Ever wanted to know more about life at Local Measure? In our new blog series, we interview members of our team to give you a glimpse into our people, our culture, and the projects we’re working on.
In our first edition, we chat with our Chief Product & Technology Officer, Hannah Milborrow. Hannah has been with us since 2018 and in the words of our CEO, Jonathan Barouch, she’s “fearless, forward-thinking and savvy”.
Tell us about your career journey? How did you become the Chief Product & Technology Officer of Local Measure?
I have a Computer Science degree from the University of Sydney and an MBA from La Trobe University in Melbourne. I began my career in Engineering roles and then moved into Product Management because I really liked the intersection of technology, business and solving customer problems. I’ve worked for global start ups and large tech companies across a range of industries including travel technology, fashion e-commerce, IT service management and due diligence software. Essentially, I’ve always looked for companies that have an interesting problem to solve, a growth mindset and great company culture. Local Measure ticked all the boxes back in 2018 when I began, and it still does today. I’m working with great people to build great products, and that is really inspiring.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Every day is different. One minute I might be involved in high level strategy work and the next minute I can be in the thick of it, helping my team resolve technical issues. I love this about my role. From strategy meetings to customer interviews, it’s a real mix. As a team, our job is to build a great product that solves a real problem for our customers. We use all the fun new tech, but we’re driven by an underlying principle of delivering value. I work closely with our customers and partners on a daily basis, involving them in every step of the process to ensure we deliver this value.
On a personal level, I make sure I get out for a run each day too. This has become particularly important to me since we began working from home last year, so somewhere in between all the zoom meetings, I get out for some fresh air and exercise.
"Local Measure is a team of amazing, talented, and capable people all trusted to do the right thing. I get to work with smart and passionate people to build a great product, and for that reason alone, I love going to work each day."
How did things change for you and your team last year?
It was certainly a year of change. As a global business we already had a remote team but the majority of us worked together in our head office in Sydney. Our working style had been very face to face and collaborative, so it was a matter of getting serious about working asynchronously. I tried really hard to maintain the human element within our team. Our daily stand ups were done using video, and our fortnightly Friday sprint retros were done with afternoon drinks.
We were moving fast, building new products, on new technology, for a new market. And for many of us, we were doing this while juggling the responsibility of kids in the background too. We had to adapt in all kinds of ways. One challenge in particular was that it became much harder for us to speak with customers. At Local Measure, we include our customers in as much of the product lifecycle as possible. But the impact of last year meant that many customers went quiet. We couldn’t validate ideas, do beta testing, or trial new product features as easily as we had before. This was really unnerving, particularly when building a brand new product. So in order to understand our contact center customers better, we simulated a customer situation and lived the agent experience, answering customer calls and messages like a regular call center. What a great learning experience for us! Contact center agents are truly phenomenal and by living in their shoes, we have a much greater appreciation for their workload, daily frustrations and incredible amount of patience. Looking after customers, and often unhappy ones, is no easy task. That gave us real insight and focus for designing Engage for Amazon Connect - our leading cloud contact center solution.
What were the challenges from last year and positive outcomes you’ll take forward?
Last year brought challenges I hadn’t expected. My team working too much, night and day, and even on the weekends, was one of them. Without the casual conversations and breaks offered by the office environment, there was a real potential for burnout. Physical and mental health became really apparent. Our leadership team spoke about it regularly, making sure the health and wellbeing of our people was top of mind. And for me personally, it’s something I’ll continue to prioritize moving forward. You have to pay attention and be aware, because a lot of it can be hidden. When you’re only communicating via laptop screens, it’s easy to miss the cues. Moving forward, I think it’s critical that businesses make more time for people and their families. Personally, I’ll be checking in on the welfare of my team more often, encouraging them to take more breaks, and generally communicating more. I’ve always been a big believer in hiring great people and trusting them, and I’ll definitely continue to work by this principle.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the people. Local Measure is a team of amazing, talented, and capable people all trusted to do the right thing. I get to work with smart and passionate people to build a great product, and for that reason alone, I love going to work each day.
Working in the contact center space is fascinating too and it’s really exciting to be disrupting the incumbent tech by building an innovative solution that gives businesses an efficient and convenient solution for managing customer support. It’s an evolving landscape, full of opportunities and challenges, and that’s really exciting.
"There are so many career opportunities within technology - engineers can become product managers, business analysts become data scientists. It’s a fluid industry with lots of room for growth and change, so don’t be afraid to put your hand up and give something a go."
What’s something you’re working on right now? And what’s the next big thing you’re most excited about?
Right now, we’re in the midst of a product re-architecture and user interface update. We have, and always will, prioritize our product health and resilience, making sure function and form complement each other. There’s nothing more important than keeping our product innovative and functional if we truly want our customers to succeed, so committing the time to conduct updates is critical. The new look and feel will be launching soon and it’s even more intuitive than before. I’m really looking forward to this release.
What’s coming up… I can’t give it all away just yet but we’re focusing even more on the contact center agents, giving them the contextual information they need to do their job better, and deliver exceptional, memorable customer experiences. CX is a massive brand differentiator in today’s world and we’re excited to help our customers do it better. Keep an eye on our blog for more news on this soon.
What resources do you follow to stay on top of new innovations, emerging trends and industry news?
Like most, I follow blogs, participate in webinars and listen to podcasts. But I also really enjoy networking and attending events, and all that went quiet last year. Remote networking just didn’t hit the mark for me. But just the other week I had an opportunity to attend a real life event - with food, drinks and real people. They’re launching the Product Managers Association of Australia and they invited industry leaders to join a roundtable discussion in preparation for the launch. It was a real honour to be invited, and I’m excited to be part of the association moving forward.
What advice would you give to the next generation looking to pursue a career in tech?
If I could give advice to my younger self, it would be to get out there and give something a go. Don’t get stuck in studying without trying to get some life experience. There are so many career opportunities within technology - engineers can become product managers, business analysts become data scientists. It’s a fluid industry with lots of room for growth and change, so don’t be afraid to put your hand up and give something a go. Tech has become a whole lot more humanized. Get a mentor to guide you, say yes to opportunities and see where it takes you.
What’s one piece of tech can’t you live without?
Strava. It’s my favorite app and was a lifesaver through last year. It’s an app for runners and cyclists, helping track your results, celebrate your achievements and keep you accountable - all via a community of like-minded people. It really appeals to my goal-oriented and competitive nature. And from a tech perspective, they’ve solved a great customer problem and they continue to evolve the product to meet customer needs. I’m on track for a half marathon in June!
Interested in a career with Local Measure? Find out more here.