Allan Milne Lees, Product Manager in Kraków, Poland
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Allan Milne Lees

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

Kraków, Poland
Toptal Member Since
October 4, 2019

For the last 25 years, Allan has held various product manager roles in Fortune 500 companies and several startups. His domain knowledge includes financial services, health and pharmaceuticals, cybersecurity, telecommunications, smartphone apps, and biotech. He is highly experienced in total lifecycle product management and works effectively across all organizational functions to ensure objectives are promptly met.

Project Highlights

Development of Multiple Data Science-based Enterprise Applications
Rescued projects that had gone off the rails, initiating new projects, guiding products from concept to MVP to network-wide adoption, and mentored client personnel.
Fintech Product Development
Provided consulting services to a fintech client to specify MVP, create a budget, market entry strategy, and technologies.
Social App for Smartphones
I developed a concept and then raised venture capital to build and launch a product to serve a huge but previously unrecognized market segment, signing up more than 13 million users within three months of the initial launch.


Work Experience

IT Consultant

2024 - PRESENT
Tent Foundation
  • Asked by the client which of two possible apps to use for document storage because they had developed organically without any technology vision, resulting in the misuse of applications (Slack) and minimal or non-use of others (Salesforce, Box).
  • Quickly realized the issue was much broader and provided a comprehensive report explaining the real problem and how it could readily be solved.
  • Worked on several recommendations that were ultimately accepted, leading to an expanded remit to help them implement a vision for information management.
  • Provided a coherent vision that enabled a reduction in the number of applications being used by various personnel (often in an ad-hoc manner) and concentrated operations around a small number of critical applications used correctly.

Consultant Product Manager

2019 - PRESENT
AML Worldwide
  • Drove market research, including third-party and in-person interviews with potential customers, partners, and competitors.
  • Developed an MVP, including core feature specifications, user stories, and the management of development teams.
  • Created a realistic market entry strategy based on market conditions and internal operational constraints (resources, budgets, and a window of opportunity).
  • Closed initial sales and enabled the sales organization to ramp up effectively.
  • Spearheaded end-to-end product lifecycle management, including product feature enhancements, resiliency enhancements, and performance enhancements.

Product Manager

2020 - 2024
Toptal Clients
  • Worked with client personnel across multiple organizations and levels to guide multiple web app products through creation, design, development, validation, and deployment phases.
  • Mentored client personnel, assisted in team development and management, and led multiple cross-disciplinary distributed teams.
  • Performed a wide range of roles including gathering user requirements, creating product feature documentation, technical architecture, and management of technical resources.
  • Ensured smooth transition of products to client managers at end of the project period, and picked up additional projects from a client that required significant skills in organization and turnaround in order to get back on track.
  • Rescued two projects that had "gone off the rails" due to poor management, lack of adequate requirements definition, and lack of appropriate technical architecture.

Co-founder and Product Manager

2017 - 2019
CPP, Inc.
  • Identified potential market opportunity to serve enormous untapped niche. Conducted over 100 in-person user interviews, carried out extensive online market research, and met with leaders and influencers within key prospect organizations.
  • Developed MVP definition and user stories to guide the development team. Utilized appropriate open-source technologies and modern methodologies to save time and money while delivering superior results capable of securely and reliably scaling to tens of millions of users.
  • Created financial models and operational budgets.
  • Raised venture capital to fund product development and initial marketing and sales activities.
  • Secured initial customers, obtained extensive feedback, and led product iteration to ensure a perfect fit with market needs.
  • Launched a full-capability product and secured multi-million user accounts within four months.

Product and Project Manager

2016 - 2016
Roche Genomics
  • Helped define requirements for real-time analysis software for next-generation DNA sequencing machines.
  • Co-led user group sessions to determine user requirements and technical scope.
  • Developed comprehensive user stories and feature and functionality definitions to guide the development team.
  • Planned all sprints, led daily standups, acted in role of Scrum Master as well as Product Owner.
  • Tracked all issues, led mitigation activities, ensured milestones were met on time.

Co-founder and Product Manager

2012 - 2015
Cognutria Foods, Inc.
  • Identified opportunity for cognitive nutrition products.
  • Developed relationships with key nutrition scientists around the world to ensure a full understanding of all current scientific knowledge in this domain.
  • Raised venture capital to fund product development and initial market testing.
  • Formulated product micro-nutrients baseline and worked with scientists to determine the easiest way to manufacture at a small scale within a highly constrained budget.
  • Led manufacturing of test product and secured initial 20 retail partnerships.
  • Conducted extensive in-person market testing, iterating key messages, analyzing quantitative and qualitative reactions, and enhancing message effectiveness.
  • Negotiated the sale of the core intellectual property to a large organization as the company was unable to secure a multi-million dollar expansion capital.

