For our latest Humans of iQmetrix mini-profile, we had a chat with Michelle Lee, Product Owner on the Retail Product team, based in our Vancouver office.
Her team lead Jon Campbell describes Michelle as “considerate, inclusive, funny, and intelligent” — what a great combination! Here’s a little bit more about what makes Michelle tick.
iQmetrix: Tell us a bit about your role at iQmetrix.
Michelle: I started in March 2021 in my current role as Product Owner on the Retail team in our Product circle. I work with our technical teams and business and client teams to figure out ideas and features on the product roadmap and detail those improvements or features working with the development teams to see if we can build it and how we’d go about it. I tend to work in a tag-team with product managers, who will likely be the ones talking to the client or client manager about what’s needed, and they’re also creating the long-term strategy. I do more of the day-to-day co-ordination side of things — more tactics than strategy — and work closely with the development team to get features and enhancements out.
Typically, as a product owner, you would own that one product and be the subject-matter expert on it. But here at iQmetrix we have a lot of products, so we’ve always had multiple products under one product owner.
What did you do before iQmetrix?
I graduated from Simon Fraser University in Computer Science and I could’ve gone into development but I felt like it wasn’t for me. I’m more interested in the bigger picture, and I’m more of a people person. I had done a development role with a digital media company as a co-op student job. While I was there I got to talk to a lot of different people within the company and got in touch with their business analysts. I asked them how to get into that side of the business, as I hadn’t studied business at school, and I kept in touch. After I graduated they hired me full-time as a junior business analyst. Eventually the job title changed, even though it was essentially the same work, from business analyst to product owner. I stayed there until I moved roles to iQmetrix in 2021.
So, what brought you over to iQmetrix?
I really liked where I was working — the people were great, the culture was great, but I was just looking for other ways to grow. I’d been at my company for around four years and felt like I was plateauing. A friend of mine from that company had gone to work for iQmetrix, and he was the one who recommended me. He had told me if I was looking for something that’s challenging in a different environment, but you still want great people and great culture, you should come work here at iQmetrix too. He let me know that there was a position open, which was the one I applied for, but we had already begun talking about me coming over before that.
You mentioned your previous company also had a great working culture. How did iQmetrix compare when you started here?
Yes, my previous company did have a great culture, but the structure was very much the traditional top-down hierarchy where you have defined roles and tasks and are actively managed. Whereas at iQmetrix, we have a self-management structure and you don’t get told what to do. So when I came to iQmetrix, it felt to me very unstructured at first, which I was not used to. I had a bit of anxiety because I didn’t know if I was doing what I was supposed to be doing! But as time went on, I relaxed into it and leaned into the flexibility that iQmetrix offers. I’m now really happy to be able to try different things, solve my own challenges, and have new opportunities. I’ve learned so much in so many different areas.
From a people perspective, I was remotely onboarded during the pandemic, so at first we didn’t have that great in-office culture that I was used to. Plus, the people I was working with were mostly based in Winnipeg anyways and all our meetings were online. I had my friend who worked here in Vancouver, but we weren’t working on the same projects. Even though it was kind of an awkward time, I made really good friends with everyone on my team and gradually got to appreciate that we have such good people and such a great culture here. And it’s been easier since we came back to hybrid office work.
What’s something that we might not know about you?
I wouldn’t say I’m a foodie, exactly, but I love going to restaurants, trying new foods, and taking photos of dishes. I’ve been leaning into Vietnamese cuisine lately, especially for comfort food, but I also love Italian, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese food.
If I have the day off, I like to spend time with my two sisters and Mom and Dad. I’m born and bred in Vancouver, and I’m deeply rooted here. It’s an expensive city, so I do think about leaving, but it would be so hard.
I also love to travel with family and friends. I went with my best friend in May this year to Japan, Singapore, and Bali — we both turned 30 this year, so it was our birthday trip. And I’m trying to book a Mediterranean cruise with my family in 2024.
Also, I have two cats, Parker and Penelope, who are brother and sister from the same litter. They’re virtually identical tabby cats who love to join our online meetings and drool over me while I’m talking to colleagues.