Yanju Lawal, Product Manager in Lagos, Nigeria
Yanju Lawal

Product Manager in Lagos, Nigeria

Member since April 3, 2021
Yanju is a strategist and user-centered product manager with a decade of experience leading digital transformations and improving lives by solving real problems. Her multi-sector experience spans insurance, investment, health, edtech, and fintech. She has a unique blend of product marketing, eCommerce, sales, UI/UX, and product delivery experience (B2B, B2B, B2B2C) and has led high-performing cross-functional teams. She also excels at facilitating product training and mentoring product managers.
Yanju is now available for hire

Project Highlights

Expertise

  • Atlassian Jira
  • B2B
  • B2C
  • Digital Product Management
  • Product Strategy
  • User Research
  • User-centered Design (UCD)
  • eCommerce

Education

Select Certifications

Employment

  • Product Strategy Manager - i-invest

    2021 - PRESENT
    Parthian Partners
    • Redefined the product growth strategy in line with the corporate scaleup and spinoff ambition and created a short- and long-term execution roadmap and OKRs towards reaching the set goals.
    • Took ownership of an app redesign project and created a close-out plan towards a hard launch date.
    • Oversaw the product redesign and partnered with the design lead to achieve a user-centric interface design.
    • Analyzed the existing database to create user personas and customer segments based on trends to drive targeted marketing and demand creation initiatives.
    • Managed a database migration project for app and web databases.
    • Defined a product launch plan with clear metrics to track user acquisition, activation, engagement, retention, and satisfaction.
    • Introduced Agile delivery, product discovery, usability testing, and metrics-driven product management into the product development cycles.
  • Head of the Product Management Competency Center

    2020 - 2021
    Venture Garden Group
    • Drove the standardization of the Product Management Competency Center and created a repository of product artifacts which improved the efficiency of product managers across the organization.
    • Facilitated recruitments and ensured the attraction and hiring of quality personnel while driving capacity development programs in line with the organization and product managers' goals on an inclusive, participatory sustainable basis.
    • Championed product management best practices and rigor within the product organization.
    • Developed a framework for enterprise product delivery, team strategy, and OKRs.
  • Head of Product – Advancly and Edutech

    2020 - 2021
    Venture Garden Group
    • Transformed lending in Africa by leading the build and launch of Advancly (Advancly.com) a SaaS platform (Docs.advancly.com) that brought together an ecosystem of funders, aggregators, OEM/suppliers, and borrowers in six months.
    • Led product delivery, implementation, and support for five edtech apps: an app portal, a student information system (SIS), a learning management system (LMS), an exam portal, and an education financing system (EduCollect).
    • Achieved over 100% month-on-month growth in GMV within months of launch by collaborating with C-level executives and stakeholders to build and evangelize the Advancly product vision and unique selling proposition to potential partners and investors.
    • Improved accountability and productivity of two remote teams by 2x by introducing a metrics-driven product management approach and the use of Jira, Kanban, and Planner which drove the adoption of Agile best practices for product and project delivery.
    • Enabled the edtech business to achieve its full-year target even in a pandemic year by defining and driving the implementation of a disruptive growth strategy.
    • Established and maintained strategic partnerships and engagements with several third-party service providers for key integrations to achieve product-market fit and optimal product delivery.
    • Translated short-term and long-term strategies into a set of an annual work plan, OKRs, roadmaps, and release schedules towards reaching the individual product vision.
    • Drove user-centered product design, development, and delivery by designing and coordinating surveys, discovery interviews, and usability testing.
  • Head of User Experience and Product Management

    2017 - 2020
    AXA Mansard
    • Incorporated overall business objectives into each product vision and roadmap which enabled seamless prioritization of execution.
    • Oversaw the management and optimization of two business-to-business and four business-to-customer eCommerce channels across four business segments as well as two internal-facing applications.
    • Led the planning and implementation of short- and long-term strategies to achieve the digital transformation agenda for an insurtech business.
    • Successfully managed the redesign of the company’s website—harmonizing the corporate and transactional sites into a single website—to align with new global brand guidelines while improving the UX, discoverability, and overall performance.
    • Led the platform upgrade to newer technology and made the site PWA-ready. This improved Alexa and similar web rankings and increased the number of active users as well as the leads-to-sales conversion.
    • Led and managed the development and launch of an unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) project *987# that catered to the company’s four business segments (insurance, investment, health, and pensions), which promoted self-service and increased revenue.
    • Managed the development of an AI-driven robo-advisor (called Coach Idris) and the redesign of the company’s mobile app.
    • Collaborated with key stakeholders to grow a retail e-business portfolio from six to 14 across three business segments (insurance, investment, and health).
    • Facilitated the automation of post-purchase interactions like claims, liquidation, straight-through renewal, quote system, and so on; also designed the offerings for product bundling.
    • Supported product marketing initiatives and demand creation to drive customer acquisition and a 10x revenue growth within 24 months.
  • eCommerce Officer (Associate Product Officer)

