Life at Cleo

What Do You Do? Lead Product Manager (New Bets)

Sophia joined Cleo earlier this year as a Lead PM in one of our New Bets squads. Let's find out how she's getting on 💙

A photo of Sophia Lazare, a Lead PM here at Cleo.

Tell Us About Your Role

I’m currently working as a Lead Product Manager in one of our New Bets squads. I chose to join Cleo because of the opportunity to shape a product that will help users every day. 

It’s a new role, so there’s a lot of ambiguity within our squad’s scope of work. We’re essentially trying to find a product that adds value to both our users and business. It’s kinda like working in an early stage startup, but with the added help from established teams and an existing user base. 

We’re super lucky at Cleo to have a host of expert teams to help us out. We’ve got teams of user researchers, product analysts and data scientists. We use insights from these teams to understand user habits and problems. We then create hypotheses and workshop potential solutions to validate ideas as quickly as possible.

Product Managers (PM’s) at Cleo get a lot of autonomy, which is great. Each PM owns a ‘problem area’ or product feature. You own the goals associated with that area or product, which should ladder up to wider company goals. Once goals are in place, it’s up to the PM to decide with the squad how to execute to achieve that goal.

What’s the Most Exciting Thing You’re Working On?

So far we’ve seen some positive traction with our research into the savings and investing space. We want to create products that will actually help people to save, rather than a product that simply facilitates saving. 

Helping people who already have heaps of money to save more money isn’t really the goal here. We want everyone to be able to spend less than they earn each month, so they can save for their future. 

To do this, we’ve been experimenting with things like challenges and rewards, goals and money advice, lessons and hacks. It’s super varied which is what makes the job exciting. 

What Does Your Typical Week at Cleo Look Like?

Our squad set up is a little different to most at Cleo, because of the exploratory nature of our work. While we have all the normal members of a squad (backend and frontend engineers, a PM, user researchers, UX writers, designers), we needed to decide how we could all work together towards our goal.

We decided on our ways of working together. Rather than traditional sprints and sprint planning, we work in cycles. Each cycle, we set some goals, and individuals are responsible for taking initiative to achieve those goals.

We do have daily ‘stand ups’ but they don’t follow the typical SCRUM structure. We tend to post async updates in our slack channel before the meeting, and use the meeting time to stay connected and make sure everyone is on the same page. 

Our plan for the next 6-12 months is to build out a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for one (or more) of the ideas that we’ve recently come up with.

Outside of my squad 

As a PM, I interact with a whole bunch of different people across Cleo. Ultimately, I’m responsible for the result of our squad, so I do everything I can to ensure that we can all meet our goals.

The team I currently work the most with, outside of my squad, is partnerships. At Cleo we lean towards using third parties behind the scenes to power our products, which involves a lot of different conversations with potential and existing partners. 

I also work closely with other PM’s. The products we’re all working on need to be cohesive in one app. So, we have weekly PM sync meetings where we talk about bigger-picture strategy. Essentially this is zooming out and looking at what we want Cleo to look and feel like in the future. 

We touch base on different tests we’re running, to try and ensure we’re not treading on other people’s toes. For example, our squad recently ran a test to see what users were downloading Cleo for (we call this onboarding intent), so I worked closely with the PM in our growth activation squad to see if there was anything we could learn from their historical research. 

In our weekly sync meetings we also share tips and tricks which help us all to develop as better PM’s for our squads.

What Do You Like Most about Working at Cleo?

Since I joined, the one thing that has stood out is the strength of the team work here. 

People value each others’ ideas, and that culture comes from the top down.  

Collaboration has stood out since day one. When I joined the squad, we had a team lunch. We try to do this whenever people join our squad, as well as building lots of different touch points for people to stay in contact. 

I also really like how transparent things are at Cleo. Everyone is open to having conversations about any topic. It doesn’t matter if that results in a difficult conversation. 

Where Can We Find You When You're Not at Work?

I’ve spent some time in France this summer, meaning that before or after work I can take in some beautiful nature. I’m a big fan of working from wherever gives you energy, and we can do that at Cleo. 

Thanks Sophia. Any Advice for Potential Applicants?

One of the things you need at Cleo when joining Cleo is a healthy dose of optimism.

A genuine belief that you can help to shape people’s financial health is key. Everyone at Cleo has brought into this, that’s what makes us successful. 

Interested? Check Out Our Open Roles 🚀

Still have questions? Find answers below.
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