Meet Anna Elemes, one of Fitted’s outstanding Product Owners! Anna is a coordination wizard and exceptional leader on our team. We got the opportunity to ask Anna about her Fitted product ownership – including what it takes to bring a product from concept to launch. Read all about her passion for product!
How would you explain Product Management to a stranger?
Product management is a function that guides every step of a product’s lifecycle through strategic development and execution — our team takes concepts that were once just a vision and work alongside the engineering team to make them a reality.
Can you provide a high-level overview of the Fitted products you own?
When I first joined the Fitted team, the main product we supported was our eCommerce solution. Monte walked me through his vision for the portal experiences, and we got to work! Since arriving at Fitted, I’ve run all the product development and execution for our Ordering + Payments platforms that we use today – Retailer Portal, Brand Portal, and Admin Portal. Each of these innovative, industry-first platforms comes with various features that we continue to enhance along with building completely new features.
Take me through how you manage a feature to conception launch.
At a high level, every product has the same steps from conception to launch. First, we understand the “why” of what we want to implement. Gaining an understanding of the customer experience and the deep need or pain point they are facing drives our team’s first steps. It crafts our list of “requirements” that we work closely with the engineering team to map into a technical path toward execution. Our team ensures the resources, timing, and breakdown of tasks are defined and handed off to our development experts to execute. We take a series of steps within the execution phase, most importantly assessing production readiness once the development is complete. We ask ourselves, ‘Is this product intuitive? Have we tested every exhaustive scenario to “break” our product in ways we think a user could and fix those issues? What is the level of risk of releasing this? What is the best time to release it? Rollout speed? Does it require a certain level of monitoring? Once this is released, how are we tracking the product’s KPIs?’ This list continues… but you’re catching on to the series of thoughts we take in each deployment.
Where do ideas for new features come from?
Quite literally, anywhere! At Fitted, we balance many different areas – the two most significant areas are our Fitted vision (crafted with many “versions/paths to take” based on a core idea) and user feedback. We love innovating our software in ways the industry has never seen before but balance it with an easily adoptable platform that still feels familiar and intuitive to a user – going too extreme in one direction could discourage adoption, so we take steps every day towards the ultimate vision we have.
If I spoke to your team, what is one word they would use to describe you?
Wow – I should ask them! I guess they would say organized or an expert in coordination. In a team, you need someone to help carry the heaviness and barriers blocking folks from performing at their best. In many ways, I ensure they always have what they need to perform at their absolute best, and we maximize their efficiency. Blending speed to market and product quality is crucial for us, so I always want to strive to be the person that allows that to happen for them.
How often are new features released? Can you speak on a few of the most recently released features?
We always make sure there is minimal downtime in our releases. We are releasing code about three to five times a week right now – sometimes these releases are customer-facing, and other times they are internal only. Each of these releases ultimately help us improve the customer experience.
Recent releases have been focused on our Payments Platform, and many of those releases have been optimizations within that space. We’ve built a great foundation and are now nurturing and expanding as our adoption continues to rise rapidly. Some areas include more granular statutes shown within a Retailer’s order, exportable invoice options, launching a portal experience dedicated to Brands, and internal tools to help our team support any customer questions or launch that approach. We are beyond excited to show the industry what we are releasing next… but I’ll keep that one more of a surprise.
What has been the most successful product release of your career?
Quite honestly, it was our Payments Platform that we launched on June 29, 2022. The planning and development were among the fastest, most intense products I’ve ever pushed through production alongside an incredible team. We spent many nights until 3-4 AM making sure we perfected our release for customers. This product launch showed true teamwork, innovation, perseverance, and passion for putting something out in the world that this industry hasn’t accomplished before. I loved being a part of this historical chapter at Fitted.
Tell me about a time when you had to change a priority while a sprint was in progress.
Dare I say… yesterday? In all seriousness, this happens. You always want to minimize shifts, but we must make ourselves flexible. We are building something completely new, and changes need to be made for a product to be great.
As a product owner, how do you keep a project moving despite varying opinions and requests?
The trick to this is iterating. We aim to release every product in versions that can always be optimized or changed as we continuously receive feedback. So, you focus on specific use cases that allow users to experience a product in ways that support their needs and let it evolve from there. If we tried to implement something so all-encompassing right away, it would take months before it was ready, and by the time it was prepared, it wouldn’t be what the user wanted anymore.
What is your favorite part of being a Product Owner at Fitted?
100% the team. I’d be nothing without them. I work with the absolute best people – across every department – and they inspire me daily to think differently and challenge the status quo as we develop incredible products.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
Well, I am not as mobile nowadays so right now I am loving house projects. I love home decor and designing new spaces. Since we just moved, there is a lot for me to do while I am on maternity leave.
How excited are you to be expanding your family soon?
We are ridiculously excited and terrified all at once. I am such a planner but this is something in life I can’t plan! We can’t wait to meet our little girl and love on her endlessly. I already know she’s going to be the coolest kid (totally not biased).