Interview with Ambassador of the Month: Dr. Tim Weingärtner

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  1. Tell us a bit about yourself Tim, what are you doing?

My position is Vice Dean and I’m responsible for research at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, School for Information Technology. The school will start 2016 and will bring together the already existing disciplines of Technical Computer Science and Economic Computer Science.

Originally I studied Computer Science and made my PhD in medical robotics. Afterwards I have worked in the Finance Industry for over 15 years. 

  1. How are you related to Product Management and what does it mean to you?

My former position was Product Manager Financing for the Swiss Core Banking Company Finnova. At this time I got to know the Product Management Festival which broadened my knowledge of applied Product Management. Actually I explore the combination of Agile and Lean Startup in combination with day to day Product Management. 

The importance of Product Management for IT raised tremendously during the last years with the change from bespoked development to product development. And it will continue to be an important part in the value chain. 

  1. As far as I understand you used to be a PM and then changed to become a lecturer? How did this happen?

This sounds like a complete change but in fact both jobs are not so different. Both positions imply combining research and implementation. Furthermore I was always interested in teaching and passing my experiences on to other people. When I was offered the opportunity to work in this position I knew it was the right thing for me to choose.

  1. Are there any similarities between being a professor and a product manager?

As Vice Dean my resposibility is to shape, market and promote our research “products”. Since we have to aquire a substantial part of our budget by either sponsorship of the government or companies all aspects of product managment are relevant for my daily job. 

  1. What is the most important thing you teach your students?

Interdiciplinarity! As product manager it is essential to work with business and development and take the role of an interpreter (Dolmetscher). Very often computer science is used to solve quite practical problems, e.g. in industrial or medical issues.

Therefore students have to learn how to work with other disciplines and learn their “language” as well as their way of thinking. 

  1. Who do you think is/was one of the best PM out there?

I got to know a lot of really smart product managers. Most of them I met at the PMF. Like Adrienne Tan from Brainmates, Jock Busuttil, Steven Haines, Marty Cagan to just mention some. But there are other great product managers whose blogs I read, like Melissa Perri. Each of them have their own speciality of product managment which is worth knowing. 

  1. What product do you love?

I like my BMW X1. I use it every day and whether I use it to drive to work or draw the trailer with my daughter’s horse it fits the job. The build in technology is user friendly and reduced to the essential features. BMW offers very smart and user friendly product configuration and their after sales service is exemplary. In my opinion the IT industry can learn a lot from traditional industries like automotive. 

  1. What motivated you to become an Ambassador for PMF?

When I heard of the Ambassador concept of the PMF I immediately liked it. I wanted to share my good impressions I got from the former PMFs in 2013 and 2014 with other people.

  1. What books, blogs and courses do you recommend? 

Since I just started to write a product manager book dealing with canvases I have to mention that 🙂

Another book I can recommend is Marty Cagans’ “Inspired”.

Most blogs I follow on Twitter. These are: @romanpichler @brainmates @jockbu @deragilepm @sjohnson717 @Steven_Haines @TeamTolpa @RichMironov @lissijean @jefflash and @ProdMgm_rr

A colleague and I initiated a CAS (Certificate of Advanced Studies) in Agile Product Management together with the FHNW (University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland ). We are just in our pilot course and it is a huge success.


To meet Tim an other product management professionals join us at Product Management Festival.

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