Neil Chalk, Product Manager in Brighton, United Kingdom
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Neil Chalk

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

Location
Brighton, United Kingdom
Toptal Member Since
March 8, 2021

Neil is a senior product manager. If you've taken a flight in the past 15 years, chances are that you've received a message from the software Neil helped shape and build. He has extensive experience designing travel technology workflows designed to proactively keep you, airline staff, and travel arrangers informed from the second the booking is created and throughout your journey via brilliant communications. Neil is an expert in specialist content and document management systems.

Project Highlights

Bashfully: Online Profile Site for Students
Led the design and development of an online profile for managing job applications and experimenting with presenting personal job stories.
Major 15below User Portal Refresh
Successfully led the overhaul of a user portal to establish a scalable multi-tenanted system that brought the content management feature rollout time from years to weeks.
Marketing Site for WayFare Travel
Led the development and structure of the WayFare Travel marketing site.

Expertise

Work Experience

CTO

2020 - PRESENT
WayFare
  • Worked with CEO to build out product vision and a supporting platform roadmap.
  • Launched responsive marketing site with fare calculator to illustrate the fees from the embedded finance offering. Alongside this led the creation of a beta platform with authentication and integration into flight search for booking.
  • Led the creation of continuous delivery and product discovery processes.

Product Manager

2013 - 2020
15below
  • Led the early development of a new disruption management user portal for day-of travel passenger communications. This added a new use case to the platform to increase the total addressable market and additional module fee as a new revenue stream.
  • Led the overhaul of a user portal to a scalable multi-tenanted system that brought the CMS feature rollout time from years to weeks. User satisfaction went from an average of 3/5 to 4/5.
  • Created product processes to create a living roadmap that was delivered as a founder member of the product team at 15below.

Technical Project Manager/Configuration Consultant

2005 - 2013
15below
  • Project-managed during the implementation and roll-out of functionality, for example, integrating with a data warehouse that allowed messages to be delivered to increase revenue via targeted cross-selling in the order of A$10 million per year.
  • Oversaw the update of the 15below platform for a US-based client when their reservation system was upgraded, in coordination with the client support team leader. Post-upgrade, we were the first third party-ready, this ensured uninterrupted service.
  • Set up 15below’s first overseas office to support their Asia Pacific clients during a secondment to Melbourne. Coordination of offsite project team members and remote reporting to internal stakeholders was essential.

Analyst Developer

2005 - 2008
15below
  • Led the implementation project for the first full service carrier on the platform, this required extensions to process the more complicated bookings and business rules than had previously been processed.
  • Led the creation of a marketing email capability and tech lead for the first client using this platform. This enabled the use of graphical HTML emails, with content management system support to upload campaign assets such as images.
  • Created the first external API for the platform, this enabled real time ticketing to be sent directly from the online booking engines.

Consultant

2001 - 2005
Atkins
  • Created document management and workflow systems to manage large-scale infrastructure projects, such as a £500 million overhaul of a high street bank's branches to cover the survey, design, and construction phases.
  • Developed profitable bespoke solutions for public and private sector clients in the UK, such as the Office of the Rail Regulator, Railtrack, Public Record Office, Bass Hotels, and the Environment Agency.
  • Researched group awareness in collaborative virtual environments as part of the Atkins Research and Innovation department, including EU-funded research. For example, IST-10846 TOWER: Theatre of Work Enabling Relationships.

Bashfully: Online Profile Site for Students

Led the design and development of an online profile for managing job applications and experimenting with presenting personal job stories.

Project to help students and recent graduates create awesome online profiles. Bashfully aims to give the traditional online resume a bit of a shake-up. We are doing this with guided profile creation and interesting visualizations. Along with relevant integrations to show off portfolio pieces.

Major 15below User Portal Refresh

Successfully led the overhaul of a user portal to establish a scalable multi-tenanted system that brought the content management feature rollout time from years to weeks.

