An interview with Michael Anft, Senior Product Manager – Faces of Gigaset4. April 2023 Published by Jana Greyling
The scaler: As a senior product manager, Michael Anft is responsible for the entire lifecycle of a product category. One of the biggest challenges for him was the scalable DECT IP system – from a single base to a multi-cell system with 20,000 handsets. Read here what are among the most important manager skills for him.
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In today’s interview, Raphael Dörr, SVP Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, spoke with Michael Anft, Product Manager.
Tell us a bit about what you do at Gigaset
As a product manager, I am responsible for the entire lifecycle of a product category – from the product idea to the definition, development and market launch of the product, to the development of the successor product.
What are the biggest challenges you face in this function?
My task is to evaluate and prioritize the many requirements, and to make the best possible use of the budget. My goal: a successful product and satisfied customers.
What led you to taking up your current position?
In my previous position, where I was responsible for the user interface design, I only dealt with one aspect of what my current job entails. In the position I have now, I can assume more responsibility and adopt an entrepreneurial approach. I also find the broad scope of influence and action that I have as a product manager very appealing.
What made you decide to work at Gigaset?
The decisive factor for me was the diverse product range that Gigaset offers. I really enjoy being part of an interdisciplinary team and also sharing and networking with colleagues on an international level. Since starting as product manager for the first VoIP products at Gigaset in 2005, I have been driving forward the business customer segment. What I like best is seeing that my work has resulted in successful and profitable products.
When you look back on your career, can you name an important risk you took?
I have never shied away from complex projects and assuming responsibility. My courage and confidence have helped me to take the odd risk along the way thus far that and ultimately grow as a result.
What qualities do you believe are crucial for today’s managers, especially after a pandemic?
Essentially, I think it’s important as a manager to show appreciation to their employees and place trust in them. Managers should also be role models for being goal oriented, having the will to improve, and striving for efficiency. As far as the way of working is concerned, managers should give priority to profitable activities, although I myself find strategic thinking more important for a manager than the ability to simply work through tasks one after another.
Can you let us into one of the biggest technical challenges you’ve had to solve or overcome?
For me, that was definitely the scalable DECT IP system – from a single base to a multi-cell system for 6,000 base stations and 20,000 handsets.
How has the pandemic changed the way we work?
Due to the pandemic, we now make more extensive use of collaboration tools. As a result, our collaboration across various locations and countries has become much more efficient, and we can coordinate a whole lot quicker.
What makes you optimistic about the future of this industry?
That we provide our customers with the best possible support in their communication and collaboration with the help of our products. This aspect will also remain relevant in the long term.
What qualities do you believe are crucial for today’s managers for them to remain relevant and effective?
What I find indispensable is the willingness to keep on learning, to be open and to listen. It’s also important to act in a targeted manner and be able to formulate a vision. Last but not least, a relevant and effective leadership style also includes a dose of pragmatism.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
Gliding and running