    2015 - 2017
    AXA Mansard
    • Supported the executive leadership in setting up the eCommerce team as a pioneer member and was responsible for optimizing the user experience across all digital platforms.
    • Served as liaison between business stakeholders and development team to digitize traditional retail products into digital (the product lines grew from one to six).
    • Created user flows, wireframes, and mockups for the features and products deployed on a platform used to manage sales generated through third-party partners and corporate organizations (a digital worksite).
    • Successfully conducted insightful user research to validate product offerings, which necessitated the deployment of two major product lines (health and education insurance).
    • Defined process flows and mapped the user journey for features and products onboarded on the eCommerce platform.
  • Product Marketing Associate

    2012 - 2015
    AXA Mansard
    • Enhanced the brand position (#1 in Nigeria) by facilitating the design of several marketing collaterals, advertising materials, marketing campaigns, trade shows, events, and other promotional activities to increase product awareness and adoption.
    • Conducted a product portfolio review and analysis to recommend solutions to the team which informed strategies to maximize marketing, branding, and communication decisions.
    • Served as a pioneer member of the new product development team (NPD) that developed two flagship products designed specifically to meet the client’s requirements based on market intelligence and customer needs analysis.
    • Facilitated several product-and-sales-training sessions to sales agents and assisted in new product launch and release activities.
    • Conducted product reviews, discovery interviews, surveys, market research, competitor analysis, and customer discovery sessions which facilitated the development of new products and features.
    • Served as a project lead for a rebranding project due to the divestment of a major shareholder and onboarding of a new investor.
  • Relationship Manager — High Net-worth Individuals

    2009 - 2011
    AXA Mansard
    • Created a novel customized insurance product (called Umbrella plan) to meet the needs of high net-worth individuals (HNIs).
    • Managed a high-profile clientele database and achieved over 90% customer satisfaction rate.
    • Reduced churn and increased customer retention by 80% within 12 months.
    • Consistently met and exceeded financial targets for the team.
    • Received commendation for excellent service for two consecutive years.

Project History

  • Advancly | Closed Loop Lending-as-a-service Software
    Led the product management, design, integrations, tech stack migration, product launch, and marketing initiatives for a client's lending-as-a-service software.

    Advancly is a loan services platform that offers lenders and non-lenders a 100% digital loan application, automated risk assessment, liquidity, servicing, and repayment tracking solution in a B2B2C approach. I managed the product from the ground up and successfully achieved product-market fit within the first few months of the MVP launch, which rapidly attained growth stage with an increased market share within six months.

    The ability to support customers (e.g., lenders and non-lenders) to make the right decision at the right speed was an essential part of the platform which required integrations with payment gateways, data validation service, credit decision engine, know your customer (KYC) integrations, and credit bureaus. I also managed the engagements with third-party providers—ensuring that there were no blockers during and after integration.

    I collaborated with the business lead and CTO to ensure that the platform was adequately positioned to support the key players within the lending ecosystem: funder, aggregator, OEM/supplier, and borrowers. I also worked with the design lead to instill a rapid design, test-and-learn approach which saved development time as most iterations were done at the design stage.

  • EduCollect | Education Finance Platform
    Spearheaded the end-to-end product strategy, execution, and launch of an education financing marketplace that serves as a bridge between education finance providers and borrowers.

    EduCollect is an education finance marketplace that connects funders to borrowers in order to provide access to educational loans without collateral and at relatively low-interest rates. The goal is to bridge the gap between demand for and access to quality education. I championed the definition and execution of the product delivery roadmap and growth-hack strategy.

    I actively collaborated with various internal and external stakeholders to coordinate the full product development lifecycle, including strategic planning, requirements analysis, QA testing, and product launch. I then facilitated the go-to-market strategy while providing technical guidance on achieving customer satisfaction.

    I also led sprint planning sessions, daily stand-ups, backlog grooming, and sprint retrospective sessions. I conducted usability testing, user interviews, surveys to gather customer insight for rapid iterations as a result of my sophisticated understanding of customer motivation and a knack for proactively driving go-to-market strategies and achieving product-market fit.

    In addition, I provided personalized training, coaching, and mentorship to a team of product officers and business analysts to ensure their professional and personal development

  • MyAXA Mansard Website Revamp | One-stop Non-banking Financial Service platform
    Led the platform redesign and upgrade to newer technology—making the site PWA ready; this improved Alexa and similar web ranking and increased the number of active users as well as the leads-to-sales conversion.

    AXA Mansard is a member of the AXA Group (a leading global insurer) that offers a range of financial products. The web platform called MyAXA Web is a self-service platform for the purchase and management of insurance, investment, and healthcare plans. The overall goal of the revamp was to redesign and upgrade the platform to newer technology and improve user experience and customer satisfaction.

    I defined the product strategy, scope, requirement, and execution roadmap. I also oversaw the implementation by working closely with cross-functional teams and relevant stakeholders (internal/external) to deliver the product objectives. I then designed the onboarding, pre-, during- and post-purchase process flows and collaborated with the design lead to successfully align with new global brand guidelines while improving the user experience, discoverability, and overall performance.

