Meet the Team: Katie Beaton

July 24, 2020
9 minute read
Cristian Halati

In this week’s Meet the Team series, we talk to Katie Beaton, Product Lead at Phlo. In this Product Lead interview, Katie talks about her background and current role, how each day at Phlo is different, the importance of being a people person and having belief in the product that you’re building.

Tell us a bit about your educational background and previous roles before you joined Phlo.

I have a degree and career background in marketing. Having a market focus, understanding user needs and meeting them has allowed me to naturally transition to a product role and product-focused career. I have also always worked in small companies, where you are able to make a big impact due to having an understanding of what is important across the business.

What attracted you to work for Phlo, and what does your role entail?

Before I joined Phlo I had volunteered at Techaus, a Glasgow tech event, bringing together tech businesses and ideas in one space - SWG3. Techaus highlighted the impact of applying technology to the things we must do daily and to new markets. Alongside basic coding learning I had been doing, this sealed my focus on working for a tech company.

I started at Phlo three and a half years ago when the company was at a very early stage. The opportunity to work in a new market to build, develop and deliver a product and service that people really needed was really exciting.  

If I was to describe my current role of Product Lead in one a sentence it would be; visualising the big picture and knowing the next step to take. Overall, I enable the build of what will deliver the most value to our patients and prescribers, across all our products.

Walk us through a typical day of work as a Product Lead

What typical day!?  

To be honest not having a typical day is the best part.

I like to start the day reviewing patient feedback from the day before, across our Trustpilot page, our support calls, and analytics. I always join our product team for a meeting at 10 a.m. to hear how product work is progressing. This meeting can often lead to a further follow-up that day.  

It is really important that I understand what is happening across the business, so a big part of my day is speaking to all our teams, understanding needs and priorities and translating these to our product team and into our product roadmap. Phlo's product suite is growing fast, so I also spend some time every day defining and communicating product requirements and what we need to do now, next and later to deliver these.

The Phlo Digital Pharmacy App
What are the vital aspects/skills required to perform your role successfully?

First and foremost being a people person.  

In any product role you need to understand and communicate with people. This is especially important as a Product Lead. The people that you communicate with include your team, your entire organisation, your stakeholders and primarily the people who use your products.

Following that, I also think it’s crucial to have belief in the product and its potential and belief that your team can deliver that. As an added bonus, it shouldn't feel like work (most of the time).

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?

There is so much planned for Phlo and so many competing priorities, that prioritising what we build next can be challenging. I would say this is a good thing though, I would rather have lots we want to build than nothing left to build!

What do you most enjoy about your job?

When developing and refining what Phlo will grow to be, it’s crucial to get the right people talking, at the right time, about the right things.  

I most enjoy being in a room (or on a call nowadays), with people in our product teams, across internal teams or across our partner prescribers - all solving problems, mapping out ideas and actioning insights together.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have three sons, so time with my family is number one.  

I can spend a significant amount of time browsing pretty things, be it online, small shops, markets and a stationary shelf anywhere.

Buying books is something that I also enjoy, with great intentions, sometimes I get to read them.

I also love to run, I have my first marathon coming up so will definitely need to read and get started with the plan I have sitting in my bookcase now I guess...

Katie and her family out for a meal.

What makes Phlo different and why should people join us?

Phlo is different on so many levels.

For our patients, we are redefining what pharmacy is, how people interact with a pharmacy and how healthcare can fit into everyone’s day.

As a product team, each sprint is different, the scope of work allows for continuous learning and development, whilst the delivery provides continuous job satisfaction.

Each person that joins Phlo has a direct impact and joins a team with a joint goal and vision of building the best pharmacy in the UK.

Any professional or personal resources you would recommend?

So many.

I love Twitter for keeping up to date with what’s new. Just start by following a couple of companies and people you look up to, or interest you. Very quickly, you will head down Twitter tangents to discover events you can sign up to and new people to follow.

The best product book I have bought and read was User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product by Jeff Patton with Peter Economy.

Product Tank events are very worth attending. Also, I co-host Lean Agile Glasgow's Lean Coffee every 4th Wednesday morning which is a great open event.

An online learning platform I used before I joined Phlo was Treehouse where you can follow different tracks to learn to code, learn about UI/UX design or just learn terminologies valuable to start a career in technology.

Follow Katie on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.

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