Dox Spotlight: An interview with Allison Nulty, Product Manager at Doximity

Aug 13, 2019 · Dox Spotlight

The Dox Spotlight is a series that highlights the hard work of Doximity employees as they continue to build time-saving tools for the largest professional medical network in the U.S. This week, we interviewed Doximity Product Manager, Allison Nulty.

Q: How long have you been at Doximity, and what is your role?

A: I've been at Doximity a little over two years; throughout my time, I’ve had the opportunity to work across the Doximity platform. Currently, I am a Product Manager for our Social Updates team. Our team is focused on the ‘community’ aspect of our network; we deliver updates to users’ networks to communicate their professional milestones (think: celebrating a work anniversary, publishing in a journal, or being mentioned in the press) and connect users. Previously, I worked on our more commercial-facing products, including the creation and delivery of native ads, as well as an [at the time] early-stage careers product to match clinicians with jobs in a digital capacity.

Q: What attracted you to work at Doximity?

A: Prior to Doximity, I spent 1.5 years working for a Global Health non-profit in the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland). I have always been passionate about health equity and fascinated by digital health, but working in a resource-limited setting saw firsthand the pitfalls of technology designed without the end-user, or context, in mind. I recognized that to affect real change in health, I needed to understand the “how” of building digital technology products to address real user needs.

Doximity stood out to me as an organization that was solving a healthcare problem often ignored: collaboration and communication between clinicians. By creating an integrated network that touches 80% of the population, Doximity found a way to improve the systems that support clinicians - through communication tools and timely news - which ultimately improves patient outcomes. I am continually impressed by the way our team stays true to the mission of ‘Clinicians First’ and evaluates all products against that need.

Q: You took the leap from consulting to product management, what were your biggest learnings in doing that?

A: The job title in itself is a key difference - in consulting you’re giving advice to another business, and while you of course seek the best possible solution, you as the consultant generally do not have long-term skin in the product/business. As a product manager, the product is your business. Every quarter we set goals that the PM is responsible for achieving; feeling the weight, and the excitement of this ownership was a big shift.

Another difference is the lens for problem solving. In consulting, decisions are weighed against the bottom line business objectives. In product, we always start with the user and zoom out from there; products are meaningless if not satisfying a user need. In all companies it’s a balancing act between business and product and it’s been fun to experience the ‘other side’.

Lastly, I’d say the process for development was a stark difference. Consulting projects took more of a waterfall approach, where we’d work through all of the details (the numbers, timeline, long-term roadmap) before starting implementation. Agile development is quite the opposite in that we’re constantly re-evaluating the solution and the approach every cycle, to drive the best product experience.

Q: What skills do you think were valuable in consulting that you currently use as a PM? And please share any tips for folks who are looking to make a leap into product management.

A: Hmmm, it’s tough to choose just a couple!
Flexibility - The nature of consulting project work requires that you be able to change context efficiently and quickly identify challenges and formulate solutions.

That skill is incredibly helpful in product as we’re expected to constantly context switch: solving technical challenges with engineers, running queries to monitor product performance, creating mock-ups for new features, liaising with end-users, all while considering the short and long-term goals.

Communication - a lot of the value in consulting is bringing the right group of stakeholders together, aligning their objectives, and building a roadmap to set a product-level or company-level strategy. This requires effective communication and management; something that is critical in the PM world!

Prioritization - both consulting and product are about making tough choices to achieve the most impactful, sustainable solution, the quickest. That requires careful prioritization of initiatives and being able to quantify the impact.

A tip for folks looking to leap into product management: Don’t underestimate the power of the internet for interview prep and demystify the tech world. Focus on communication and listening; understand product needs, your teams needs. Everyone should have a voice and be heard; communicating what you need from the team and then understanding what the team needs from you is critical to PM success.

Q: You've managed both commercial and user or member-facing teams at Doximity. What differences have you seen when it comes to building products for companies versus individuals?

A: The commercial side has a huge advantage in that we have strong internal resources that provide the voice of the user. Our fantastic client success teams and sales teams know the ins and outs of their industry and are able to help shape the product. Whereas when it comes to building products for our users, it’s more challenging. Doctors are extremely busy people and to really assess what they need to improve their practice can be incredibly difficult simply because they are harder to pin down and get the right answers.

At the end of the day, whether you're working on the commercial side or the user side, it's always going to be about both. Doximity is a professional medical network, and as such, our commercial products interact directly with our user-facing products. So we always weigh the benefits of monetization versus the benefits to the user and making sure that we're always putting ours users, while managing a successful business.

Q: You host Doximity's Product Drink and Thinks, would you mind talking about what this is and how it brings product folks together to encourage new ideas?

A: A huge perk to my job at Doximity is the caliber of individuals I am surrounded by. I am constantly amazed by the diversity of backgrounds within our product team and jump at any chance to learn from others. While we work together in our day-to-day jobs, it’s rare that we step outside the Doximity context and explore digital ‘products’ more broadly. “Drink and thinks” are meant to be a casual time to discuss ideas we’re noodling on, or assess non-Doximity related products. For example, a few months back we had a heated debate about Apple Music vs. Spotify, and the user personas, pros, and cons of each (Spotify obviously won…).

Q: What excites you the most about where Doximity is going?

A: I think that Doximity plays a really unique role in breaking down the boundaries of the healthcare market and enabling people to connect, regardless of which health system they belong to, the insurance they work with, or where they live and practice.

As someone that's working within our network team, I personally really believe in and subscribe to the power of networking. And our team is really focused on bringing that to Doximity. Seeing the way that users that used to work together or used to train together 20, 30, 40 years ago, and are able to reconnect on Doximity– I think is a really powerful thing and is a value that we can provide to both their personal and professional lives that they can't really access in any other platform.

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