Kate Makrigiannis, Product Manager in San Jose, CA, United States
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Kate Makrigiannis

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

Location
San Jose, CA, United States
Toptal Member Since
September 14, 2020

Kate is a product leader with 10 years of experience delivering valuable MVPs, impactful platform data features, and discovery insights for startups, nonprofits, and enterprise organizations. She helps entrepreneurs, product leaders, and teams sort through details to focus on what matters most and empowers people to experiment with new ways to work efficiently. She has a reputation as an engaging group facilitator with lightning-fast synthesis skills and a knack for persuading meaningful action.

Project Highlights

Managing Fibromyalgia Pain with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) App
Built an MVP for the industry-leading Stanza healthcare mobile app (iOS and Android) that delivers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help patients with fibromyalgia use mindfulness techniques to manage their chronic pain effectively.
Modernized Architecture Strategy for Ticket Marketplace Pricing Domain
Crafted a phased domain-driven architecture migration strategy for StubHub's pricing platform to enable dynamic pricing experimentation and a single source of truth for pricing data.
Product Design and Development | Airspace Provisioning for US Air Force Mission Planning
Launched an MVP for US Air Force mission planners to manage a 4-dimensional airspace library.

Expertise

Work Experience

Product and UX Consultant

2020 - PRESENT
Freelance Clients
  • Provided thoughtful consulting and advice for organizations and individuals doing product work that matters.
  • Crafted engaging product discovery curriculum for Sagely mentors to educate and empower the US Air Force's newest electromagnetic spectrum warfare software teams at Wavelength.
  • Optimized Gatsby's first-time UX by removing distracting elements and reducing CMS starter site integration and deployment steps to decrease onboarding dropoff rates.
  • Launched an agency subscription tier to accommodate customers with larger teams, ways to organize client site projects, and client site billing transfers to increase a key customer segment's satisfaction, retention, and lifetime value (LTV).
  • Fostered meaningful mentorship and coaching relationships with aspiring and entry-level product and UX folks through My Mentor Path, Out in Tech, and Black Girls Code.

Principal Product Management Coach

2022 - 2024
Kaiser Permanente
  • Transformed a massive traditional project into a dynamic product org chasing measurable results.
  • Reframed cross-portfolio planning agendas to focus on sharing insights from discovery and collaboration on outcome-driven initiatives rather than granular project statuses and deadlines.
  • Designed and facilitated nine OKR workshops for senior executives to dig into data, brainstorm ideas, and prioritize North Star metrics for each member-facing product group in the coming year.
  • Executed monthly strategic experiments to optimize product development processes, significantly shortening cycle times while boosting the measurable value delivered.
  • Ignited product communities with engaging workshops and "Bring-Your-Own-Backlog" coaching office-hours events for leaders and product managers to connect, share ideas, and grow together.
  • Published 12 interactive team workshops with hands-on activities for various topics: product vision, OKRs, user personas, discovery, service blueprints, user journey maps, and roadmaps to guide 300+ IT employees from project to product model.

Group Product Manager, Platform Data

2020 - 2022
Zendesk
  • Influenced technical platform data teams with user-centered design and experience thinking.
  • Developed custom objects to weave crucial business data into support workflows, providing agents more context to enable faster ticket resolution and advanced automation to solve known problems quickly and route complex tickets to specialists.
  • Conducted user and market research to identify key use cases for custom data, competitive gaps, and opportunities for strong first-time admin onboarding/schema set-up experiences.
  • Rallied support from cross-functional stakeholders to prioritize addressing key technical debt within custom fields to establish lookup fields as a solid foundation for custom data efforts.
  • Enhanced the UI for Support's Customer Context panel with a chronological interaction history timeline.
  • Represented custom data, logic, and automation teams at platform all-hands events.

Product Management Consultant

2020 - 2021
B Lab
  • Guided B Lab's IT transformation from a waterfall-style model to a user-centered, outcome-driven product approach to drastically reduce the time for companies to complete short-term impact goals and finish the extensive B Corp certification process.
  • Created user journey maps informed by user and stakeholder interviews to uncover pain points and opportunities in certification and impact management.
  • Hired and onboarded a lead project manager to continue the work full-time.

Senior Manager, Product Management

2016 - 2020
VMware
  • Coached client product managers and teams to develop greenfield products, modernize applications, and drive customer research and discovery using Lean UX and Agile XP practices.
  • Directly managed a San Francisco team of product management and UX design consultants working to coach and enable agency client practitioners while guiding execution simultaneously.
  • Supported regional growth by delivering pitch presentations in prospective client office tours, providing product management perspectives in contract scoping sessions, and guiding staff allocation to match consultants with appropriate opportunities.
  • Conducted initial discovery interviews and personal development: What's happening in the current problem space today? Who are the people involved? What problems with existing tech are out there?
  • Evaluated hypotheses and risk elimination via prototypes and usability testing: Can we validate our assumptions about this solution—directly with users—before we build anything? How will we measure failure versus success?
  • Led solution framing via designing user flows and interaction screens: How quickly can we solve the top-prioritized problem? Which solution do we think we can deliver value with the fastest?
  • Performed stakeholder management: What value are the business stakeholders aiming for? How can we tackle a user problem in a way that also delivers that business value?
  • Established a weekly Product Management Campfire meeting to bring all product managers together to share resources and new learnings and to workshop product strategies for live software and real team problems.