    I also managed the engagements with third-party service providers, business expansion partnerships, and the global team. I followed up by conducting surveys to gather customer insight for rapid iterations. Finally, I also handled the requirements analysis, user acceptance testing, usability testing, user interviews, and the creation of a detailed go-live plan.

  • VigiLearn Exam Portal | Computer-based Test (CBT) Examination Software
    Led the full development and launch of a custom CBT exam platform for a distance learning institution within two weeks.

    The VigiLearn exam portal is an offline and online computer-based test (CBT) examination platform that helps institutions (especially Tertiary) to conduct assesssments and examinations remotely which was a major need as a result of COVlD-l9 pandemic that made it impossible for the examinations to hold phisically globally.

    I led the requirements gathering from institituions, scope definition, implementation, and launch of the MVP in one sprint (about two weeks). I conducted product discovery interviews with key players and developed an execution roadmap for subsequent releases.

    I applied the Agile methodology to manage a team of developers and product designer to ensure timely delivery. I also facilitated the sprint planning sessions, daily stand-ups, and sprint retrospective sessions.

  • MyAXA *987# | Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) Platform for Financial Inclusion
    Led the development of Nigeria’s foremost non-banking financial inclusion platform

    AXA Mansard’s Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platform—sometimes referred to as quick codes or feature code—is a communication protocol used by GSM cellular telephones to communicate with preferred service providers without using the internet. I was responsible for the scope definition, requirement gathering, process flow definition, content development, user testing, and application development management.

    I led the end-to-end product strategy, execution, and launch of the financial inclusion application, which helped to deliver AXA Mansard’s financial services to low-income customers, especially those in remote areas with limited internet service.

    The code served as a great tool to help customers solve location and access problems. Users can buy new products and policies, renew existing policies and make payments for value-added services by simply dialing *987# from their mobile phones, even without internet.

  • Coach Idris | My AXA Robo-advisor
    Championed the development of Nigeria’s first non-banking financial robo-advisor

    Coach Idris is a digital platform that provides automated, algorithm-driven investment and insurance advisory services with no human interaction. It collects information about their finance and future goals through an online survey and then uses the data to advise them automatically–directing them to the right products in minutes.

    I was fully accountable for the requirements gathering, ideation workshops, scope definition, algorithm document, custom content development, technical specifications, and execution plan. I actively collaborated with various internal and external stakeholders to coordinate the full product development lifecycle, testing, and iterations. I also led the product launch plan.

  • My AXA Plus Mobile App | 1-stop Non-banking Financial Service App
    Managed a team of developers and product designers through the development and launch of the MyAXA Plus app for Android and iOS.

    MyAXA Plus App is a 3-in-1 self-service platform for purchasing and managing insurance, investment, and healthcare plans. The overall goal is to offer a convenient way to manage health plans, insurance policies, and investments while delivering a seamless pre-, during- and post-purchase experience within one application.

    I was fully responsible for coordinating the full product development lifecycle, including planning, requirements gathering, design thinking sessions, customer interviews, competitor analysis, wireframing, user testing, and validation.

    I also facilitated the go-to-market strategy while providing technical guidance on achieving optimal user experience. In addition, I led sprint planning sessions, daily standups, backlog grooming, and sprint retrospective sessions.

  • i-invest | Inter-dealer Brokerage Application that Simplifies Complex Investments
    Introduced agile delivery, product discovery, and metrics-driven product management into the product development process.

    i-invest is the first-ever app in Nigeria that enables customers to securely purchase and manage treasury bills, Eurobonds, and equities directly from the mobile device without needing any banking officials, paper documents, or forms to fill.

    I oversaw the product redesign and partnered with the design lead to achieve user-centric interface design. I was also responsible for market research initiatives, competitor analysis, product review, and analysis. I then conducted usability testing and customer validation. In addition, I introduced agile delivery, product discovery, and metrics-driven product management into the product development process.

Education

  • Diploma in Marketing Communications
    2014 - 2016
    The Chartered Institute of Marketing - United Kingdom
  • Master's Degree in Public Health (Health Management)
    2012 - 2014
    University of Lagos - Lagos, Nigeria
  • Bachelor's Degree in Physiology
    2005 - 2009
    University of Ilorin - North Central, Nigeria

Certifications

  • The Emotionally Intelligent Leader
    JANUARY 2021 - PRESENT
    Udemy
  • Management Certification in Developing People, Leading Teams, and Process Improvement
    DECEMBER 2020 - PRESENT
    Udemy
  • Product Masterclass: How to Build Digital Products
    JULY 2020 - PRESENT
    Product School
  • Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt
    FEBRUARY 2020 - PRESENT
    International Lean Six Sigma Institute
  • User Experience Design
    AUGUST 2019 - PRESENT
    The School of UX, London, United Kingdom
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
    DECEMBER 2018 - PRESENT
    Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • User Research Methods and Best Practices
    MARCH 2018 - PRESENT
    Interaction Design Foundation
  • Sales Leadership
    OCTOBER 2017 - PRESENT
    Pan-Atlantic University - Lagos Business School
  • Design Sprint
    NOVEMBER 2016 - PRESENT
    Udacity

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