Consultant Product Manager

2009 - 2012
AML Worldwide
  • Acted as general manager for the Xerox PARC project to develop and commercialize Content centric networking (CCN).
  • Conducted market research, collaborated with key partner organizations to develop joint marketing and sales strategy—identified key allies in oil and gas, automotive, health services, and telecommunications infrastructure providers.
  • Created product development strategy based around the core PARC team as thought leaders and expert developers in Eastern Europe as implementers.
  • Acted as vice president of North American Operations for a European open-source ERP company.
  • Developed market entry strategy.
  • Led sales activities to secure key accounts in identified high-value market niches.
  • Specified additional product feature and functionality requirements to provide a better fit with US market needs.
  • Enhanced all collateral to remove translation infelicities and to better appeal to US target audiences.
  • Acted as the project manager and architecture consultant for a classified top secret joint US intelligence agency and department of defense project.

Product Delivery Lead

2010 - 2011
  • Worked closely with personnel from the US Intelligence Community and DoD to develop an innovative intrusion-proof architecture for a classified global application.
  • Worked with client personnel to define requirements, agree with core concepts, and develop software and hardware architecture. Managed the development and delivery teams from project inception to post-deployment hypercare.
  • Led concept elaboration and software and hardware architecture strategy, then led the development and delivery teams.

Co-founder and Product Manager

2007 - 2009
Prevarex, Inc.
  • Worked with leading scientists and physicians to develop a product concept for a health optimization company. Performed all research on legal issues, HIPAA compliance, required legal structures for entities employing physicians, and required legal structures for third-party relationships.
  • Created a business plan including financials, market entry strategy, and a product development roadmap.
  • Raised venture capital.
  • Secured initial key partnerships with medical provider organizations, blood analysis companies, physicians, and high-end health clubs.
  • Created specifications for an early artificial intelligence-based online health assessment system and led the offshore development team to create and deliver the product.

Chief Information Officer

2005 - 2007
Buck Institute for Age Research
  • Conducted an end-to-end analysis of IT systems and IT support capabilities. Performed extensive research into new requirements driven by new experimental areas and new scientific technologies such as mass spectrometry and DNA sequencing.
  • Worked closely with the institute's CEO to develop a plan to enhance and upgrade all scientific and operational support systems.
  • Conducted in-depth research to identify product and technology options, then conducted extensive vendor and technology assessments.
  • Led multiple cross-functional project teams, managed internal resources and external vendors, replacing old systems, and implementing new capabilities. These saved the organization $450,000 in unnecessary capital expenditures while simultaneously enhancing all areas of scientific and operational capability. Systems upgrades included: finance and reporting, grant management, donor management, bioinformatics, mass data storage, telecommunications and broadband Internet, journal repository and access, and remote services support.

Consultant Product Manager

2002 - 2005
AML Worldwide
  • Performed product manager role for UK fast-switching company spun out of IBM. Conducted market research, evaluated market opportunities, created market entry plans for each significant market segment and led the development of core value propositions for each segment.
  • Performed product management role for US-based cyber currency startup, including market evaluation and technology evaluation. Developed all financials. Developed MVP definition and user stories to drive development. Worked closely with the CEO to evaluate development options and then led the development team to first product release.

Co-founder and Product Manager

1999 - 2002
TransactPlus, Inc.
  • Performed initial due diligence on spinout technology from major US financial services organization.
  • Conducted in-person market research to identify and validate opportunities.
  • Created product specifications to meet core market needs.
  • Created a business plan with product strategy, market entry strategy, financials, and timelines.
  • Managed development of the product including local and remote resources.
  • Managed roll-out of physical supporting infrastructure in the USA and Western Europe.
  • Developed key marketing materials and led PR activities and industry analyst briefings.
  • Led sales team to secure first major industry customers, then developed scale-up plan to maximize sales effectiveness.

Co-founder and Product Manager

1996 - 1999
Kabira Technologies, Inc.
  • Conducted market research to identify and validate the opportunity.
  • Wrote the business plan with financials, market entry strategy, and product development strategy.
  • Assembled core team and raised venture capital.
  • Led company through product development and market development activities. Raised multiple rounds of venture capital.
  • Conducted industry analyst briefings to generate awareness.
  • Led sales team to secure initial high-profile multinational corporate accounts.

