“The Fix Is In”: LaTonya Green Spearheads Propertyware’s Product Improvement Initiative

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Recruited from travel technology giant Sabre, LaTonya Green is ahead of schedule in executing Propertyware’s mission to continually improve products.

In a prior article in our series profiling Propertyware leadership, we talked to SVP James Wagley about his vision to make the products and services already in place better before adding anything new.

Central to this mission was the recruitment from leading travel technology provider Sabre of an impassioned engineer perfectly cut out for the job. LaTonya Green wasn’t looking for a new position when Propertyware called, but the opportunity was just too enticing. She joined the company in August of 2015.

“I saw a chance to apply the skills I already had – writing processes and creating and executing strategy – in a smaller arena where I could make a significant, visible difference to a company,” she says.

Originally cast as Director of Quality Assurance, Green implemented changes that quickly suggested to management she might be useful in a broader role. In November of 2016, she took on new responsibilities as head of engineering for development in addition to her duties as chief “bug killer.”

“I added a horizontal business perspective to the vertical software glitch-solving function I was originally tasked with,” she explains. “I’m now applying process and strategy to the business across the board.”

A firm foundation

Green agrees with the company’s decision to shore up existing products and services and fix any problems before getting back to innovation. “If you don’t have a firm foundation for the building, you can add all the pretty fixtures and appliances and paint jobs you want, but that shaky foundation is going to keep causing cracks in the edifice,” she says.

After building Propertyware’s plan to address what’s known in the software industry as “defect backlog” (every software company has one), Green hired additional resources to help the existing team tackle the job on schedule. “We looked only for best-in-class engineers who show a real passion for their work,” says Green. “This included our teams overseas in India, who we continue to visit in person at least once per quarter for coordination and motivation. We’re working with the very best here and around the world, and while some are asleep, others are hard at work so we’re always moving forward.”

A measure of a company’s progress in addressing software problems is the ratio of requests for fixes coming in to completed fixes going out. Though the actual work under the new initiative was not begun until the beginning of 2017, the team has already shifted the equation to the extent that there are more fixes going out than new requests, meaning the products are now improving on a weekly basis rather than racking up a lengthening list of problems. And these are real fixes, not Band-Aids, because we search for the root cause,” Green is quick to add.

What’s ahead for Propertyware

Green expects that by as early as the fall of 2017, her “problem management team” will have made enough progress on the list of fixes that she’ll be able to split one group off to get back to innovation based on customer requests and internal ideas along with the typical industry-wide advances.

“We are striving to have a much stronger foundation which means customers can expect fewer problems and emails to our support people, more ease of use and stability,” says Green. “Customers want what they’re already using to work right before you throw more features their way, but there’s a tendency in the software industry to move so quickly to get ahead of competition with new bells and whistles that fixing problems with existing features takes a back burner. Propertyware decided this was the right time to slow down and strengthen what we’ve already got, which naturally we feel is already the best single family property management software out there.”

“What I’ve enjoyed most about this assignment is that I’ve been able to recruit and work with people who are as passionate and obsessed with doing good work as I am,” Green concludes. “Just by getting out of bed in the morning you can manage to be mediocre and get your job done, but to be best-in-class, to be trendsetters and forerunners, that’s where the fun is.”

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