This International Women’s Day, we wanted to celebrate by sharing some of the inspiring stories behind the women who work here at Vodafone. We spoke to Jessica Kyte, Head of Product, including Neo, the Smart Kids Watch. She takes us through the joys and challenges of working in Product as well as advice for those interested in Product Management. Building solutions and evolving products for Vodafone customers is central to her role and we loved hearing about her outlook on the endless possibilities at Vodafone. Let’s discover her story.
Please tell us a little about you and your role?
I’ve been working in product for over 10 years now and have been fortunate to have a number of exciting experiences and opportunities along the way. At its most simple definition, product management is about creating amazing products that solve real customer problems. Every product we develop at Vodafone Smart Tech is based on extensive conversations with customers to find out what matters to them and how we can help them in their day to day lives. My role, along with the rest of the product team, is to find out what that is and then design products that solve those needs.
How did you get into product management?
At the start of my career, I was on a graduate training programme that saw me working closely alongside product managers on a daily basis. I was immediately drawn to what I saw – getting to talk to real people, getting to understand their problems and needs, and creating design solutions that could genuinely make a difference to them. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to follow through on that interest with a move into a product management role and I’ve never looked back.
What are you most proud of in your career?
When you see a product that you’ve had a part in designing in the hands of real users, and you see it have a positive impact on them and their lives, the feeling of pride and happiness is huge. Knowing that you’ve made a real difference. I’ve been lucky to experience that at various points during my career and it’s a feeling that never gets old.
What have been some unique challenges you have faced as Head of Product at Vodafone Smart Tech?
When we’re designing a product we keep the customer at the heart of every product decision along the way.
This can set us up for some challenges, especially in a tech environment. At Vodafone, we try to balance the moving parts, capabilities of the tech, affordability, and timescales against those real-world needs we’re looking to answer to.
Not just in terms of the usability of the product but also in the look and feel. We’re constantly pushing the boundaries of the design so that we can deliver the best possible solution to users which certainly keeps things interesting.
I’d also say, it’s knowing the product is never finished! From the moment a product goes out the door to users, there is always a roadmap of things we’re itching to deliver to enhance, add, and improve the design. We want to keep evolving each product throughout its lifecycle to continually answer user needs and delight our customers. We have to challenge ourselves to make sure that we never take our eye off of that fact.
Why are Vodafone uniquely placed to lead in smart tech devices?
Vodafone has a rich suite of capabilities which put us incredibly well placed to deliver amazing product solutions. Not only in terms of the technical capabilities but also its operations, stores, global reach etc. Vodafone is uniquely placed in its ability to leverage such a range of different, powerful assets to enable true end to end design and experience that is market-leading.
Advice for those who want to get into product management?
I’ve said before and still believe, it takes a range of personalities to make up a great product management team. Having people from different backgrounds, experiences, and interests helps us to be better at digging into the needs of users and having unique perspectives on how we can solve those needs. So if you’re someone who is truly customer-obsessed and want to make a positive difference to people then don’t be afraid to explore product management.
Want to learn more about women in tech at Vodafone?
Discover our Women in Tech interview series:
If you would like to learn more about roles in roles at Vodafone please don’t hesitate to have a look at our careers page or get in touch. You can also look at our career advice for women looking to start out, progress or lead in tech.