We, as product managers at realtor.com, are constantly looking to understand our users’ needs more deeply, and to develop the best products possible to help make buying and selling homes easier and more enjoyable for everyone. We regularly collaborate with colleagues throughout the company, including researchers, designers, engineers, and many others, to learn from and with each other. To that end, our Demofest is an important company event for employees across groups to gather, share lessons, and celebrate successes.
Led by our Chief Product Officer Chung Meng Cheong at the end of every business quarter, Demofest participants evaluate 15 product features that have been shipped to our users in the last 90 days to learn from past projects and glean insights for future development. Each product manager or engineer who worked on the respective product feature presents a five-minute TED-talk style demo and at the end of the event, awards are given out based on user impact, creativity, learning, and storytelling.
One of the product areas that I’m most passionate about is affordability — to help home shoppers transition their focus from the home they want to buy to identifying the home they can own. So when my colleagues present insights that can better help our users determine how much home they can afford, that’s really useful for my work.
Some of the features built off of these insights include the realtor.com Home Affordability Calculator and Price Perfect, among others. For instance, when we created Price Perfect, we knew that one of the biggest pain points for most home buyers is finding the right home that fits their individual criteria — three bedrooms, two bathrooms, in a specific neighborhood, for example — and within a specific budget. After entering these criteria, buyers are able to view how much adding or subtracting specific features would impact the price of their home and adjust their search accordingly.
Demofest is a great time to celebrate all the positive things that we have accomplished that might get lost in the day-to-day rumble. It’s great seeing the things the different teams have shipped across the company, along with the positive results they’ve brought to consumers as we inch toward delivering business goals. In addition to celebrating our successes, it’s also a good time to learn what didn’t work so we can improve our online experience moving forward.
Beyond nurturing our technical skills, Demofest provides a professional development avenue. Giving demos definitely helps us become better storytellers and public speakers. When you know you only have five minutes to get your message across, you learn to hone in on crucial content and share the most important points of the storyline.
Sharing insights with each other is a critical element of being a successful product manager and ensuring that what you’re shipping to users is, in fact, meeting their needs. Demofest is a unique part of our product team’s culture here at realtor.com and something that helps make us more impactful in helping today’s home shoppers find the right home for them.