Product Management Instructor

2017 - 2018
General Assembly
  • Curated and taught a 10-week product management course with eight students practicing class lecture concepts within weekly graded homework assignments using their own product ideas, culminating in a final product pitch presentation.
  • Handled themes: Lean MVP hypotheses, problem statements, user personas, interview techniques, product-market fit, prioritization, roadmaps, key metrics (OKRs), UX design, sketching, wireframes vs. prototypes, assumptions, and usability testing.
  • Gained positive feedback and contributed to students' high scores: "My instructor effectively helped me learn" (9.5/10); "Lessons were well-organized with sufficient time for activities" (9.4/10); "I'm prepared to continue outside of class" (9.2/10).
  • Taught 2-hour interactive Agile Software Development and Product Management 101 classes each month to both small and large groups of the General Assembly community.
  • Spoke on panels about breaking into product management and personally mentored product and design students through career transitions.

Product Owner, Customer Loyalty

2016 - 2016
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)
  • Facilitated agile product discovery and development for two customer relationship management products used by 5,000+ hotels worldwide to enhance guest experiences on-property.
  • Led product research, concept prototyping, and development to redesign the web app experience for franchise hotel managers to create, schedule, and redeem on-site guest promotions.
  • Managed the product roadmap, backlog, release schedule, and offshore development budget for a daily guest arrivals informational report emailed to hotel front desks to prepare personalized welcome experiences using loyalty rewards member data.

Certified Scrum Master

2013 - 2016
Three Five Two
  • Facilitated and coached teams on Agile (Scrum) software and web development methods for numerous projects.
  • Led product roadmaps, backlog refinement, release management, sprint planning, daily stand-ups, closeouts, and team retrospectives.
  • Oversaw and conducted user experience research and testing. Developed and delivered stakeholder presentations.
  • Led the development of PlanningPoker.com from ideation to Agile product development in partnership with Mountain Goat Software to monetization and beyond. Assisted with QA testing and user research sessions and handled customer support tickets.
  • Served as the lead scrum master on the company's largest client project to date. Managed two teams comprising development, design, and UX (25 team members) on a multimillion-dollar automotive project.

Managing Fibromyalgia Pain with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) App

https://swingtherapeutics.com/stanza/

Built an MVP for the industry-leading Stanza healthcare mobile app (iOS and Android) that delivers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help patients with fibromyalgia use mindfulness techniques to manage their chronic pain effectively.

BACKGROUND
Existing prescriptive drug treatment options for patients with chronic pain can often cause more problems than they solve. Therapy is expensive and can require more effort than patients can expend; plus, scheduled appointments don't treat unplanned flare-ups.

CHALLENGE
How might we deliver effective CBT to patients wherever they may be in relation to their condition?

RESULTS
• Established repeatable lesson program architecture with chapters, daily activities, and reflection.
• Populated a lean content management system with text, audio, and image content.
• Defined pacing goals for patients to consume content, analytics to track actual patient pace, nudging, and gating features to correct patients to the “right pace” for effective treatment.
• Focused on HIPAA compliance and clinical best practices throughout development, including prep for medical device quality audit before the FDA pivotal trial.

Modernized Architecture Strategy for Ticket Marketplace Pricing Domain

https://www.k8mak.com/product-work/modernized-architecture-for-ticket-marketplace-pricing-domain

Crafted a phased domain-driven architecture migration strategy for StubHub's pricing platform to enable dynamic pricing experimentation and a single source of truth for pricing data.

USERS
In this case, humans who care about the effort: development teams and business stakeholders, with end users being ticket buyers and sellers,

PROBLEM
Over time, the architecture for a growing ticketing marketplace sprawled and twisted into an unmanageable state—base ticket listing prices are calculated, adjusted, and stored in multiple places with no one source of truth. This can impact customer journeys (seeing one price throughout a buy flow and then another a couple of clicks later), making it tricky to enhance the system with dynamic pricing functionality and, ultimately, negatively impacting the bottom line.

RESULTS
• Reimagined ticketing price architecture using real-life business and customer flows.
• Facilitated event storming for both buy and sell use cases to establish critical domains.
• Mapped a future state to include single-domain data storage and synchronous API calls, along with asynchronous pub/sub messaging for widely consumed state changes.
• Enabled the development team to think critically about future states without getting too bogged down in the complexities of now.