Director and Product Manager

1993 - 1996
Sybase, Inc.
  • Identified a significant market opportunity for mobile database products while working within the strategic planning group.
  • Conducted in-depth market research and created an opportunity briefing for Sybase executives.
  • Led acquisition of companies to acquire third-party technologies and became director of the new group within Sybase to develop and exploit mobile database opportunities.
  • Specified MVP and created detailed functional specifications to guide the development team.
  • Developed core marketing materials and led market development to secure initial customers.

Development of Multiple Data Science-based Enterprise Applications

Rescued projects that had gone off the rails, initiating new projects, guiding products from concept to MVP to network-wide adoption, and mentored client personnel.

Applications included a schedule optimization application for QC Labs, a capacity planning tool for all client sites worldwide, an incident investigation support tool that dramatically increased throughput while reducing the time required to conclude each investigation, and other QC Labs support applications. All of these applications utilized data science and data engineering, with the key feature of turning valuable insights into consistently actionable tasks by incorporating them into daily-use tools.

Market Evaluation | Product Development | MVP

Identified a previously unserved large market segment and developed a minimum viable product.

After hearing directly from individuals in this market segment, I began detailed market research to understand segment composition, needs, influencers and decision-makers, and adoption patterns.

After five months of deep research involving online data gathering and hundreds of individual conversations with key potential users, I developed a go-to-market plan, a detailed product design specification using feature and functionality definitions, and extensive user stories to guide development. I then oversaw all development activities.

The product launch was followed by an extensive road trip in which all key early adopters were visited and their feedback solicited. This led to a rapid iteration to include new features and capabilities the key segments now understood they wanted as a result of adopting version one of the product (a smartphone app with enterprise-scale capabilities). Version 2 of the product was launched a few months later, during which additional marketing and sales activities were conducted. After launch, I went on a full-time three-month road trip to ensure rapid adoption by key user organizations. This led to several large accounts coming online well within our planned timeline.

Complex User Requirements Analysis

Explored complex user requirements for understanding the output from next-generation DNA sequencing machines.

I led a series of workshops in which DNA analysis experts and sequencer technicians were encouraged to think carefully about what data they needed as output from next-generation DNA sequencing machines and how this output could best be represented.

We developed a wide range of graphical representations to display complex data in formats that were easily understood visually; heatmaps, graphs, and green-yellow-red alerts. These outputs were then mocked up for review, alterations were made based on feedback, and real data was used to generate a sample output. In this way, we arrived at methods to capture and display extremely complex outputs that made life much easier for those consuming the data.

Custom Software and IT Services

Led user requirements gathering, development of user stories, and team building, and drove successful outcomes for each project I was involved with.

The client requires various custom applications to support core business processes, driving increased efficiency and leading to overall cost reduction but enhanced cycle time. I have performed a variety of roles, all centered around developing complex business applications, building high-performing teams, and exceeding customer expectations over an extended period of time.

MVP Design and Market Entry Strategy

Developed MVP for innovative health optimization company, led development team, secured high-value partners for market entry.

Prevarex, Inc. was a health optimization company founded by one of the world's leading scientists. It utilized the most recent and comprehensive science relating to health to provide services to clients wishing to improve their current health and avoid future chronic ailments.

We incorporated three types of diagnostics to enable a more comprehensive view of the client's health. In addition to full blood panel and in-person assessment by one of the company's MDs, I developed an early artificial intelligence online diagnostic system that was based on a large training set of common and extremely rare conditions.

The AI diagnostic system scored better than a panel of regular physicians when comparison tests were run.

I led the partner acquisition of high-end health clubs eager to enhance their range of wellness offerings. This afforded access to high net worth individuals willing to spend on health optimization; over time we planned to drive down the price to capture a larger market share and partner with a wider range of organizations. Client outcomes were excellent and word-of-mouth resulted in rapid expansion.

Fintech Product Development

Provided consulting services to a fintech client to specify MVP, create a budget, market entry strategy, and technologies.

A client who provided financial advisory services to young adults (16-25 years of age) in the San Francisco Bay area needed to create online product offerings. I was retained to conduct market research, develop the MVP, specify technology stack(s), create product specifications, recommend technical team roles and candidates, create market entry strategy including key partnerships, and create budgets for years one through three.

