Role swap! Replacing members clubs with Jira backlogs

Six months ago I was Kyan’s Head of Partnerships. One of those wonderfully vague job titles that means almost nothing. In reality, I was the new business person here, a role I’d held for around three years.

It was something I had enjoyed. I knew there were parts of it I was good at and parts that I was not so good at, but, on the whole, it was fun.

However, it started becoming clear to me that there was something about the role that didn’t quite suit me. I operated in a bit of a silo and had little to do with the day to day goings on in the office. Over time, this was an issue that became more and more apparent. When I first started with Kyan I was closely involved with clients and projects and felt far more a part of the products that were being developed, as well as part of the team that worked on them.

Since then, the makeup of Kyan as a business has changed quite a bit. The way we define product management versus account management is still evolving, but there’s a lot more maturity around how we approach the successful delivery of the products we develop.

And it was something I was interested in being a part of again, just in a different way to last time. 


Hosting a design sprint workshop in London, 2019.


Making a change

I strongly believe that in the majority of businesses, I would have had to have left and found a job elsewhere in order to make that change a reality. In other organisations, just raising the fact that you’re not loving what you’re doing and that you want to make a move is a scary thing. In general, speaking to ‘the bosses’ about what you don’t like and what you want is something that is hard to do. It’s easy to think that you’ll be looked upon poorly or as someone who is causing trouble.

This wasn’t an issue I had at Kyan. I definitely benefited from having spent almost five years in the business, but I didn’t worry for a moment that there would be an issue with me raising how I was feeling. I was able to have a sensible and constructive conversation that allowed me to make a change to what I was doing.

Laurent and I spoke about the potential to move into a more product-focussed role. After just two chats, there was a plan for me to take on a bit of product management throughout my week. Within a month it became a permanent change.

A near seamless transition

We have access to a training budget at Kyan. This, coupled with some time to get my feet under the table meant that I was able to manage the change pretty smoothly. The tooling we use meant that it was easy to hand over any active leads I was involved with and get started on something new. This was helped by the fact that the sales process was moved to being more of a team responsibility, rather than sitting on one person.

I’m someone who is quite happy being given something new. Many of my colleagues have pointed out in the past that I’m not someone who lacks self confidence. Combined with the tools and support I was offered, the whole process was pretty seamless. I put some of that training budget to use and started on achieving my Professional Scrum Master certification, which really helped to solidify some of the theory that I already knew. 

Change culture

One of the lovely things about this sort of change at Kyan is that people just embrace it. Everyone works at a high level and cares about what they do, but there’s very little ego around who should be doing what. That makes it incredibly easy to move into something new without people getting sniffy about what they think you should be doing. You simply start working with people in a different way.

There’s a lot to be said for this sort of environment and it’s something that is hard to measure or perhaps see from the outside. It’s a culture where you can come in to do ‘a job’, but there’s nothing to say that you can’t affect change. If there’s something you identify that can help, or a change you want to be a part of, you can do that. It allows people to hold their hands up and say that something isn’t quite for them, rather than simply leaving without really talking about why. 

It’s the sort of approach that makes it easier to retain people and make sure you get the best from them. 


I talk a lot. Another London event – an insurtech workshop.
New role who dis?


If you find yourself in a similar position and feel that you can talk to your manager about making a switch or an adjustment to your role, then I really do encourage you to do so. We’re all human, and our thoughts and feelings change. Many of us had a lot of time to think about life, work and more throughout 2020, and I hope that’s changed the way many businesses approach careers and culture.

But on the flipside, if you feel you can’t progress or change, then it’s absolutely okay to move on and try something new. There are brilliant companies out there just like Kyan, where you can join and be your best self.

Check out our latest openings on our careers page.


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