Career Profile

You don't need a Master in Computer Science to be a Product Manager - but having one certainly makes a difference. My strong technical background (including a certificate as a Scrum Developer) helps me to quickly wrap my head around complex technical challenges, and coming up with a technical roadmap accompanying the product backlog. I have worked with the best (and the worst) of both worlds: the quick and nimble MEAN stack, the good ol' LAMP stack and the full range of Microsoft's .NET solutions, and know the ins and outs of these solutions.

When it comes to the non-technical parts of Product Management, I prefer a lean and agile approach over an over-formalized process, and am a certified Product Owner. My strong suit is definitely mobile apps as well as websites, as the rapid development cycles in these areas allow for quick and nimble iterations. I have co-founded the startup simquadrat in 2013, which is still going strong. Working with simquadrat was a high point of my career - applying the techniques laid out in Lean Startup to the real world was exciting, rewarding, scary at times and ultimately, a huge success.

Currently, I am managing products for Mountain News - pivoting their app and websites from simple ad spaces towards user-centric, modern portals for affluent mountain travelers.

Experiences

Product Owner, Manager & Software Engineer

January 1st, 2015 - Present
Mountain News Corporation, Denver, Munich and Münster

As a manager at Mountain News, I oversee a team of developers sitting in different countries and time zones and am responsible for the yearly goal setting, training and development. I prefer a Servant Leadership approach, meaning that I try and enable my employees as much as I can by removing all impediments that keep them from delivering high quality software and meeting our customer's needs on a daily basis. The team decided to transition from a "ScrumBut" - implementation to actual Kanban.

As a product manager, I oversee the budget and the development of three big products: Our websites, like onthesnow.com, our apps and our Mountain Traveller Audience Platform (MTAP). My responsibilities include creating sustainable product visions and sharing them across departments, as well as coordinating with my internal team and externals to execute on that roadmap.

As the technical lead, I ensure that code quality standards are being met, guidelines are being followed and best practices are being used - all in collaboration with the team. I am continuously working on the backend for the app, which serves over 3 million users over the course of a regular winter season.

Product Owner

October 1st 2013 - December 31st, 2014
Voxtron, Ahlen

As a Product Manager for over 11 products, I elevated Voxtron's products to the next level - by cancelling non-profitable products and pushing newcomers as well as star-products. I conducted several projects with different scales and was part of the requirements engineering team at Voxtron. However, my biggest achievement at Voxtron was to improve their internal software development process, by introducing Scrum and Kanban in two teams and coaching the team members to become self-organized and truly agile, starting with introducing clear sprints, complete with Planning, Retrospective and Daily Scrum, followed by enforcing a new estimation process, which gave the Sales team a better outlook on when their feature will actually be completed.

Developer, Product Owner & Intrapreneur

August 1st, 2012 - September 30th, 2013
sipgate, Düsseldorf

As a Software Engineer at sipgate, I was working on the Java backend systems, mainly related to porting existing phone numbers to and from sipgate.

I quickly switched from the Engineer position to being a Product Owner. At sipgate, I learned a lot about Agile - in fact, it was so much that I started an internal Scrum School where we discussed the current trends and news, just to be able to deal with the information and separate the useful from the hype.

Early in 2013, I co-founded a startup called simquadrat, based on the principles laid out in Lean Startup. Those principles taught us that all our initial assumptions about user intent were, in fact, wrong, and we quickly pivoted towards a sustainable business model. Within less than two months, simquadrat was an established niche product and is still going strong.

Technical Consultant

April 1st, 2011 - July 31st, 2012
cirquent | NTT Data, Cologne, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf

Officially, my role at Cirquent was a Technical Consultant, customizing Java for the customers. Inofficially, I was a jack-of-all-trades, visiting banks, insurances, MVNOs and other companies and helping out everywhere. It turned out that my biggest skill is my ability to quickly wrap my head around complex systems and challenges, and implementing quick, scalable and pragmatic solutions in Java, JavaScript and Python.

Projects

Aside from work, I frequently work on small side projects, to keep up-to-date with current trends and technologies. You won't find any of these online, since I usually don't have the time to push them live on a larger scale. This is a selection of the projects I liked the most.

spielerunde - A website to find and connect with board gamers around you.
Paperboy - A Facebook bot that crawls RSS feeds and curates news for you either in realtime or just in time for your morning coffee.
Marauder's Map - An iOS App that makes use of your location for chatting with people around you, translating the concept of body height into the virtual space.
Thingsmap - A map with real time updates from social media for any place in the world. This was actually online until Instagram changed their API, effectively removing the features needed for this project

Skills & Proficiency

Node.js & express

Javascript & jQuery

HTML5 & CSS

Bootstrap

Git

Scripted Languages (e.g. PHP)

MongoDB & NoSQL

Bootstrap

MERN (Mongo, Express, React, Node.js)

Compiled Languages (e.g. Java, Objective C)

mySQL & RMDBS

Grunt/Gulp

Handlebars/Moustache

Scrum

Kanban

Lean

Requirements Engineering

Trello & JIRA