Meet Sander: never deterred from delving into new complex topics to ensure that every digital product is a success. What keeps him engaged, challenged and motivated as a product manager at Craftzing?
How do you explain your job to your friends and family?
In short: as a product manager, I translate the vision of stakeholders into a successful product. Like the Mijn Burgerprofiel app, a digital product for the government of Flanders. My goal is to create a running product, set priorities and follow up on current tracks to make sure the app evolves in the right direction and within the predetermined time frame and budget.
Which recent project do you remember most and why?
The Mijn Burgerprofiel app for the Flemish Government. This app allows citizens to access all Flemish and local government services via one single digital counter. A very extensive project in collaboration with Digitaal Vlaanderen and other external partners, that we worked on from digital strategy to development. Moreover, we went from idea to concept to finished product in only six months time.
What are typical challenges you face as a product manager?
Mainly stakeholder management. There are always a lot of parties involved when creating a digital product. It’s my job to make sure that everyone is on the same page. All parties need to be convinced of the predefined vision of the product and there are decisions that need to be made to maintain this vision and achieve the objectives.
To make a product a success, you need sufficient domain and industry knowledge. But you also need to be a strong communicator, who can make complex matters clear and understandable for all stakeholders.
What qualities should a good product manager have?
To make a product a success, you need sufficient domain and industry knowledge. If you're working on a product in the financial, public or entertainment industry, you obviously have to know a thing or two about that industry. You have to be eager to learn, and delving into unknown territory should not deter you.
But communication is also a very important part of my job. I am the central point of contact for all parties that are involved in creating a digital solution: the client, strategists, UX and UI designers, software engineers, but also lawyers and financial experts. This means that I need sufficient knowledge about all these topics to understand and justify why certain decisions are made. Moreover, I must be able to communicate this complex matter in a clear and understandable way to all stakeholders.
What do you value most in your job?
Above all, I need to be challenged to stay motivated. When a project is rather complex, finding solutions gives me all the more satisfaction. Fortunately, everyone at Craftzing shares this motivation and attitude. We are a group of experts for whom no challenge is too crazy. That's a core principle of the Craftzing DNA, as our CEO once described.
When a complex project, like Mijn Burgerprofiel, is successfully launched and resonates with a wide audience, this gives me an enormous boost.
I also like that there's a lot of variety in my role as product manager. I follow up projects from A to Z and am involved in all the different phases: from strategy to delivery. When a project is successfully launched and resonates with a wide audience, like the Mijn Burgerprofiel app, that of course gives me an enormous boost.
How do you keep your knowledge up to date?
Within Craftzing, we work with CoEs. Also known as "Centers of Excellence”. During these CoE meetings we share information, knowledge, experiences, methodologies, tips, and so on. It's very valuable that we can learn so much from each other. Furthermore, I'm curious by nature, so it's always a pleasure for me to delve into new topics.
What energizes you outside of work?
When my favorite bands have another concert, I'm the first to buy tickets. Besides enjoying a good concert, I'm also up for other cultural outings like a museum visit or a theater performance. Last but not least, I love traveling: short weekend trips close by or long trips far away. For example, we’ve planned a trip to South Korea in 2023. I'm looking very much forward to that!