We successfully delivered a technical and user experience overhaul of the product's main user portal. This covered the key user experiences of:
* Content management
* Reference data management
* User management
* Ad-hoc manual notification sending, where the main user journey went from a 3-stage process with at least 14 clicks to a single process with a minimum of four clicks.

This also built a solid foundation for later enhancements to the product. This project also changed the way of being entirely multi-tenanted with continuous delivery for gaining quick feedback. This launched with five European-based airlines in four months.

Improving HTML Support in 15below's Notification Platform

Led the design and development of platform support of HTML content as 15below scaled from startup to an established SME.

A key achievement was porting a central component from legacy VB6 code to VB.NET, including some key enhancements to dynamic content functionality. My contribution was to introduce simple programming concepts into the template language used. This included responsibility for preserving existing functionality and designing the enhancements to increase the range of notifications possible. To date, this component has been central to sending hundreds of millions of ticket, email, voice, SMS, and print notifications a year.

To see the impact of this project, look in your email or on your phone. Chances are, if you've booked a ticket or flown in the past year, you will have had one of 15below's notifications.

Marketing Site for WayFare Travel

Led the development and structure of the WayFare Travel marketing site.

Created a marketing site that included a calculator for illustrating the fee structure of using the embedded finance service. This used no code and low code solutions to deploy without dedicated development resources and ultra-low-cost hosting requirements. There is also a member's only dashboard with flight search integration via a third-party data feed.

Mining Project Information Using Storytelling

https://www.actapress.com/Abstract.aspx?paperId=19068

Conducted industrial research into future directions of project management systems.

Collaboration systems are a key part of a knowledge management strategy. The focus is often on the content of the documents and associated metadata; this paper examines how other knowledge in the form of the interaction of the project collaborators can be used. Design issues in the storytelling as a method of imparting this knowledge were discussed, and desirable features in
database systems put forward.

Emerging Technology Briefing Documents

Created a briefing document for 15below customers on the possible uses of artificial intelligence and social media in travel tech.

Given the interest in artificial intelligence, 15below's customers were asking for guidance on how this could create business value. So, Neil created a briefing document for 15below customers on the possible uses of artificial intelligence in travel tech.

Likewise, as social media started to replace email and SMS in personal communication, 15below's customers were seeking answers in how they could use this to improve customer service. Neil then created a briefing document for 15below customers on the usage of social media in passenger communications, detailing the use cases, processes, and different networks used around the globe.

Both of these were printed as booklets and distributed at 15below hosted workshops and user conferences.

Next Generation Platform Research

Led the product management of a next generation research and development project.

The research and development project re-imagined the functionality for an established platform from the ground up. Ultimately the research was not used directly, but tools and techniques trialed here were integrated into the legacy platform to reduce costs and improve performance.

Dynamic Commercial Offers in Emails

Led the design and implementation of a service to combine transactional booking data, static email templates, and third-party data of tailored offers in real time.

Neil created a framework that allowed third-party content, such as car hire or hotel rooms, to be inserted into email notifications without any further development as a support configuration change. This contrasted with competitor products that had hard-coded email content at the time.
2014 - 2021

Master's Degree in Technology Management

The Open University - Milton Keynes, UK

2009 - 2010

Diploma in Motion Picture Production

Brighton Film School - Brighton

1997 - 2001

Bachelor's Degree in Artificial Intelligence

University of Sussex - Brighton, England

JANUARY 2018 - PRESENT

IBM Blockchain Fundamentals

IBM

NOVEMBER 2017 - PRESENT

DAT249x: Ethics and Law in Analytics and AI

EdX

APRIL 2016 - PRESENT

CORe: Credential of Readiness

HBX/Harvard Business School

APRIL 2013 - PRESENT

Product Owner Survival Camp

Neuri Consulting

APRIL 2008 - APRIL 2013

PRINCE2 Foundation

APMG International

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