In Conversation With Simon Berry, Senior Product Manager
Good ideas are nothing without great execution.
That’s why product management is so key to bringing a new-to-market concept like Prevayl to life.
Today, we’re speaking to someone who knows a thing or two about turning an idea into a product: Simon Berry is our Senior Product Manager, responsible for the speed and quality of the digital team's output to delivering a great digital product every time.
Q: Could you start by introducing yourself?
A: I’m Simon, Senior Product Manager, and I look after the digital team that designs and develops our digital products, like the Prevayl consumer app and platform.
Q: What's your background in product management?
A: I’ve been in product management for over 10 years – this is my fourth startup.
What I really enjoy about my job is the whole process of turning ideas into a new product and bringing them to market. Ultimately, one of the most important things for me is building products that are designed with the consumer in mind and that they really want to use.
Q: Can you give us a snapshot of what a normal day is like for you?
A: A normal day for me typically consists of catching up with the team to make sure everything is running smoothly for the current release, gearing up for the next release, and thinking about what’s going to happen for the next releases.
My main role is making sure the team have all the information they need – from the business, customers or any external source – for a decision to be made. I’ll make it if I can, otherwise I’ll consult the business. Essentially, I manage everyone’s priority – from the platform, the app, the quality assurance and the design team.
Q: Heading up the digital team, what’s one thing that you strive to achieve?
A: Speed to market with a really good balance of product quality. In other words, getting something out that’s new with a really, really high level of quality... and at speed.
That’s the best part about working at a startup like Prevayl, there’s not a lot of red tape and you can get an idea and run with it quite quickly to get it out there.
Q: How has your work impacted the business?
A: By putting structure in the team which has enabled us to move to market faster. Having certain processes in place means everyone understands what we’re building at all times, and it gives them a clearer vision of what the outcome is and what they’re working towards.
Q: So far, what’s your proudest achievement at Prevayl?
A: I really liked the process we went through to create FitnessCheck – a feature in the Prevayl app designed to measure a user’s level of fitness by getting their maximum heart rate (MHR) and heart rate recovery (HRR).
To start with, we observed George (Testing and Gym Manager) working with our team of testers using some rough screens of the feature with the end goal of getting the testers to hit their MHR. We observed the way George would interact with the testers in a workout to guide them through all the stages that built them up to their MHR.
Then, we slowly took George out of the picture whilst maintaining that level of communication through the screens. Eventually, after tweaking the wording and changing the design many times, we got to a point where we had the information to build a working product, which we did. We know it works because we’ve been monitoring the data and we can see that users are achieving higher heart rates than our calculated maximums.
From starting to getting it into the hands of consumer, it was a three- to four-months process. I’m super proud of it, because it’s not an easy thing to get someone to their MHR without someone present egging you on, but also because this feature gives the ability to improve the accuracy of the data we offer to the user. And none of this would have been possible without Dan, our Senior Digital Product Designer.
Q: What’s next? What are you and the team currently working on?
A: We’re currently rebuilding the Bluetooth connection from the ground up for both iOS and Android to give users a better experience when using the Prevayl app. And we’re working on improving the onboarding journey to create a more guided process which helps users prepare for their activities – like how to connect to the Sensor, how the garment should fit, etc. It’s nice to have the time to revisit something that’s so crucial to the user experience.
Q: Sounds like you have a busy few months ahead... What’s your favourite part in all of this?
A: The people. We all share the same goals; we all want to create an amazing set of products people want to use, and that means we have opinions and we discuss those opinions openly. Here, you can bring passion to the table and people respect it – I like that.
Q: Finally, just for fun, can you tell us a random fact about yourself?
A: I’m the Chairman of the MK1 Golf Owners Club, which I’ve been part of since 2007.