We sat down with our new Chief Product Officer, Michele Battelli, to discuss why he joined Sensat, and how he envisions product management in the organisation.
Why have you joined Sensat?
As we move into the era of artificial intelligence and interconnected physical devices, some industries are in the midst of a digital transformation, progressing from early stages of digitization and data collection towards advanced data collection and visualization and analytics. The construction industry is one of these industries.
Sensat is at the forefront of innovation in this space thanks to some of the most advanced data collection capabilities and the visualization and collaboration technology they have built. I’m also excited to join an incredibly talented team that has demonstrated to have what it takes to build not only an incredible product but also a successful business. All that in a friendly and humble environment based on a culture of continuous learning and high-quality standards for the work done for our customers.
What do you think can be achieved at Sensat?
We are on a journey to change the future of construction projects in the way they are planned, run and managed. Better, more efficient and environmentally friendly infrastructure projects are going to be key to sustain growing global population needs. Faster and safer housing projects will become more relevant. And the ability to monitor and maintain existing assets is going to be key in constantly changing environments. At Sensat we are building the ability for machines to understand the physical world to assist the data collection, the decision making and the management of the projects of the future.
How does working at Sensat compare to larger organisations? what are the positives and challenges?
As a small team we have the luxury of speed and flexibility. Like many startups we innovate fast, react fast to clients needs and new market opportunities. Our teams are empowered to make decisions and impact our company strategy based on their direct knowledge of and exposure to our clients.
Obviously we have much more limited resources compared to larger organisations and that means we have to be very focused and ruthlessly prioritize the most important work that will lead to the greatest impact.
How do you envision product management at Sensat?
I have had the fortune to see many different product organizations, all with their pros and cons. I believe the most successful ones have their teams as close as possible to users and empower them to make strategic decisions. The teams are product, design, engineering teams fully responsible for business outcomes that are tightly aligned with the company mission.
How will product and engineering work together?
By not being 'product' on one side and 'engineering' on the other. We use a well known discovery and delivery model where product, engineering and design are working together to discover opportunities through research and design and delivery viable solutions. The shared accountability throughout the development of the product leads to better outcomes that make a direct impact across our metrics.
What kind of people and skills do you want to bring to Sensat?
Sensat’s culture is one of the reasons I joined the company and I believe it’s important to hire people that foster this culture. Passionate individuals that are curious about the complex problems we face and are eager to learn new things every day. We are building a diverse team of strongly opinionated people that are self-organised and make things happen.
How has working remotely from Italy changed the way you work?
This has been my first remote-first job and has made me introduce several changes in the way I work. As Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, once said in a townhall meeting: “Scarcity brings clarity”. For me, scarcity of face-to-face interaction has brought clarity on what are the important things to become a more effective leader and manager, from investing more time clarifying processes and communications to improving documentation and using data to drive decision making.
It also makes my onsite visits a very special moment, where every personal interaction is a fantastic and more fulfilling experience. In fact, I believe has solidified friendships much faster.
What are your interests / hobbies?
I’m a mountaineer and an outdoors person all around. Being close to the Alps is an ecstatic experience both in winter and summer. Expect some video calls from a cabin as the good weather comes.
Apart from that, I’m also very interested in the social impact of technology, from the ethics of AI to data privacy and citizens empowerment. I advise non-profits on some of these topics and teach them in a course at a local university.
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