Tatiana Vasilyeva, Product Manager for JetBrains Educational Products, shares her story with Maria Lebedeva, QA Engineer in the MPS project, about finding inspiration and fulfillment in her work.
Table of Contents:
- Journey to Product Management
- A Good Release
- Personal Efficiency
- Educational Products and Educational Content
- Project-Based Learning
Journey to Product Management
Maria Lebedeva: I want to begin with the fact that you and me, we both followed the same path: we went to the Physics and Mathematics Lyceum No. 239 and then attended the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics at St. Petersburg State University. Well, and now we both work at JetBrains. I would like to know how you found yourself at this job.
Tatiana Vasilyeva: At university, I majored in Applied Informatics in International Relations, because, when I enrolled at the university, I wanted to do something cross-disciplinary, rather than just studying programming. Nevertheless, at the end of my second year, I went to work as a junior developer because I was genuinely interested in programming: I wanted to write code in a real industry context and not just as part of academic projects. Then, during my third year, I came across Frederick Brooks’ famous book, The Mythical Man-Month, which greatly influenced me. I understood that I wanted to move towards project management and process management in IT.
By the end of my fifth year, I was no longer coding. I was leading the development team and I was building Agile processes, mainly Scrum, in my team and in a few other teams. I actively participated in Agile conferences, passed certifications, and was one of the founders of the Agile community in St. Petersburg. However, after being introduced to Lean Methodology and completing the training course by Mary and Tom Poppendieck, I began to lean (no pun intended!) towards product management and away from project management. I became fascinated with not only building processes, but understanding exactly what the product should look like, working with the requirements, and conveying to the developers the idea of why we are doing what we are doing, and for whom we are doing it. That’s when I realized I wanted to switch to product management. Since I had been working in outsourcing, where product management is usually done on the client side, not on the contractor side, I began to consider product-based IT companies. At the same time, I wanted to find a company making products that were truly interesting to me.
Then, the Product Marketing Manager vacancy at JetBrains caught my eye. And I got really excited. I knew and loved IntelliJ IDEA while I was still a developer. At that moment, the idea that each product needed its own PMM was just starting to catch on at JetBrains. I never thought that I wanted to work in marketing. But the prospect of working on a good product appealed to me so much that I applied for the job. As a result, I was hired as a product marketing manager and assigned to the RubyMine project. I must say that I had some industry development experience in Ruby on Rails, and this, of course, played a role in this decision.
M: That’s very interesting! So was this in 2011?
T: Yes, eight years ago. It’s hard to believe!