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Emerging Talent & Careers: Product Management

Do you want to power the future of travel? Then come and make a positive impact, strengthen connections, and bridge divides across the world, at Expedia Group. You can help us bring people together through travel technology, while jump-starting your career in Product Management.

Our Product Managers evaluate market conditions and work to identify traveller problems and needs that can be solved via technology. The role involves measuring customer adoption, feedback, and satisfaction to guide future iterations of the products. By collaborating with stakeholders you will collect observations and data points to identify a problem and formulate a hypothesis to solve this problem. 

But what does this all mean? Our latest cohort of Interns and Graduates met with us to explain what their experience as a Product Manager at Expedia Group has been like.

Ali Lakhanpal, Product Manager Graduate in London

Tell us about your team?  

I work within the Home team, a subdivision of the Growth Landing team. As the name suggests, we deal with the traveller experience on our homepages. Upon onboarding as a graduate, I was given the area of recommendations to perform a product teardown on. Though it was not decided upon at the time, it soon became the area that I was delivering for. This involved working with a separate recommendations experience platform team for Q4 2023. For Q1 2024, I’m working more definitively within the Home team, on the recommendations and collections experience.

Tell us about your role?  

There is a lot to say about product management. I joined as an intern over last summer in a back-end product position, whereas my position now is very much on the front-end. Although there are discrepancies in the tasks undertaken for each team, the fundamentals remain the same. We drive the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of the products that we are working on. Engineers deal with feasibility. UX designers deal with usability. Product managers deal with value and viability. In practical terms, this results in documenting the traveller problem and justifying a hypothesis. It involves many meetings with engineers and designers to approach a solution; this requires a general understanding of our technical capabilities. Once an MVP (minimum viable product) has been designed, product managers work with data scientists to run experiments against a control group. Upon understanding whether the MVP was a success or failure (based on metrics defined by the product manager), the next iteration of the solution is proposed, and the cycle continues. This continual iteration allows for vast improvements in the products we offer to travellers. It goes without saying that collaboration is a big part of the job. Product managers are also responsible for creating the backlog of problems that need to be solved for, with a proposed hypothesis for each problem. In other words, we have to juggle a multitude of deliverables all at once. Prioritisation frameworks help with this.

What skillsets do you think are required to be successful in your role?  

As alluded to in the previous answer, prioritisation is a key skill in balancing the different initiatives that we work on. In regard to problem solving (as vague as that skill may sound), there are really two key things to keep in mind. The first would be to remain problem-driven rather than solution-driven. That is to say, as a product manager, you are there to solve a user problem rather than push out a specific feature. Understanding users and their pain-points is key to this. The second thing to keep in mind is the necessity to break larger problems into smaller, more achievable tasks. This allows room for iteration and optimisation on the feature level rather than on the larger ‘initiative’ level. Another key skill is to fail fast and learn fast. Be supple. Be agile. Learning is a key part of the job, whether it be a new piece of software or a new understanding of user behaviour. As mentioned earlier, collaboration is a key aspect of the job; therefore, clear communication skills are a must. Finally, and most importantly, be a self-starter. At Expedia Group, you are not micro-managed. It is up to you to steer your product in the direction you need it to go in.

What technologies and tools do you work with?  

Though this is up to one’s discretion, I believe it is an absolute must to jot down notes in a notepad. Physical notes help you map out thoughts and conversations before documenting them in a more structured manner. Microsoft Word is a common tool to document on; however, Confluence is the preferred tool due to its shareability. Most files on Confluence are accessible by other employees. Microsoft PowerPoint is a must for producing decks and presenting ideas. Microsoft Excel is required to produce spreadsheets, whether it be for planning a backlog or general data analysis. However, Tableau is another great tool for data visualisation. Speaking of visualisation, FigJam is a fantastic tool to mock-up medium fidelity designs that UX designers can iterate upon (using the more powerful Figma). Miro is another great visualisation tool for mind-mapping and collaboration. Jira is used to document ‘strategies’, ‘initiatives’ and ‘epics’. ‘Strategies’ represent Expedia Group’s overall goals. ‘Initiatives’ represent the overall problem that a product manager is trying to solve for. ‘Epics’ break these problems down into smaller tasks, and ‘epics’ are broken down further into ‘stories’. This structure allows for organisational alignment on a strategic level, whilst maintaining independence in delivery for different multi-functional teams. Finally, an understanding of our internal experimentation platform is vital in the launching and running of tests. These help us evaluate whether a proposed solution is successful or not.

What’s your favourite thing about working at EG?  