Pharmaceuticals Organization Multiple Systems Development

Delivered multiple complex web-based applications for this global pharmaceuticals organization over the course of 3+ years.

I was called on to (i) initiate and drive projects from concept to delivery, (ii) rescue projects that had gone "off the rails" and ensure successful completion, (iii) mentor client personnel, and (iv) contribute to the development of related business processes and support mechanisms.

eCommerce Turn-around

After a large software services company bought an eCommerce startup, I worked with internal teams to perform a turn-around.

The acquired eCommerce platform had great potential but no market vision. I assessed the key value elements of the current technology stack and developed a viable business strategy. Then I developed the product vision that would turn the technology core into a full SaaS offering that was aimed at precise customer needs. I also developed the business plan including go-to-market strategy, key marketing messages, operational requirements, and a roadmap for essential future feature & technology development.

Social App for Smartphones

I developed a concept and then raised venture capital to build and launch a product to serve a huge but previously unrecognized market segment, signing up more than 13 million users within three months of the initial launch.

The smartphone application connected pastors to their congregations privately and intimately and enabled congregations to build interest-specific networks among family, friends, and co-worshippers. Inspiring messages, stories, pictures, and videos could be shared through the app, and pastors could broadcast both live and post-delivery to large numbers of worshippers in a personal and intimate manner and then receive feedback in a controlled and private way.

IT Infrastructure Upgrade

As the CIO of an NIH-funded nonprofit research institution, I was responsible for assessing the current IT infrastructure, the Institute's goals and operational plans, and creating an IT strategy that would meet these goals.

The Institute needed a radical upgrade of its operational systems (finance, grants, HR, etc.) and entirely new capabilities to support new scientific endeavors. I was able to meet both objectives by utilizing open-source technologies and new approaches to large-scale computing. In addition, I introduced essential HIPAA compliance and ensured the Institute's systems were no longer vulnerable to cyberattacks.
1988 - 1992

Master's Degree in Business Administration (Distance Learning, Part Time)

Warwick Business School - Coventry, UK

1987 - 1988

Master's Degree in Systems Engineering

Lancaster University - Lancaster, UK

1986 - 1987

Master's Degree in English Language & Literature

University of Oxford - Oxford, UK

1984 - 1987

Bachelor's Degree in English Language & Literature

University of Oxford - Oxford, UK


Jira, Slack, Microsoft Outlook, iOS SDK, WebView, Sybase PowerDesigner, Apache Airflow, Jenkins, Asana, G Suite, Confluence


ProductPlan, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Docker


Agile Product Management, Requirements Analysis, Iterative Development, Scrum, Database Design, Agile Project Management, Agile, Waterfall Development, Change Management, B2C, Microservices, Testing, Mobile App Design, HIPAA Compliance, Web Architecture, DevOps, Agile Software Development, Data Science, Gamification

Industry Expertise

High-tech Startups, Marketplaces, Professional Services, Health & Wellness, Venture Capital, Health, Computer Security, New Business Ventures, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Telecommunications, Financial Services, Biotechnology, Exercise & Fitness, Nonprofits


