What product managers at 4 Chicago tech companies enjoy most about their jobs

by Alton Zenon III
May 15, 2019

A product manager’s role is the epitome of nuanced. They control nearly every aspect of a product’s lifecycle from ideation to rollout to post-launch tweaks. These professionals must work cross-functionally with a number of team members — including designers, engineers and UX folks — to deliver an end result that their company can be proud of.

We spoke to product pros at four Chicago tech companies to learn more about the projects they’re working and what parts of their jobs keep them coming back for more each day.

 

Project44's product team working

Companies around the world leverage project44’s cloud-based logistics and visibility platform to plan and glean insights from their shipping operations. Senior Product Manager Andrew Sisto said the company is working on a tracking project of global proportions. 

 

What is your team working on these days, and how will it impact the company or your industry?

Our platform is bringing advanced visibility to the logistics industry, which requires us to build data solutions around every step in a freight shipment’s journey. Right now, we’re working on a project that is bringing in satellite data for around 5,000 container ships moving around the world. 

For example, if we have a better understanding of how long it takes ships to move through ports during congested periods, we will be able to provide our customers with information that could help them save millions of dollars and relieve stress during peak shipping periods. There are so many aspects of shipping where increased efficiency can have a similar impact, and each one is a puzzle our team is finding creative solutions to solve.

We’re working on a project that is bringing in satellite data for around 5,000 container ships moving around the world.”

 

What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?

We’re building solutions that help one of the largest and most important industries, global trade, run more efficiently — that is a pretty cool problem to tackle. We have a really smart and collaborative team. It makes finding answers to these complex problems really enjoyable because the insights and ideas that come from a room of such forward-thinking people are truly unique and innovative.

 

Home Chef staff posing in matching sweaters for group photo

Home Chef prepares and delivers ready-to-cook meals to busy folks and amateur chefs across the country. Senior Product Manager for Tech Ops Aimee Venot said her team is crafting materials and process used internally in a very important segment of the company.

 

What is your team working on these days, and how will it impact the company or your industry?

My team is developing a real-time warehouse management system. Our mission is to manage inventory effectively and consistently with the highest quality. We design applications for scanners, tablets and handheld devices for thousands of users at our packing facilities.

We design applications for scanners, tablets and handheld devices for thousands of users at our packing facilities.”

 

What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?

My favorite part of the role is the opportunity to develop creative solutions for very challenging problems and directly help our front-line employees.

 

UrbanBound staff in team photo

UrbanBound provides companies with a technology suite that allows team members to manage and optimize their relocation benefits to best suite their needs when moving to a new city. Product Manager Jamal Afridi said he enjoys seeing big results come from unassuming beginnings. 

 

What is your team working on these days, and how will it impact the company or your industry?

Our team just finished working on one of the biggest product releases in company history. After learning that our clients wanted a way to offer a flexible employee relocation experience while containing overall costs, we built Freeway, which does just that. Freeway removes the conventional notion that a successful relocation program requires strict allowances and policy guidelines and instead offers relocating employees the flexibility to spend their relocation budget on the things they need and value most.

It’s very rewarding to trace a full-featured product release back to specific conversations with users of UrbanBound’s software.”

 

What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?

Product management requires the ability to field many diverse inputs — from users and customers, and our internal team — and factor them into a holistic product vision that aligns with company goals. My day-to-day is filled with gathering and deconstructing all these different inputs, and it’s fun to piece together the collage. It’s very rewarding to trace a full-featured product release back to specific conversations with users of UrbanBound’s software.

 

Three Adage Technologies staff working on a project

Adage Technologies is a web design and development firm that offers companies a number of services that include digital strategy optimization, marketing automation, UX design and more. Special Projects Manager Claire Young said the company takes the user’s voice seriously and gives them democratic opportunities to influence the product.

 

What is your team working on these days, and how will it impact the company or your industry?

SmartSeat is Adage’s mobile seat selection product. It is used by dozens of organizations around the world to offer seat selection technology to patrons of performing arts organizations. We have been expanding the product functionality for several years now and after seeing how great it has been for our licensees, we are now investigating APIs to allow us to hook into any industry.

I really enjoy sessions with our product licensees where we can hear what they would like to see added to the product.”

 

What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?

We have cultivated a community of users and we work with them directly to make product improvements. I really enjoy sessions with our product licensees where we can hear what they would like to see added to the product. 

Last November, we started what will be an annual event where we allow all of our licensees to send in suggestions for product updates like big features, small tweaks and upgrades that will make things easier for them. We compile a list of these items, set up a voting site and let the community decide what we should add next. It’s all about the end user for me, so I enjoy that part most about my job.

 

Jobs from companies in this blog34 open jobs
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UrbanBound
Chicago
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project44
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project44
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Adage Technologies
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Adage Technologies
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project44
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project44
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Home Chef
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Home Chef
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UrbanBound
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Home Chef
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Adage Technologies
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project44
Chicago
Product
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Home Chef
Chicago
Operations
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Home Chef
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Project Mgmt
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UrbanBound
Chicago
Data + Analytics
new
Home Chef
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Data + Analytics
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project44
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Finance
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project44
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Developer
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project44
Chicago
Product
new
Home Chef
Chicago
Developer
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project44
Chicago
Developer
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Adage Technologies
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Developer
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project44
Chicago
Operations
new
project44
Chicago
Operations
new
Home Chef
Chicago
Data + Analytics
new
Home Chef
Chicago
Sales
new
UrbanBound
Chicago
Operations
new
UrbanBound
Chicago
Developer
new
UrbanBound
Chicago
Developer
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UrbanBound
Chicago
Developer
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UrbanBound
Chicago
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UrbanBound
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Home Chef
Chicago

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