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Humans of Product: Jeremiah Byrnes

By Leading The Product

Meet Jeremiah Byrnes, Product Owner, Personal Everyday Banking at NAB. Jeremiah’s 15-year career has thus far spanned banking, higher education and not-for-profit sectors.

How did you get into Product Ownership?

I worked as a Change Manager at NAB for 3 years, which involved close partnership with Product Owners who were developing new products. That gave me a close look at how interesting and influential the Product Owner role was. It was great supporting Product Owners, but I became increasingly keen to become one! I’m now a Product Owner in Cards, ensuring NAB is ready for changes from our Scheme partners like Visa.

What skills are the most valuable?

Empathy, critical thinking, decision making, influence and communication.

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

Developing and prioritising the future development of a product or service with the customer need/value as the highest consideration. Banking is a highly-regulated industry where we deal with a very important and sensitive matter (the money of our customers!), so the stakes are high and there are a few more constraints than in some other industries.

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

Take an interest in the products you use in your everyday life. Take an interest in the products prominent in your target organisation/industry. Commit to understanding the joys and frustrations faced by customers. Develop the ability to understand what is at the root of those opportunities and become confident to make decisions that improve things for the customer.

Do you have a defining moment in your career, or one that really made you love your job?

While I love the planned changes that we make, I also get involved in some responses to customer problems. There have been several occasions where I’ve been able to join in on an urgent customer response, make sure their interests are considered, and partner with others to get a quick solution. It’s really satisfying to see a customer problem get resolved quickly!

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

The product I own is extremely technical. Although my job is about the customer, I need enough technical literacy to partner with technology teams to understand what is causing problems and to make decisions about appropriate solutions. Early on, the level of technical detail was overwhelming. I got good at asking for simple customer-centric explanations, while also developing my technical understanding.

Has there been a situation where things have failed? What did you learn from that?

I implemented a change that had an unexpected impact. I learnt the value of paying attention and responding very quickly with critical questions, rather than waiting. I also learnt that even when you prepare a change carefully, things can still go wrong. It’s important to keep making decisions and acting – don’t let failure paralyse you.

What’s your favourite product?

MJ Bale clothing. Their brand and garments demonstrate a consistent understanding of their customer identity, style, interest, aspiration etc.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Snorkelling, drawing, watching movies with my family, podcasting/YouTubing, volunteering with my church.

Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

Leading a team of Product Owners.

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