Product Leadership with a side of Technical Management

As 15below expanded further I moved into the gap in the product area. Starting off with product ownership in agile processes. I backed this up with a certificate in Technology Management , which included a brilliant course on Innovation. To round out with more business skills I also did the CORe course from Harvard Business School extension.This period of experience gave me the confidence to create Bashfully with a colleague as a side project to further develop our skills ... and help you!

Microsoft: DAT249x Ethics and Law in Analytics and AI on edX
2017 - 2017
AI Analytics Law Ethics

What I learned:

  • Foundational abilities in applying ethical and legal frameworks for the data profession
  • Practical approaches to data and analytics problems, including Big Data and Data Science and AI
  • Applied data methods for ethical and legal work in Analytics and AI

View certificate

CORe: Credential of Readiness at HBX / Harvard Business School
2016 - 2016
Business Analytics Economics Financial Accounting

HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness) is a 120-150 hour certificate program on the fundamentals of business from Harvard Business School. CORe is comprised of three courses - Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting – developed by leading Harvard Business School faculty and delivered in an active learning environment based on the HBS signature case-based learning model.

Read more on my HBX blog post

Product Owner Survival Camp
2013 - 2013
Product Ownership Impact Mapping Product Development

An overview course on using impact mapping to drive changes in behaviour that have business benefit, run by Gojko Adzic and Dave Evans.

My main takeaways

Product Manager at 15below Key experience
2013 - present
Product Development Mentoring User Journeys Product Management Analytics Roadmaps Agile R

  • Founder member of Product team at 15below and creating product processes
  • Managing the product development budget
  • Report on the Product related objectives in the 15below Business Plan.
  • Working to understand the business requirements for product specifications and converting these into use cases.
  • Acts as Product Owner in an agile development team when needed.
  • Providing the Marketing team with the background for case studies, product documentation and promotional material.
  • Supporting internal processes such as Change Advisory Board, Design Review Committee and Project Standards to ensure that the "right thing" gets developed "the right way".
  • Providing internal technical consultancy and business analysis of airline workflows and reservation system interactions.

Blog posts for 15below during this time:

Configuration Consultant at 15below
2012 - 2013
Requirements Gathering Line Management Product Ownership Agile SQL Product Development

Reporting to the Production Services Manager:

  • Plan and manage client system upgrades, including analysis and QA.
  • Establish, evolve and document formal upgrade and deployment processes.
  • Act as a technical consultant to 15below, supporting all areas of the business.
  • Build and maintain a catalogue of services and configuration information related to those services (Configuration Management Database).
  • Building knowledge of product and configuration to assist with establishing baselines and feeding into customer’s SLAs and KPIs
  • Act as part of Change Advisory Board.
  • Own Technical Debt Register.
  • Feed customer specific scenarios into QA processes / automated testing

Postgraduate Certificate in Technology Management at The Open University
2008 - 2014
Roadmaps Volere requirements Innovation

Three courses that gave me a solid foundation into the business side of managing software development processes.

  • M882 Managing the software enterprise (2008)
  • T848 Managing technological innovation (2013)
  • M883 Software requirements for business systems (2014)

As the name suggests, this project is for Product Managers dealing with data that want to use R as a tool to analyse that data and produce reports/visualisations. I have tried to make all the scripts work from first download. I have built reports that display data from: * Google Analytics of website traffic * Application metrics stored in InfluxDB to show feature usage * ProdPad workflow status reporting and mining for insights in feedback received * Report based on data exported from UptimeRobot to analyse downtime reasons
RMarkdown Open Source Analytics R

Technical leadership

As a natural development from being a developer in a small company I moved from being tech lead on projects to being its project manager. During this time I also gain PRINCE2 foundation and attended an Agile for Leaders course. I learned a lot about communication here during my time setting up an office in Melbourne. I also rekindled an interest in visual storytelling, doing various evening classes in photography and a motion picture production course.

Analyst Developer at 15below
2009 - 2012
Visual Basic ASP Mentoring SourceSafe Requirements Gathering SQL

  • Secondment to the support team bringing technical and process experience as well as being an escalation point when the team leader is unavailable. I have helped automate some support tasks, improving team efficiency and reducing the support overhead. Another enjoyable aspect of my role has been in recruiting placement students and a permanent developer to the support team. Then mentoring them as they begin their careers.
  • I also provided technical input on existing business functionality to both the design review committee and production change control board. In these responsibilities I aim to maximize the technical debt that can be repaid in new enhancements and to minimize the risk to production in roll out and project go live. This was where I started loving the process of Product Management.

Both roles allow me to look beyond an immediate task at hand to the wider business and then how we can increase business value. Highlights include:

  • Co-ordinating with the Client Support Team Leader the update of the reservation system interface for a US client when their NewSkies system was upgraded to 3.2.
  • Helping to deliver and co-ordinate the roll out of an enhanced voice solution, which supported processing through Sabre Reaccommodation Manager, for another US client.

Technical Project Manager at 15below Key experience
2008 - 2009
PRINCE2 Product Development Requirements Gathering


Secondment to Melbourne to assist in setting up 15below’s first overseas office to support their Asia Pacific clients.
Continued support to the UK office providing solutions to complex technical issues on project work there.
Project management and requirements gathering for local projects and Australian hours escalation point for the support team.

My life as a Developer

After graduating I joined Atkins full time in their Management Consultancy business unit, working on some interesting infrastructure projects. Being the home of PRINCE2 this gave me a really good insight into document workflows on massive projects. Going to 15below was a change in scale, but allowed me to develop my craft ... although I did miss Unix! During this time I also had a side project creating a CMS in Perl.

Consultant at Atkins Management Consultants Key experience
2001 - 2005
SourceSafe Innovation Consulting BPO SQL Perl Requirements Gathering Python PRINCE2 Unix Visual Basic

  • Development of extranets and online collaborative systems to create workflow systems in Business Process Optimisation
  • Research into group awareness in collaborative virtual environments as part of the Atkins Research and Innovation department, including EU funded research. For example IST programme IST-10846 TOWER: Theatre of Work Enabling Relationships.
  • Part of a team that developed central bespoke portals for the management of programmes of works for both Shell Oil and the Royal Bank of Scotland. I was specifically responsible for developing a transport ordering B2B solution between a local County Council and Atkins, a system to manage requests to the Atkins Pensions department, and a supplier rating system for Bass Hotels. Other clients included Office of the Rail Regulator, Railtrack, Public Record Office, and the Environment Agency.

Publications: Chalk, N (2005) “Mining project information using storytelling” in Proceedings of the 23rd IASTED International Conference on Databases and Applications, Innsbruck, Austria. February 14-16, 2005.

Student days - the foundation of my craft

I started off my journey into software development after initially wanting to be a theoretical physicist. I started with VB3 on Windows 3.1 and C++ in DOS. During University I branched out into Java, Prolog, and Matlab. My industrial placement at Atkins allowed me to develop these skills in a commercial environment, along with documentation and source control.

BA (Hons.), Artificial Intelligence at University of Sussex Key experience
1997 - 2001
C AI Prolog SQL Genetic Algorithm Natural Language Processing Machine Learning Perl Neural Networks Unix Java Matlab Visual Basic

An interdisciplinary course covering Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy and Psychology courses.

3rd year project: “SCARGIL: Data Mining using the Genetic Methods” produced a system that took a dataset and after a period of induction using evolutionary computing output classification rules. The program was given a dataset of DNA, which it then used to produce a model, to make protein splice site predictions. This project allowed me to develop my skills in cutting through domain knowledge, where I was not a domain expert, and solve the key problem presented.