I know it sounds like a corporate cliché, but it’s absolutely true… the culture. The graduates and pre-existing employees here are incredibly friendly, supportive and – when it comes to work – generally happy to assist you (even if it is outside of their project space). The London office is quite the workspace. The open desk set-up, the colourful booths, the open kitchens and (of course) the rooftop terrace are all great aspects of the office. Free snacks and coffee on each floor are welcome bonuses. Expedia Group also run many social events, so you’ll have plenty of time to network and let loose. Finally, it goes without saying, but travel is at the heart of Expedia Group – and this is reflected in its culture. The travel and welfare bonuses that are provided to Expedians promotes a healthy work-life balance.

Olivia Norton, Product Manager Graduate in Seattle

Tell us about your team

I am on the Platform Solutions Team. Platform Solutions is a team that optimizes our platform to enable EG and Partners to rapidly grow and innovate. Some of the capabilities we work on include: Partner Reference Service, API Management, Configuration Management, Automated Billing, EG Console and Platform Solutions Management.

Tell us about your role

Within Platform Solutions, I am on the Platform Solutions Operations team where we enable platform externalization and adoption at speed and scale by developing processes and best practices, driving awareness within EG and ensuring metric success alignment to OKRs. I specifically own managing our OKR’s – this includes seeking definitions and alignment on metrics as well as developing and managing tools and processes for tracking and reporting these metrics.

What technologies and tools do you work with?

Excel, Confluence, Miro and Tableau.

What skillsets do you think are required to be successful in your role?

Some skills that are required by my role are efficient and clear communication, organization and being able to think strategically. I didn’t come to Expedia Group with a technical background, so since joining EG in August, I’ve learned so much about how our software is built, different technical vocabulary, how our capabilities are used, etc.

What’s your favorite thing about working at EG?

The people. Everyone that I have worked with here is so down to earth and genuine which creates a collaborative, comfortable and fun work environment!

Lily Zhu, Product Manager Intern in Seattle

Tell us about your team

This past summer, I worked on the Developer Productivity team within Development Platform & Infrastructure (DP&I), which empowers EG developers to build and deliver outstanding experiences by driving adoption of EG-preferred tools. The Developer Productivity team also aims to increase efficiency and minimize friction throughout the developer journey by collecting and acting on developer feedback.

Tell us about your role?

During my internship, I worked on integrating a real-time NPS feedback feature into Expedia’s internal developer platform to gauge developer satisfaction with our tooling. To accomplish this, I identified key developer personas and their user stories, wrote and continually refined the functional requirements for the feature, and collaborated with the UX designer on my team to create an interactive prototype.

What skillsets do you think are required to be successful in your role?

I’ve found that having a collaborative mindset and being able to handle competing priorities are essential to achieving success as a PM. Being able to communicate cross-functionally and adapt to other people’s communication styles is also key.

What technologies and tools do you work with?

I used Confluence to document the functional requirements for the feature and Figma to create an interactive prototype. I also used Python to conduct an NLP analysis of a developer support Slack channel for a side project.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Expedia Group?

My favorite part about working at Expedia Group is definitely the culture – there are so many opportunities to connect with other Expedians through fun challenges and events like the monthly Farmer’s Market. Also, the Seattle office is absolutely beautiful!

Nicole Fung, Product Manager Graduate in London

Tell us about your team

I am working in the ML Platform team. We are responsible for providing a robust and advanced machine-learning platform, enabling machine-learning scientists and engineers to register and deploy their own machine-learning models. With cross-team enablement, we’re making machine learning accessible in different parts of the organisation at EG!

Tell us about your role

I lead the User Experience Center of Excellence to create a unified no-code experience in the Data & AI division, which ensures our internal UI platforms provide a seamless experience to users. I also own two flagship internal products for the ML Platform and Data Platform – the AI Workbench and the Analytics Workbench, where I work closely with internal stakeholders to simplify their daily workflow. Lastly, I own the model card initiative for AI governance and accountability.

What technologies and tools do you work with?

To name a few: Figma for UX design and prototypes, Confluence for documentation, Jira for project management, and Slack for daily communication.

What skill sets do you think are required to be successful in your role?

You must be user-centric, data-centric, and strategic. It is essential to understand the needs of your users while balancing them with the company’s strategic direction and data insights. You should be proactive and willing to take on different opportunities to expand your horizons and network!

What’s your favourite thing about Expedia Group?

I love the working culture at EG, with numerous Inclusive & Diversity (I&D) events every month and the opportunity to learn about different cultures. Everyone here is truly a joy to work with; they’re all supportive and fun!

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