Market Entry, Customer Acquisition, Product Marketing, Market Research & Analysis, Business Strategy, Digital Strategy, Software, Software Architecture, Product Vision, Strategy, Technology, Web Applications, Entrepreneurship, Partnership Analysis, Project Planning, Project Scoping, Security Planning, Business, Business Models, Startups, Startup Funding, Startup Consulting, Startup Growth Strategy Development, Process Analysis, Process Design, Organizational Leadership, Competitive Strategy, Teams, Team Building, Team Management, Mentorship, Mentorship & Coaching, Product Development, New Product Development, Technology Consulting, Go-to-market Plans, Lean Startups, Business Consulting, Company Strategy, Management Consulting, Product Strategy Consultant, Market Fit, Product-market Fit, IT Strategy, Software Development Management, Technology Solutions, Software Development, Stakeholder Management, Discovery, Discovery Workshops, Planning, English, Strategic Planning, Strategic Planning & Execution, Product Planning, Product Discovery, Customer Discovery, Product Owner, Process Mapping, Route to Market, System Process Mapping, Business Processes, Technical Product Management, Marketing Strategy, Market Strategy and Research Product Manager, Product Requirements Documentation (PRD), Project Timelines, Product Ownership, Project Management, Requirements & Specifications, Agile Sprints, Agile Deployment, Agile Transformation, Solution Architecture, Business Process Re-engineering, Business Analysis, Business Planning, Writing & Editing, Management, Leadership, Team Mentoring, Presentations, Client Presentations, Executive Presentations, Budget Modeling, Fundraising, Early-stage Startups, Team Leadership, Remote Team Leadership, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Software Implementation, Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), Marketing, Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP), Information Systems, Information Security, Product Strategy, Product Delivery, Product Roadmaps, Product Management, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), CEO, Co-founder, Stakeholder Interviews, User Journeys, Instruction & Coaching, Digital Transformation, Digital Transformation Program Management, Technical Project Management, Market Research, IT Projects, Product Coach, Consulting, Investor Presentations, Pitch Decks, Feature Prioritization, Innovation Strategy, Business Plan Consulting, Revenue Strategy, MVP Design, Workshops, Digital Product Development, System Requirements, Technical Requirements, Information Technology, Developer Relations, Business Cases, User Feedback, Communication, Estimations, Product Development Manager, Product Descriptions, Roadmaps, Feature Roadmaps, Scope, User Interviews, ROI, IT Services, Conceptualization, Innovation, Go-to-market Strategy, Data, Product Research, Specs, Web Platforms, Requirements, IT Business Analysis, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SME), Release Management, Mockups, IT Consulting, IT Infrastructure, Product Conceptualization, Functional Requirements, Technical Business Analysis, Cross-functional Collaboration, Communication Management, Continuous Discovery, Business Requirements, Budgeting, Estimation & Planning, Backlog Management, Legacy Software, Business Technology, Distributed Team Management, Web Development, Feasibility Studies, Large-scale Systems, Motivation, Organization, Technical Documentation, SaaS, eCommerce, eCommerce Platforms, Web & Mobile Applications, Web Application Architecture, Product Launch, B2C Marketing, Launch Strategy, Partnership Strategies, Security, Security Design, Security Audits, Process Ownership, Organizational Design, Competitor Analysis & Profiling, Back-end, Databases, Information Architecture (IA), User Experience (UX), User Engagement, Business to Business (B2B), Business to Consumer (B2C), Enterprise SaaS, Business Development, New Business Development, Enterprise, Growth Strategy, International Growth, Pricing Strategy, Pricing Models, Price Analysis, Channel Strategy, Program Management, Technology Strategy & Architecture, Budget Management, IT Program Management, Migration, Business Administration, Healthcare IT, Wireframing, Third-party Management, Annotated Wireframes, Lean Six Sigma, SAFe 4 Advanced Scrum Master, Agile Leadership, Agile Practices, Build/Buy Analysis, Dashboards, Data Visualization, Project Estimation, Scope of Work, Agile Program Management, Agile Product Delivery, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Software as a Service (SaaS), Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Financial Modeling, IT Systems Engineering, SAP, Cybersecurity, Operations, QA Testing, Mobile Apps, Enterprise Software, Machine Learning, Product Design, IT Security, Product Benchmarking, App UX, CIO, Healthcare Services, User Personas, User Research, App Growth, Training Content, SaaS Product Management, Healthcare Software, CTO, Business Transformation, Business Design, Work Process Design, Business Process Analysis, Operating Models, Business Process Modeling, Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), Apps, Feature Backlog Prioritization, Monetization Models, B2B Partnerships, SWOT Analysis, B2B, Qualitative Research, User Stories, Personas, Coaching, Digital Product Management, Data Strategy, Application Security, Messaging, Business Process Improvement (BPI), Large-scale Projects, Process Optimization, Regulated Entities, Process Improvement, Mobile Applications, Customer Experience, Data Analytics, Data Governance, Data Management, Web App Development, Sprint Planning, Automation, A/B Testing, Finance, Product Positioning, Competitive Intelligence, Competitive Analysis, App Product Management, Subscriptions, Ideation, Data Analysis, Process Automation, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), API Integration, Mobile App Development, Salesforce, Google Workspace, Data-driven Decision-making, Microsoft 365, Government Contracting, Serverless Architecture, Content Strategy, Monetization, Profitability Analysis, Website Redesign, Vendor Management, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Vendors & Suppliers, REST, Kubernetes, APIs, Mobile, Procurement, Fintech, Wealth Management, GraphQL, Systems Engineering, Hasura, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Data Architecture, Systems, Android SDK, Hadoop, MongoDB, Linux, SQL, Oracle, Amazon EC2, Digital Payments, Compliance, User Requirements, Software Deployment, Customer Interviews, Business Process Management (BPM), Investment Banking, White Labeling, Patents

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