2 years, 2 university degrees, 8 international business trips, 3 job title changes, 2 office locations, an engagement, the addition of 8 new team members and the launch of 1 new product….. it’s easy when you sum up my time at Easy Agile in static numbers like that I guess.
But what those numbers fail to tell you, is who I am and the impact those events have had on me personally and professionally over the course of 24 months. What those numbers don’t convey are the highs and lows, pressures, camaraderie, learnings, imposter syndrome, wins and growing pains of working with a super smart team that’s on a steep growth trajectory.
So here goes….
Hi, I’m Teagan
Here are a few fun facts about me:
- I’m 26 years old
- I graduated from the University of Wollongong with Bachelor Degrees in Commerce and Media & Communications (I’ve never actually opened my university transcripts from the envelope they were sent to me in 🤭)
- I’ve had the privilege of being able to travel to over 20 countries 🌎
- On the weekends, I play Australian Rules Football (although not very well) 🏉
- While I don’t own any pets (yet), I have already named my non-existent future French Bulldog (his name is Winston in case you were wondering 🐶)
Why did Easy Agile hire me?
I first met Nick and Dave (the co-founders of Easy Agile) in January 2017 when I was working for a Startup in an Accelerator in Wollongong, Australia. At the time, our companies were sharing office space and I was working as a part-time content marketer while finishing my university degrees.
The experience of working in an accelerator with tech startups was completely foreign to me. Like most of my female peers at high school, I was told that once I graduated I should pursue a career in nursing or teaching because “that’s what most girls with an interest in English do”. When I told my family of nurses and teachers that I was going to university to major in Marketing and Digital Communications and not graduate as a teacher, they feared the worst….. “what will you do/who will hire you with those qualifications?!”
Can you imagine what they said when I told them I was going to work for a tech Startup?!
6 months into being at the Accelerator, I began working with Easy Agile part-time alongside my role as a content marketer. I’d never heard of Atlassian, I knew nothing about the 3 letter acronyms that were being thrown around the office and certainly nothing about software development.
When I started with Easy Agile, I was hired in the role of ‘Partner Marketing’ part-time. My role was to focus on creating exposure for our brand and products amongst Atlassian Solution Partners, a selection of specialised consultants who act as distribution agents of our software across the globe. It was a warm introduction — I had been handed a crafted Partner Marketing strategy, and it was my job to execute on it.
In September 2017, after only a month of working alongside Nick, Dave and Satvik (that was entirety of the team at that point), I was fortunate enough to travel to San Jose & San Fransisco for my first Atlassian Summit. That’s when I knew I was where I wanted to be and luckily enough for me, Nick and Dave offered me a full-time job.
“Always be learning”
When I think back to when I first started at Easy Agile, I have vivid memories of Nick walking around the office saying “always be learning”.
In the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be attending the Product World Forum, the Leading the Product conference and attending a 1 day workshop on effective communications. To be completely honest, most of the time I feel totally consumed by the overwhelming feeling of how much I don’t know and am yet to learn.
From Ideation to Launch 🚀
The most exciting experience I’ve had since being at Easy Agile, is being able to see the process of building and launching a product from scratch.
The process involved problem recognition, ideation, validation, customer interviews, industry training, design, prototyping, development, beta testing, competitive analysis, rapid customer feedback, outreach, pricing, marketing…. the list goes on.
The amazing part about the process was the extremely collaborative nature of it all. As a Partner and Marketing specialist at the time, what could I offer in the way of testing or design? That’s where I was wrong and we were all encouraged to share our diverse perspectives and outlook at each step of the way.
The product launched, we had our first sale, we popped the champagne 🍾 but there is still a long way to go, which is exciting.
Here comes some realness. I did say I would be honest about my time, and with the good comes the challenges too.
The last 5 months of being a Product Manager have been the most challenging and rewarding in my 2 years at Easy Agile. Working in a role that was previously held by the CEO’s is hard — particularly as a new Product Manager.
It’s a balance between wanting the trust and confidence of the company to work autonomously with the team, as well as understanding I need/want the direction and guidance from people with far more experience and success than me. It’s part of the growing pains of a team who continues to double in size year over year and also because I’m being pushed to learn new skills and think more broadly than the day-to-day work of the team.
One of the challenges I face personally working in our small, data-driven, agile team with a motto of “punch above our weight”, is I feel an implicit pressure to always perform. As a non-technical team member, it’s easy to feel isolated and less than when all the people working around you are incredibly smart people.
There are many days where I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, or that I’m in over my head, or that I’m not qualified enough, experienced enough or anything enough. Imposter syndrome rears its ugly head and its easy to get lost in the fog of it all. When there’s a knock on my desk to have a quick chat, I often think, “this is it”.
Mike Cannon-Brookes, the founder of Atlassian has a great TED Talk on imposter syndrome that you can check out here. It helps knowing other people, however successful as they are, share the same feelings too. I guess that’s why I’m sharing it here with you.
Family and friends
Working in an industry that my family are unfamiliar with also has its challenges. For the longest time, I felt they never thought I’d get a “real job” and they feared that some day, I’d come knocking on their doors telling them it had all come crashing down.
I honestly don’t know what they think I do. I’ve tried to break it down and explain it — it often starts at the very beginning with having me explain who Atlassian 😂 — and still I’ve heard them tell their friends that “she builds websites or something”.
For any Friends fans reading this, my friends often joke that I’m the Chandler of the group i.e. no one can explain to anyone what I get paid to do from 9–5 Monday through Friday.
I guess what makes this challenging is when things are hard at work, you want to be able to talk about it with an empathetic ear. But empathy requires the ability to put yourself in another person’s situation, and that’s really hard when those people have zero clue what that looks like, the industry you work in and have never really heard/met anyone with your job title.
What I can tell you with 100% certainty is this; I love my team. How many people can honestly say that about all the people they work with? I love our mission and the reason we come together and build software every day. I love that I’m being given opportunities I might not be so lucky to have been given if I was to work anywhere else. I love that I get to be myself from the moment I walk through the office doors and that’s a company I have been absolutely privileged to work for for the last 2 years. Here’s to hopefully many more! 🥂