How did you come to work at Allovue?
Before Allovue, I worked in technology and created software for various companies. I came to Allovue through the former CTO who reached out to me when they were looking to hire for my position. I was a little hesitant initially to apply since I didn’t have any direct experience in education and my background is primarily in software project management and client services business management. But I took a chance and here I am, two years later.
Describe a day in the life of the Director of Product Management.
My day varies considerably from day-to-day, but I tend to start each morning by checking in with our developers to gauge their progress and offer any support required to help them to reach our product’s goals. I then talk to our Customer Success team to learn more about our customers’ desires, and I’ll pitch designs and ideas to solicit their feedback. I spend the bulk of my day prioritizing the feedback and requests received from our customers and staff around our software, Balance, and I get those tasks ready for action by the development team. I strategize around new feature requests and ideate on solutions for problems our customers experience by working closely with our Director of Design, Jake Mauer, our Director of Development, Paul Ostazeski, and Chief Product Officer, Jason Becker. I help to guide and maintain our feature development roadmap and software. Occasionally, I travel to interact with our customers directly to better understand their problems and the ways we can solve them.
It sounds like you have plenty to keep you busy during the day. With all that you’re responsible for, what would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?
I genuinely enjoy watching the faces of our customers when I meet them for trainings and meetings and seeing their eyes light up once they realize that our software is going to make their jobs so much easier! I admire our customers so much; the love and passion you have to have for students and the dedication these principals, administrators, superintendent’s, CFOs and others have for the students in their districts is undeniable. I’m sure at times it feels like a thankless job. But when they see that a company like Allovue, with a similar passion and dedication to seeing our students succeed, has not only heard their cries but has created a beautiful product to solve their problems, it can be a really moving experience. To know that I’m apart of a product that can ease the workload off those determined to see students thrive is a truly rewarding perk of my job.
What excites you most about your job?
I get to work with an incredibly talented and a close-knit group of developers who truly support one another and care about the quality of their work and our product. The passion they express for their work allows us to thoughtfully listen to concerns, implement valuable solutions, and see success in a tight-loop of feedback which is invigorating and makes our work feel meaningful.
What do you love most about Allovue?
I love that our success is measured by our ability to impact school districts, and that everyone here is incredibly driven by that purpose. Also, everyone at Allovue really embodies our five mindsets; simplicity, urgency, collaboration, initiative, and judgment in a way that is so uniquely them and it brings real value to the team.
Your role at Allovue allows you to work very closely with our software, Balance. What is your favorite Balance feature?
In anticipation of budget season, we’ve been working feverishly on our Balance Budget product, and we’ve made lots of improvements. My favorite feature right now is the “Approval Flow”. We put a lot of work and research into a system that is flexible to fit most patterns of budget approval without being restrictive or cumbersome. Even if your district doesn’t require a budget approver, or you have multiple budget approvers, or only one approver but multiple budget viewers, we can handle it. I also really like the hues we’ve used to represent the budget statuses across pages; I think it adds a nice pop of color and quickly and clearly communicates completeness to all parties involved. I’m proud of that work.
That sounds very thoughtfully executed! I’m sure our districts are happy to use that feature. What else are you most excited to accomplish in your role with Allovue this year?
I’m really excited to take our Balance Manage product to the next level and do some creative problem solving for principals over the next year. I can’t wait- it’s going to be great!
If money was not a consideration, how would you spend the rest of your life?
I’d donate a lot of money, and then buy a lot of land somewhere beautiful and create a compound of little houses. I’d invite my friends to all move there and we’d live in Maggieville, where pina coladas and gigabit ethernet flow freely. I’d probably also learn a lot of weird skills like butchery, how to fly planes and helicopters, how to use a loom, etc.
What is the greatest bit of advice a mentor has given you in your career? How have you used that advice today?
Be as nice to yourself as you are to others. I feel we all struggle to some degree with self-doubt but I believe self-care is very important and part of self-care is being kind to yourself. It’s easy to see the flaws in your own work, and strive for greatness, but when critiquing your own work, you should be as kind as you would be if you were critiquing a friend or coworker.
What is your mantra?
There are seven days in a week. Someday isn’t one of them.
Maggie’s skills and passion are part of what makes our Balance software a revolutionary product for our customers. We appreciate everything you do to help our customers, Maggie!
Got an idea or product question? Send it to Maggie at email@example.com