Welcome to the second edition of Walter Humans, where we celebrate the outstanding professionals who make our company a success.
Today, we shine the spotlight on Nikolina Nastić, our brilliant Product Owner and respected Team Lead.
Nikolina’s expertise in product management and her exceptional leadership skills have been invaluable to our organization’s growth and success. Her dedication to delivering top-quality results has earned her the respect and trust of both her team and clients.
Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Nikolina Nastic, so join us as we delve into her career journey and learn more about her unique approach to achieving success.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
By education, I am a civil engineer and I have worked on different construction projects, including designing constructive phases of buildings, static calculations, consulting, and outsourcing.
In the last five years, however, I’ve shifted my focus to software development for the construction industry, specifically the development of Autodesk Revit Plugins (Naviate).
At first, I shifted my career to working as a QA tester and Scrum Master, and since 2018 I have been working as Product Owner for Naviate Structural and Naviate Rebar applications.
It’s been an interesting transition from civil engineering, for sure!
What inspired you to pursue a career as a Product Owner?
Well, I find the role itself inspiring due to the opportunity to collaborate with diverse stakeholders and development teams and be the link between them.
At the same time, the satisfaction of seeing successful software products that meet the needs of users is always motivating and rewarding!
What do you enjoy most about working as a Product Owner?
Product ownership is like playing a game of chess — you have to make strategic moves to prioritize and guide the development of the software product and anticipate the needs of the users and the market.
I like the feeling when ideas come to life.
When you see that something that was just an idea or someone’s wish becomes a real thing and the satisfaction of knowing that I played a part in making it happen keeps me motivated and passionate about my work.
How do you like to spend your free time outside of work?
I consider myself someone who values work-life balance, and I truly believe that taking time outside of work is essential for overall well-being.
For me, being active and engaging in outdoor activities is a great way to clear my mind and recharge my batteries, so I consider hiking and skiing to be my favorite activities.
Traveling, and meeting new countries and cultures is how I fill my free time, as well!
How do you prioritize features and requirements for a product? Can you tell us how you decide what’s most important to work on?
There’s a lot of communication with stakeholders and customers, and based on the timely situation in the market, and the Initiatives that we have recognized, we decide what to prioritize at a global level.
Continuing on, features that are ready for development are prioritized. It is the things with higher business value that usually receive more attention, as expected.
Additionally, we keep track of potential risks and dependencies along the way, in order to optimize performance and reduce errors.
Can you share a time when you had to adjust your priorities during a project? How did you handle it?
As a product owner, adapting to changing circumstances and adjusting priorities is an essential part of the job.
I can share a specific instance where I had to pivot my approach during a project to meet new demands and ensure success.
We were developing a new application and during the development, we found that it would take more time than we estimated.
To save the team from the stress of delivering the new app within a short timeframe, I needed to postpone the release and keep the focus on other things.
Sometimes it is hard to give up on something that you had all your focus on, but it is necessary to ensure the best outcome.
How do you know if a product is successful? Can you explain what metrics you use to measure success?
As a product owner, measuring the success of a product is critical to understanding its impact and making data-driven decisions.
There are usually several metrics that can be used to assess a product’s performance and determine its level of success.
Customer satisfaction and the actual usage of a product are the most relevant metrics for product success for me.
All these products have the same purpose, to serve the customers and their needs, and if we succeed in that, we can be satisfied with the outcome.
Can you explain how you work with stakeholders who have different opinions about a product? Can you give us an example of how you managed that in the past?
Stakeholders always have different opinions.
When they come up with new ideas, I usually tend to ask these 3 questions: What, Why, and Who, and the answers to these help clarify ideas and get everyone one the same page.
If that is not good enough, then I use what I like to call “intelligent balancing”, where we would release one feature with more options, or find a way that all use cases are met, or define a MVP and say that other requirements will be met later and added as improvements.
What is your experience with agile methodologies? Can you tell us how you’ve used them in your work?
At Walter Code, we use Agile techniques such as Scrum — in development, and SAFe (the Scaled Agile Framework) — on an organisational level.
Those are frameworks that operate in accordance with Agile and Lean ideas and ideals.
Scrum is an iterative process; it aims to help teams focus on small parts of each sprint (or quick mini-project) with a simple demonstrable goal.
Then we do “plan,”- “develop,”- “check,” and “adjust” as needed to get closer to the desired outcome.
As we wrap up our interview with Nikolina Nastić, we can see the value that a dedicated and passionate Product Owner brings to a company.
Nikolina’s ability to communicate and collaborate with different teams and stakeholders, as well as her strong vision and focus on the customer, is a testament to her expertise in the field. It’s clear that her unique perspective and skill set, combined with her determination and hard work, have helped drive the success of the company’s products.
We thank Nikolina for sharing her insights with us and look forward to more interviews with inspiring professionals like her in the future of Walter Humans.