. I’m always learning. 18 months ago l joined NAB Business Everyday Banking Team and it’s been incredibly rewarding taking an idea though design, build, test and delivery and then seeing and hearing how customers are using it.

What skills are most valuable?

  • Customer centricity and empathy – understanding customer needs, pain points and being the voice of the customer.
  • Communication – important to clearly communicate and adapt it to a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Prioritisation and decision making – being able to prioritise and make decisions quickly and effectively.
  • Creativity – using design thinking to create innovative solutions.
  • Problem solving – being able to identify issues and finding solutions.
  • Adaptability – things change quickly and there is a lot of context switching.

How would you describe product ownership and this industry to someone who has no idea what it is?

Product Owners link the business and customer with technology and delivery. The role identifies a customer problem or opportunity, work collaboratively to create a solution, communicate the strategy, vision and roadmap, the customer experience, what success looks like and what the team needs to achieve. Sets priorities, aligns stakeholders, and oversees that through to delivery.

What l love about the banking industry is the tension between what can be very complex, highly regulated industry with being innovative, making it simple and ensuring we help our customers manage their money safely.

What advice would you have for someone wanting to break into Product?

If you’re interested in understanding how to create and manage products, understanding customer needs, developing great experiences and have an interest in technology.  l’d look for opportunities in any of those areas to learn, put your hand up to be involved in any pilots, research or secondments and grow your experience.

What’s the biggest product challenge that you’ve overcome?

The biggest challenge for me was a new feature we recently delivered for our NAB Business Customers. The build touched many technology teams and the scope covered multiple customer types and channels. The scale meant there were daily roadblocks and co-ordinating that many teams was difficult. We got there but if we could have broken the work down smaller and earlier in the process it could have improved the success of an earlier delivery.

Tell us about a situation where things have failed and what did you learn?

Early on as a Product Owner l learnt how important it was to invest in rolling the change out extensively to frontline teams. Going beyond the standard communications and training. If they don’t understand it, or ‘buy into it’ or are not excited by it then it becomes so much harder to drive that change to our customers.

What’s your favourite product?

I love Canva App! Must be the graphic design background I have but this app has thousands of invitations, documents, video, social and logo design templates. It’s got a really nice mobile first, user-friendly interface and intuitive tools and a free version with lots of features.

What do you do in your in spare time?

I have 2 kids aged 7 and 10 that keep me busy, lots of weekend sports which l’m involved in with them. Our extended family live in Ocean Grove and we spend a lot of time down there during school holidays. I got a boogie board for Christmas, so I’ve been enjoy catching waves and recently started doing watercolour classes.

If you’re keen to meet more like-minded product folk, come and join us at LTP 2024!