Product Design and Development | Airspace Provisioning for US Air Force Mission Planning

https://www.k8mak.com/product-work/airspace-provisioning

Launched an MVP for US Air Force mission planners to manage a 4-dimensional airspace library.

BACKGROUND
To prevent mid-air collisions, certain complicated missions require precise airspace planning to ensure that certain airplanes fly in the right places, at the right altitudes, and at the right times. People who request airspace don't have much visibility into existing airspace libraries and often don't specialize in airspace knowledge, leading to messy and incomplete requests. Airspace managers need an easy way to deconflict airspaces that overlap in location, altitude, and time.

RESULTS
• Conducted 20+ user interviews across multiple air operations centers to understand and map the current processes for mission planning and airspace management.
• Crafted a roadmap to digitize a previously manual, error-prone airspace request process.
• Implemented geospatial map visualization to enhance situational awareness.
• Devised automated system suggestions to manage location, altitude, and time conflicts, significantly decreasing mission planning time and reducing overall airspace conflicts.
2008 - 2012

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre Arts, Psychology

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University - Blacksburg, VA, USA

APRIL 2024 - PRESENT

AI for Product Management

Pendo

FEBRUARY 2024 - PRESENT

AI Fundamentals

DataCamp

FEBRUARY 2024 - PRESENT

Data Literacy

DataCamp

FEBRUARY 2020 - PRESENT

Good Clinical Practice Training for Social and Behavioral Research

Society of Behavioral Medicine

FEBRUARY 2014 - PRESENT

Certified ScrumMaster

Scrum Alliance

Tools

Slack, Google Docs, Pivotal Tracker, Zoom, Google Slides, Jira, Usertesting.com, Trello, InVision, Figma, Sketch

Paradigms

Scrum, Agile Workflow, Agile, Kanban, Event-driven Architecture, Domain-driven Design (DDD), Acceptance Testing, Team Development, Key Performance Metrics, Test-driven Development (TDD), Usability Testing, Agile Software Development, User Testing, Mobile App Design, Agile Product Management

Platforms

Zendesk

Industry Expertise

Department of Defense

Other

User Research, User Flows, User Personas, User Journeys, User-centered Design (UCD), Extreme Programming, Scrum Coaching, Product Roadmaps, Roadmaps, Feature Roadmaps, User Stories, Feature Backlog Prioritization, Feature Prioritization, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Agile Coaching, Agile Leadership, Agile Sprints, Backlog Management, Backlog Grooming, Product Strategy, Product Coach, Strategic Planning & Execution, Storytelling, User Workflows, UX Research, User Experience (UX), Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Stakeholder Management, Stakeholder Interviews, UX Sketching, Product Vision, User Empathy, Teamwork, Scrum Master, Estimations, Cross-functional Collaboration, Product Management, Product Design, Consulting, Business Processes, Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RACI), Software as a Service (SaaS), Advisory, Startups, Market Research, Go-to-market Plans, MVP Design, Data Products, Lean Product Manager, Decision Trees, App Design, UX Wireframes, Business Requirements, Web Development, Chatbots, Technical Documentation, Data Integration, Web & Mobile Applications, Google Sheets, User Onboarding, Responsive Web Design (RWD), Story Mapping, Jobs to be Done (JTBD), Release Management, Pitch Preparation, Pitch Decks, Pitch Deck Consultant, Wireframe to Product, Wireframing, Prototyping, Documentation, Process Documentation, Microsoft PowerPoint, UX Strategy, Objectives & Key Results (OKRs), Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Customer Support, Stakeholder Engagement, UX Design, Value Proposition, Proposals, Research, Consumer Behavior, Mobile Applications, Customer Success, Feasibility Studies, iOS, Digital Health, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Mobile, Technical Product Management, Mobile UX, Go-to-market Strategy, eCommerce, APIs, Travel, Fintech, Android, Booking Apps, Miro, Mobile Apps, Offshore Team Management, Data Visualization, Product Research, Competitor Analysis & Profiling, Accessibility, Lean Experiments, Lean UX, Customer Journeys, Design Strategy, API Integration, Good Clinical Practice (GCP), Clinical Research, Lean, Personas, Teaching, Instruction & Coaching, Product Ownership, Waterfall Methodology, Product Discovery, Metrics, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Sprint Planning, Front-end, Strategy, User Journey Maps, Use Cases, Use Case Analysis, SQL, Data Queries, Competitive Analysis, Product Launch, Pricing Strategy, Curriculum Design, Curriculum Development, Leadership, Product Leadership, Community Growth, Outcome-driven Innovation (ODI), Team Leadership, Software Consulting, Product Consultant, Architecture, Data Architecture, Event Storming, Geolocation, Mapping, Data, Data Analysis, ChatGPT

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