Meet Your Product Owner: Valery McMahon

Get to know Propeller’s world-class team in our ongoing employee spotlight series! Today we’re talking to Valery McMahon about her role as a product owner, her experience at Propeller, and her long, colorful career path.

Propeller product owner Valery McMahon

What do you do at Propeller?

I am a product owner on the Visualiser team. I work closely with our Development teams to ensure that features are being developed and delivered to adequately solve customer problems. I am also acting as a Scrum Master, to facilitate our agile processes.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on at Propeller?

There are a few, but I think my most recent favorite would have to be the recent updates we made to the Crew experience. (Crew is an add-on to the Propeller Platform that lets you send customized, interactive mobile site maps to your team’s mobile devices.)

The problem that customers were facing was that Crew links that have been created and shared with a team in the field were not stored anywhere, and therefore couldn’t be re-shared later on. Also, once they expired, they couldn’t be renewed. With our new solution, we are allowing our customers to manage all their Crew links in one place. It allows them to store, rename, re-share, renew, delete, or change the expiration date for their Crew links. 

This is a simple solution to a big problem, and one that we think will bring more customers onboard Crew and encourage more usage for existing Crew customers.

What’s your career background?

I started my career years ago when I was doing my military service in IDF (Israeli Defence Forces). I was originally going to be an Application Instructor, however, I ended up doing a lot of work installing servers in a lab and testing software, which I absolutely loved doing. 

Once I finished with my service, I started taking multiple jobs in Quality Assurance and continued my career development in IT on multiple projects. In 2010, I moved to Australia to work for NCR (Retalix back then), where I tested their POS, loyalty and self-checkout systems for large supermarket customers. I worked in consultancy and a startup after that, where I started gradually moving into the Product world. 

I still loved being in IT, however, I wanted to have more influence on the products being developed and wanted to focus my work on improving customer satisfaction. In May 2020, I joined Propeller and have enjoyed being part of this big yellow family ever since. 

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Uzbekistan and moved to Israel with my family when I was 12 years old. Lived in Israel ever since and relocated to Australia in 2010. My husband is Australian, so there is no going back. I love it here, but I call both Israel and Australia home and visit my family once a year.

I think the best part of Sydney is the lovely people and chilled atmosphere. Israelis definitely could learn a thing or two.

Before working at Propeller, what’s the strangest or most interesting job you’ve held?

There were quite a few jobs I’ve had. I had too much energy as a teenager and did a bunch of things. I sold shoes, worked as a waitress, a postie (or a mail carrier for you Americans), sold hummus in a supermarket, did phone surveys for a medical center, and gave away promotional flyers while on rollerblades. (That last one was for some sports brand that wanted to be seen as cool.)

Any talents, secret superpowers, or fun facts about yourself to share?

I can’t touch the floor with my elbow or anything like that…but I can persuade you to do so.

What’s your favorite Propeller memory?

I only joined Propeller in May 2020, but my favorite memory was on my Day 2! I was invited to the chicken barbecue rooftop celebrations for launching Crew. I thought to myself: these guys know how to celebrate their success. Noted!

Another one, actually from last week: I joined a meeting at the last second and saw that a customer we were chatting with was dressed up as Joe Exotic for Halloween! I barely managed to hold a straight face without laughing, and then he said, ‘Valery, welcome! It’s just a Halloween costume.’ 

What’s your favorite Slack emoji and why?

Taco! I love giving those away to people who went above and beyond, or just to say thank you to my workmates. We’re using tacos to acknowledge each other’s good work.

What’s one thing you wish people understood better about your job or Propeller as a whole?

‘Product Owner’ and ‘Product Manager’ are not the same role. A product manager is always asking, “Are we doing the right thing?” A Product Owner is validating, “Are we doing the thing right?“ We are working towards the same goal, however, we have slightly different perspectives.

Want to work with Valery? We’re hiring!

Keep reading: 

Meet Your Vice President of Customer Success: Margaret Farmakis

A Deep Dive into Propeller Support: How We Support Drone Programs Remotely

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