Coherent Behind the Scenes: A Catch-up with Alex, Product Manager

Our Team

Join us as we take a virtual trip to Munich, to catch up with our Product Manager, Alex.

Q. Hi, Alex, how are you? How is your week going?

Hello again This week has gone very well so far; focus & motivation have been high, I’ve made good progress on a few pieces of work, I’ve had some great feedback from some of our workspaces, and to top it all off, the weather has been fantastic!

Q. In our last catch up, you said you were living in Munich. How have things been there recently with COVID? Have you experienced any further lockdown restrictions?

Munich is back in lockdown for the whole of November. It’s a fairly strict lockdown with all restaurants, cafes, bars and sports centres having to close. Obviously not ideal but if it helps ease the crisis, then it’s fine by me. Generally people seem to be still enjoying the outdoors though – Munich is great in that it has lots of parks, rivers, forest, so socially distanced walks and bike rides are very much in trend right now.

Q. Have you found out anything new or exciting about Munich this year?

I’ve discovered some new cycling routes with some lovely scenery which have been great for winding down at the end of the day, or a long ride at the weekend. Munich also seems to have outdoor basketball courts around every corner, so it’s been fun to get back into that on my lunch break.

Q. Have you developed any productivity hacks throughout your time in lockdown?

Not productivity hacks, but I’ve been working on my routines. I’ve now got a healthy, consistent sleep schedule which has boosted my productivity in the mornings. I’ve also got back into the habit of working out regularly, which is great for physical and mental wellbeing, especially during a lockdown when you can’t be as active as you usually would be.

Q. Has COVID had much effect on the running of Coherent?

Fortunately the whole team is remote, so we’re set up for and used to working from home, which has made the entire situation a lot smoother than it could have been. Many our customers had to close their doors for a few months, so there was quite a bit more customer support around March/April as they were checking the best way to set up their Coherent accounts to prepare for this. As the lockdowns began to lift and the spaces re-opened, we started to see an influx of new customers signing up – it’s been really reassuring to see new workspaces popping up and opening their doors.

Q. Has Coherent released anything in particular that you are proud of recently?

We recently released a huge update to our CRM – we spent several months overhauling every aspect of it and now have something much more powerful and user friendly. All of our developers were involved in building this feature. They all put in a lot of effort, so I’m really proud of what they’ve produced.

We’re also just about to release the ability to upload files, such as contracts or lease agreements, against workspace members. This update will be the first feature release for our newest developer in the team. She’s really hit the ground running, developed the feature to a very high standard, and all within her first month! I’m very proud of her work here and excited to see what she produces in the future.

Q. What are you working on just now that you are most excited about doing?

I’m working on redesigning our Lead Management system to bring it in line with the rest of the app, and also in preparation for some new features we’ll be adding to it at the beginning of 2021. I did the original scope for this feature about 2-3 years ago, so it’s fun to revisit it with more experience and knowledge of UI and UX, and how to build powerful, yet simple features.

Q. What is one thing you have learned about yourself this year? 

I struggle without routine. At the beginning of the year, I had a pretty good routine in place, with a pretty good work-life balance. Once we went into the first lockdown, it shook up that routine quite a bit, so I got out of the habit of going to bed and waking up at the same times each day, eating regularly and healthily, working out etc. All of this had quite a significant impact on my mental health and affected my work. Once I’d realised that, I was able to create some new routines and I’m now feeling much healthier and much more productive.

Q. With just over a month left of 2020, what are you looking forward to the most for 2021?

On the work side of things, I’m very excited about some of the features we’ll be working on; Stripe integration, overhauled Lead Management system and improved Analytics & Reporting are a few things I’m looking forward to seeing.

I want to step up my Figma game next year too. I’m getting better at designing wireframes to help me better understand potential use cases, and also to help the developers build new features, but there’s so much that Figma can do that I’ve not yet had chance to explore!

Outside of work (and COVID dependent), I’m excited to see more of Munich next year. I’ve lived here for just over a year, and almost half of that has been in lockdown. I’m excited to see more of what Munich has to offer, but I’m also happy about being able to travel back to the UK to see my friends and family. I’m just waiting until we can get back to some sort of normality – hopefully it won’t be too long!