With almost a decade of experience in the product field with companies such as Typeform, N26, and now Alan, Sebastien Phlix is an experienced Product Manager. He is now Head of Product for Spain at Alan. Today, Sebastien shares with us a quick overview of his missions and the product management culture at Alan.
Hi Sébastien! Can you introduce yourself? What's your professional background?
I'm currently head of product Spain at Alan. In 2020, Alan opened two new markets, Belgium and Spain. I joined the team at that time to manage the product on the Spanish market. It's quite different from the product in France because the health systems are different.
Before Alan, I worked between New York and Barcelona as a Product Manager at n26, the German digital bank, and before n26, I was also PM at Typeform where I spent almost 4 years working on optimizing the user experience in forms.
Please explain more about your role and how you work with others teams as a PM:
Working at Alan, I have the chance to be responsible for the product in Spain. It starts with the vision, where do we see the product on the Spanish market at the end of this year and the one after. Then, I build OKRs with my team, and I'm there for the initiatives and reflection about the design until the shipment. I also work with a fairly standard set-up with engineers, designers, ops, and healthcare experts.
At Alan, the product management role is very far from the notions of a product owner with a backlog and ticket management; my role is focused on helping the product team to define objectives.
Then, each person is more or less autonomous in defining and shipping the solutions. So I'm not in charge of the delivery. We also make a lot of Discovery, I work a lot on user research and design.
After being part of some great tech companies, what is the difference between Alan and your past experiences?
To be honest, a lot of things are similar. For example, at N26 and Typeform, product managers weren't focused on backlog management, the product discovery was the heart of our role, as it can be at Alan.
What is quite unique about Alan is the overall culture of the company by working asynchronously. It makes a big difference when you're a product manager because, for example, at N26 and Typeform we held meetings and meetings, while at Alan it's asynchronous with a lot more profound work and focus time. Alan also wants everyone to have ownership; therefore, for a PM, it means being able to carry out his project 100%. No hierarchy is involved in the process.
How did you see the product management landscape evolve?
In general, I think the US is way ahead of Europe regarding product management. I started in 2016 in Paris before going to Barcelona, and I really have this feeling that in Europe, everything has accelerated rapidly in recent years to follow the trend instilled by the US. We can see all these Startups emerge and bring with them this culture around the product and the discovery. Besides Alan, a lot of people from the product team are people who have had experiences in the US, and I think that brought a lot of knowledge and up-level our "game."