The Art and Science of: Product Management

By Christina Aiello

Savo's Geek of the Week: Staci Black

Do you want to learn more about SAVO behind the scenes? If so, you’re in luck. We are pleased to introduce our new blog series: The Art and Science of! Each month we’ll highlight one of our exceptional employees, so that you can get to know more about them and why what they do is such an integral part of the SAVO community.

To get this show on the road, we will be looking into The Art and Science of: Product management. We’re excited to introduce Staci Black to tell us a little more about her role in product management. Staci has been a loyal SAVOite for a little over 2 years now and is excited to share her journey!

Tell us a little about yourself and your role at SAVO.

Hi, I’m Staci Black and I’m a Product Owner at SAVO.  In short, my role is to maximize the value that SAVO products deliver to our customers.  I spend a lot of my time creating models and processes that help us build better software, identify user needs, prioritize pain points, and eliminate risk.  I also collaborate with Developers, UX, and other stakeholders at SAVO to tie it all together.

Explain what an average day at work is like for you.

Each day my development team and I meet early on to “set the tone” or to “check in” for what we want to accomplish as a team that day.  This allows for us to share any need-to-know information and the work that transpired over the previous day. The starts and ends to my days are consistent, but the rest can be quite varied!

Throughout the week I might spend my workday:

    • reviewing any customer issues or feedback that has come in,
    • updating the backlog for priority or clarity so that the team has what they need,
    • conducting and participating in a scrum/sprint ceremony like grooming, planning, review or retro
    • cross-functional meetings with either the other PO’s and members of Labs
    • weekly meetings with User Experience to talk about what we want to learn through research and user testing
    • meet with UI/UX about strategic initiatives and long-term product planning

We wrap up the day by meeting again as a team to discuss what we accomplished that day and show off any demo’s of working software.

What’s a fun project that you’ve worked on recently? What was your role in it?

Not a single project, but I’m most excited about the expansion of the UI and UX department at SAVO and our commitment to User Experience testing over the last couple of years…

We’ve learned so much about how our users behave, what drives them when they use our software, and some of their underlying use cases and needs that we weren’t privy to before.  The new UI that was released in October in both Sales Content Pro and COP was the output of countless hours of research and partnership from all levels of the organization.  I’m excited for the new Search UI to be released for all of our customers as well.  It was a team effort, everyone at SAVO helped out with that project.

What attracted you to work at SAVO?

This is kind of a funny story.  I used SAVO while I was a Marketing Manager at CareerBuilder, so I was familiar with the Product, dating all the way back to 2007-2010.  When they called me, I was open because of my good experience using the product, and after I talked to Doug (Marquis, EVP of Product Development) and came in for the interview I was feeling pretty good about SAVO, that is, until I sat down on-site for the final interview.  I looked up and saw Hauk (Brian Hauk, Agile Coach) – someone I had interviewed with previously at his last consulting gig – but I had declined their offer for other reasons (nothing to do with Hauk).  We had a good laugh, and joked about seeing each other at the interview table again “so soon”.   It’s turned out great because I’ve had a chance to get coached from one of the best Agile Coaches in the biz.

What do you like most about your job?

By far the smart people that keep me on my toes each and every day.  SAVO has the brightest developers I’ve ever worked with, and they’re fun too!

Is there a person in your career who really made a difference?

My first boss at CareerBuilder was really great at encouraging me around my strengths, carving out a career path for me that focused on the things I was excited about and good at, and helped me conquer my weaknesses with kindness.  The sales team I worked with, in addition to my manager was just as great. I was lucky in that I had a collective knowledge of probably 200 years of top-ten performer sales experience around me for almost 3 years and they nurtured me like I was their own kid.

What is you favorite memory from your childhood?

Horseback riding with my dad during summer vacation.  I’d wake up earlier than him and we’d spend the whole day just strolling on the trails checking out the scenery.

What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?

I read at least a book a month and they’re unbelievably nerdy books.  I like non-fiction and if it has something to do with software, data, or how our brains work I’ve probably got it on a wish list.  Recently I read “You Are Now Less Dumb” by David McRaney, “Artemis” by Andy Weir, “The Inevitable” by Kevin Kelly (for the 2nd time), “Hillbilly Elegy” by JD Vance, and “Algorithms to Live By” by Tom Griffiths and Brian Christian.  Next on my list is “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” by Walter Isaacson because there’s a great story about Franklin in “You Are Now Less Dumb” and now I’m just craving to hear more about him!

Is there a person in your career who really made a difference or a geeky story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear in the comments below! Tune in next month to see which SAVOite will be featured next.


Staci Black

Staci Black is a Product Manager who lives and works in Chicago, IL. Staci’s natural curiosity and love of the Scientific Method have carried over to her work in Software and Consulting. Staci has a constant desire to learn new things and improve her skills as a Product Manager and women in STEM. She brings her love of science and objective methods to Product Management and Agile Software Development, introducing a unique but repeatable pattern for teams and organizations to reduce costs and burden while maximizing value. Her skills help the people she works with by challenging those around her to think differently about the problems they face and solutions they consider for solving those problems.

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