Meet Matt Shaw
Vivacity’s Smart Junctions Product Manager
Tell us about your role
I work in the Product Team at VivaCity, with a focus on our groundbreaking new product Smart Junctions. Our aim is to empower cities to reduce congestion, promote active travel and improve air quality for the whole community by modernising traffic signal control using cutting edge AI technology
What’s a typical day like for you as a Smart Junctions Product Manager?
Exciting! Every week is different and I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to work on an early stage product that requires me to wear multiple different hats.
Some days it’s working with the Commercial team on pricing or go to market strategy or latest Marketing releases. Some days the focus is the Technical teams writing out technical specifications or running workshop sessions. Other days it’s the Operational team members designing and documenting the SJ delivery process and the skills required for it. And then there’s the Directors, engaging them in the product strategy and making informed business decisions.
Through each of these different hats the most important thing that we bring as a product team member is the voice of the customer through market and user research.
How long have you been at VivaCity, and what were you doing before VivaCity?
I started in October 2021 as the hundredth employee. Prior to VivaCity I was working at a Strategy Consulting company called Teneo focused on a range of projects. From a 3 month secondment in the rail sector to working on strategic short term projects with big software companies and exciting new startups.
What are some of the big moments, achievements or milestones you’ve enjoyed in your role so far?
I’ll pick three but there are so many!
First organising the Smart Junctions User Group at the Royal Academy of Engineering, which having studied engineering was a real highlight.
Second was presenting at the JCT Symposium and Conference in front of the whole of the signal control industry.
And finally the Smart Junctions socials – right from my first day I knew this was a really special team to be a part of, and that initial impression has certainly lasted the test of time.
What’s the main thing you’re working on at the moment?
2023 roadmapping and deciding what the main priorities are for next year. When you have Research, Simulation, Operations, Engineering, Commercial all in one melting pot of how to direct the product it involves a lot of planning and information gathering to facilitate the right decisions to be made for the product based on where the market is.
What’s the biggest challenge of being a Smart Junctions Product Manager at VivaCity?
The real world. No matter how much you plan there’s always something that comes up to impact the timelines or the expectations that you’re setting out.
We’ve had a council prevent us from trialling over Christmas, a lorry knock over one of our sensors at a working trial site and the constant pain of roadworks which seem to spring up when you’re least expecting it.
What is your favourite part of being in the product team?
The people! We’ve got a fantastic team who are all friendly,helpful and supportive, even though we work across very different parts of the business. Our socials have bonded us together as a team, from cocktail making to go karting and most recently crazy golf. It’s been great getting to know them all!
How would you say the company supports you in your professional growth?
As someone new to traffic signals and product management I’ve had a lot of support from across the technical teams who have always been available and approachable for explaining different areas.
However, the main driver for my professional growth has been the mentorship and coaching I’ve received from Raquel, Head of Product, who has been amazing in planning my onboarding and development in my role.
What are some of your hobbies outside work?
My main hobby is Wallball, which is like squash but hitting a ball with your hands. It’s a great sport that I play every week and has enabled me to travel to tournaments in Valencia, Belgium and Holland. I also volunteer for UK Wallball which is a charity focused on providing sport to disadvantaged young people in London and Essex.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking of joining VivaCity the Product Team?
Welcome to the best team at the company and I say that for three reasons: You’re at the heart of the business and will be central to everything that’s happening for your product; you have a fantastically smart and supportive team; you’re going to learn like there’s no tomorrow because everyday is different.