Levelling Up: Piepacker’s Alexandre Do-o Almeida

Alexandre Do-o Almeida, product manager at Piepacker, talks about his changeable role, the need to be flexible and have a positive team dynamic

What is your job role and how would you describe your typical day at work?

I’m fortunate because I find my role at Piepacker super interesting. I’m a product manager which means I handle the roadmap and the life cycle of all the platform’s features, from conception to launch – I also deal with the unexpected issues that might arise up to the day we officially launch.

As a part of the co-founding team; I was there at the very beginning of the adventure meaning I was able to play different roles within the company throughout the journey. Previously, I was a full-stack developer and also lead of the QA team. These different positions have brought me a deep understanding of Piepacker’s code as a whole, and enabled me to have my hand in various aspects of the platform, sometimes developing small features from time to time. Last month, for example, I developed the leaderboard rush.

My tasks have me working with every single team in the company, and because of this my job can change quite often. I implement new games on the platform (from the engineering side but also in the design), I conceive new features, like our future integration to Twitch or Discord, I am at the heart of the long-term strategy and vision of development and manage prioritisation, I study user feedback, I organise the work plan with engineers, and discuss with them the ways we could improve our internal process. Just to name a few of my tasks! We have lots of flexibility at Piepacker, I spend a lot of time in meetings with different teams, and I can adapt my schedule for solo tasks as I want. That’s one of the advantages of working from home!

What qualifications and/or experience do you need to land this job?

I believe that the first skill you need is flexibility: you have to enjoy working on very different subjects, learn to adapt to a changing work scope, you should put yourself in a specific mindset and actively look for changes rather than resist them.

This is invaluable to anyone who works in a startup. As a product manager, it’s important to be comfortable with discussing issues, debating, data analysis, reflecting upon your practises, and reevaluating your approach.

You really need to have strong team working skills and take pleasure in collaborating with people who have different backgrounds and attitudes. The goal is to create team synergy and play on collective intelligence. All in all, any experience in management, project management, or leadership is very useful but having worked in engineering, design, or even marketing is almost always a plus to build a multidisciplinary product team.

If you were interviewing someone for your team, what would you look for?

Corporate culture is paramount to guarantee sound cooperation. Within the product team, I want to maintain a positive team dynamic. At Piepacker, we prefer passionate, reliable, benevolent, and open-minded people. We look for a few important soft skills such as diplomacy, the ability to carry debate, but also passion, interest, and proactivity.

I think that a deep understanding of the job is key to being able to showcase how previous experiences might answer the needs of a company at a given time. It’s a general truth but, in my experience, diverse experiences can be highly beneficial to an end product if they are put forward in a smart way.

What opportunities are there for career progression?

As for many occupations, career opportunities go towards management or specialisation. A product manager can go on to become VP of product management, Product Director, or chief product officer. Then, the tasks will veer towards people management and will also include the study of a global strategy for the product. Another possible evolution is towards a specific field, such as UX which will require a closer work relationship with designers, or such as Analytics in cooperation with product analysts. There are lots of opportunities out there, it just depends on the individual, their preferred sector and the company itself.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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