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A day in the life of: A Piriform product manager

Here at Piriform, making products our users love is at the heart of everything we do and it’s the responsibility of our product managers to keep it that way! They research customer needs, analyze data, plan the future of our products and then ensure our development roadmap is filtered effectively through the necessary departments, so that every area of the business is aligned with our common goal: ‘to simplify the tasks of looking after your devices, by developing software tools that fix real world problems’.

With that in mind, we wanted to know more about a day in the life of one of our product managers, Charlie Masters.

What time does your alarm go off?

My alarm goes off at 7am and my first priority is to set myself up for the day with a good breakfast (some kind of eggs usually does the trick!). As I live in Central London, I walk to work which takes about 20 minutes and on arrival, I make a coffee and grab a banana from the Piriform fruit bowl (need to make doubly sure I’m ready for the day!).

What are your main responsibilities?

I look after CCleaner Cloud, which is the cloud-based version of CCleaner. My main responsibility is to make sure we are developing a product that solves our users’ problems. To get this right, I manage our customer insight programme to make sure we are talking to businesses and consumers in the right way. I also make sure that our internal communications are all aligned. It’s my job to make sure our design, marketing, development, QA, support and operations departments are communicating properly so we’re able to achieve the best we can for our users.

What does a typical day entail?

The first thing I do every day is check my emails and catch up on any questions, which typically come from customers or our sales team. Next, I have a stand up (which is our name for a quick team meeting) and then spend a good hour or two refining our backlog of product tasks in JIRA (where technical tasks are stored) and ProdPad (where customer feedback and ideas are stored). I prioritize these tasks and get them onto our product roadmap.
At lunchtime I wander up to Mornington Crescent and get some lunch from a local café, or sometimes we go out for lunch together or bring it back to the office, where we socialize and talk about our own interests like crypto-currencies!
In the afternoon, I might sit down with UX and design to discuss product prototypes and how we’ll conduct user testing, using rapid prototyping tools or video conferencing.

Did you always want to work in tech? How did you get involved?

At 13 I built a computer, then I did really well at SAT and GCSE-level ICT which resulted in me getting a diploma, so decided to do a Computer Science degree. I naturally liked and understood most techy things and wanted a job which allowed me to nurture this interest and work with lots of people. My role at Piriform combines both these things.
I joined Piriform as I wanted to work in a growing company with a good company culture. It took me about 6 months to work my way up from quite an umbrella role (where I worked on products, in operations and with development) to being a full-time product manager.

What’s been your biggest achievement at Piriform?

Releasing CCleaner Cloud v1.06, which was a big version update. We originally thought we might go down the native app route but then decided to make the website so responsive you can perform all actions using your browser – on any device. We turned CCleaner Cloud into something usable, beautiful and scalable; it’s built for the future. A big redesign and refactor project means we’ve paved the way for some continual UX development, as it has allowed us to deploy iterations quickly and smoothly.

Why the focus on cloud-based cleaning?

While traditionally our CCleaner user base has been desktop-based, we believe that decentralized cleaning management is more appealing to today’s more flexible workforces, particularly in the case of smaller-sized businesses. Nowadays, remote working is commonplace. IT want to do their job without being in front of someone’s computer – whether that’s collectively maintaining and installing software to machines or getting to the route of a problem at an individual level.

What is the worst part of your job?

Having to categorize pieces of technical debt! It’s quite a boring task but extremely necessary for the future success of the platform. Any company who wants to futureproof themselves has to stay on top of it.

What is the best part of your job?

I really enjoy working with so many different kinds of thinkers - marketers, developers and operations all approach a project differently. I also love being part of a workforce which celebrates diversity. Pride London recently asked me to complete a survey about being LGBTI+ in the workplace and I was pleased to answer every single question positively; it’s never been an issue. But above all, the best part of my job is when a customer says to us ‘this is a really great product, well done’. I love being part of building a product that customers love.

What are your hobbies outside of the job?

I’m quite an active person so enjoy going to the gym and yoga. As I’m interested in the tech scene outside of work, I regularly attend the Intertech LGBT Diversity Forum and ProductTank. To properly chill out I go to parks with friends and eat and drink at nice pubs.

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