We're so thankful to team up with globally recognized speakers, and this year we made it again. Nesrine Changuel, a seasoned Product Advisor and Coach who's worked with major players like Google, Spotify, and Microsoft, will be our Product World Stage speaker. Curious to learn more about Nesrine? Dive into our exclusive interview where she shares insights into her career and experiences.
- Who is Nesrine?
I work as a product advisor and coach, entirely focused on assisting product professionals in creating successful and loved human-centred products. With over a decade of experience, I've held senior product management roles at Google, Spotify, and Microsoft. I've overseen prominent consumer products such as Chrome, Meet, Spotify, and Skype.
I'm also a product speaker and lecturer, covering various product management topics at multiple events.
- As a Senior Product Manager at Google, every day must bring new challenges for you. Could you walk us through a typical day in your role and the responsibilities that keep you engaged?
As a PM, there's no such thing as a typical day—it all depends on the product stage and the planning cycle. I'd sum it up by saying it's about striking a balance between figuring out what to build - that's the discovery part, and actually building, shipping, and maintaining a top-notch product - that's the delivery hustle.
Every day brings a mix of discovery tasks, like user interviews, data analysis, and assumption testing in team workshops, and delivery tasks, like managing dependencies, setting priorities, planning rollouts, and maybe even throwing in some marketing and new feature announcements.
And then, of course, there are those days fully dedicated to product strategy and roadmapping. These days are gold—they're super helpful for making serious progress on the important strategic tasks. It's a dynamic gig, but that's been my PM life!
- Google is a dream workplace for most of the people, can you share with us a bit about your journey with them?
Being a PM at Google is in most cases about building products for billions of users, which is a pretty big deal. To handle that responsibility well, you gotta be on top of your game—working closely with teams, talking to stakeholders, and getting down and dirty with user interviews, data crunching, and experimenting.
Now, just because you're holding the reins for a massive user base doesn't mean you can't stumble a bit. It's more about tripping up fast, learning from it, and getting back in the game.
On the career front, they're all about that continuous learning vibe. You get to grow, dip your toes into different product portfolios, and keep things interesting. In a nutshell, being a Product Manager at Google is a wild ride—challenging, sure, but also crazy rewarding.
- What aspects about product development do you find most exciting?
I'm usually super pumped about diving into product discovery. Being the one to unravel what users really need and want, and brainstorming fresh product ideas, that's the stuff that gets me excited.
Sure, it's not the easiest leg of the journey, but I find it to be the most satisfying. It's not just about counting the features we whip up; it's about how those features shake up our users' lives. As a Product Manager, discovery happens non-stop, all year round. I'm constantly throwing around hypotheses, testing assumptions, mapping out key user journeys, analysing behaviours, and more.
I roll with two roadmaps: one for discovery, where I drop down potential product ideas to explore and validate, and another for delivery, where I lay out the features that need to be developed and shipped. Those features that get the nod in the discovery roadmap make their way to the delivery roadmap for the grand execution. It's a perpetual loop of turning ideas into real, impactful stuff
- Outside of your professional day to day work, what brings you joy?
Being a mom of two means my free time is basically fully booked.
My mission is to be a role model for them and showing them that it's possible to strike a balance between a thriving career and meeting family needs.
I'm also passionate about culture and museums, and I'm making sure my kids catch the bug too. Living in Paris is like having a cultural playground at our doorstep – there are so many cool family events and workshops to keep us busy.
- What’s that one thing that never fails to inspire and motivate you? In your personal and professional life.
I completed my degree in electrical engineering and subsequently pursued a Ph.D. The Ph.D. journey ignited my passion for continuous learning. As we delve into a subject, we realise the vast amount of information still unexplored. This humbling realisation fosters ongoing curiosity and a desire for continual learning and broadening one's understanding.
My enthusiasm for learning, both on a personal and professional level, serves as a constant motivation.
This played a major role in pushing my career forward, driving me to keep seeking knowledge and advancing professionally.
- Being an international speaker must be a real challenge for you. Do you have any interesting or funny stories from your speaking experiences around the world? How do you connect with the audiences and what is the most rewarding aspect as an international speaker?
I used to speak at conferences a lot when I was a researcher, but when I switched to product management, I took a break for a few years. Getting back into it was a real challenge and stress fest. Then, along came COVID, and surprisingly, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for my public speaking journey.
My first speaking gigs after the long pause were at big remote events. That was a game-changer for me – all I had to do was focus on my content without worrying about the audience or the stage jitters.
When conferences shifted back to in-person, I got invited to speak on stage, and it was so straightforward after all that remote practice. Now, being on stage is the highlight of my year. The talks are not just rewarding during the speech but especially during the breaks when folks come over to share their thoughts and experiences. Being a speaker at a conference multiplies the networking perks compared to just being an attendee.
- How do you manage to maintain a healthy work-life balance? Do you have any tips for the people who want to achieve the same?
I think finding a balance is about knowing what's most important and learning when to say 'No.' As a PM, I got to master the art of prioritisation and so it is important to be really good at deciding what tasks are most important and those to drop.
For example, when it comes to public speaking, even though it's cool, I limit how many events I do. I set clear limits to make sure I can keep doing a good job. The same goes for work tasks – even though saying 'yes' to more projects might be perceived as a good sign of productivity, it can actually be bad for how you feel and how well you do your job.
Along with yearly goals, for me it's super important to set yearly limits – kind of like rules for yourself. They help you keep things balanced and not get overwhelmed.
- We are very excited about your presence at DevTalks 2024, on our great Product World Stage. Without giving away to much, what’s the essence of your talk? How do you plan to engage the audience and what message do you hope they will carry with them after your session?
I'm eager for the upcoming DevTalks event and can't wait to discuss my thoughts with fellow tech enthusiasts.
In the tech industry, most product teams focus on solving problems – identifying user issues and building features to address them. While that's crucial, I believe lasting business growth goes beyond just meeting customer expectations. In my talk, I'll delve into the secret but crucial element that makes tech products not just satisfying but genuinely loved, paving the way for sustained, product-led growth.
In the world of product development, "delight" means crafting a positive and unforgettable user experience that goes beyond what users expect. Such delightful experiences play a crucial role in boosting user satisfaction, fostering brand loyalty, and generating positive word-of-mouth.
I'm a firm believer in adding joy to the product development process, and I've had the privilege of creating delightful features that significantly contributed to the success of major products, including Spotify, Google Meet, and others.
Building delight is no walk in the park – uncovering delightful features, deciding which ones to focus on, and gauging their success all pose significant challenges. In my talk, I'll be sharing numerous examples to help attendees grasp the concept of delight and encourage them to incorporate this mindset into their product development endeavours.
We can’t wait to meet Nesrine in person on 29-30 May at Romexpo, B1 Pavilion. Book your ticket and you’ll have to meet and learn from her too!