Behind the scenes — Women in tech series: Laksh Ranganathan

Laksh Ranganathan, our Director of Product Operations at Bitrise, tells us about her role, her career challenges, what she’s learned along the way, and her advice for other women in tech.

The people at Bitrise aim to make a real-world impact for billions of app users every day while working together and co-creating with the brightest minds. There are fantastic folks here making that possible. In our “Behind The Scenes - Women of Bitrise” series, we sit down with some of the women of Bitrise to provide a glimpse into who makes it all work, what they do, and how they achieved success.

This round we’re talking to Laksh Ranganathan, our Director of Product Operations from the UK.

Can you share a little bit about yourself?

I am a city girl at heart. I spent most of my childhood and education years in Mumbai — a buzzing cosmopolitan city. I traveled a bit in my 20s and eventually, my partner of 18 years and I decided to make the UK our permanent(ish) home. I am a proud mother to a 6-year-old son who regularly teaches me a lot about management and leadership.

In my other life, I lead the Product Operations function within Bitrise reporting to the CPO and focusing on operational excellence, and empowering our R&D teams to execute our portfolio strategy.

Did you always know that working in a tech company was what you wanted to do? How did you decide to go into engineering/tech…?

I was passionate about STEM in school and knew that is where my strengths lie. I was equally focused on Biology & Chemistry as I was on Physics and Math. So the options open to me were either Engineering or Medicine. When it came to making a decision, Engineering won by an inch. But within the 1st year, I knew I had made the right choice as I gravitated toward programming.

My career has taken a winding road from being an Engineer to Business Analyst to Product Manager to Product Consultant to Product Operations and at each turn, I have added some very valuable tools to my toolset which have been invaluable in charting my trajectory so far. 

What is it like to be a woman working in the tech industry for you?

Interestingly, being a woman in tech in the early days was not odd - barriers to entry in India in tech were low then — at least in certain disciplines of tech. For example, I was actively advised to “not bother with” aeronautical engineering as it was a very male-dominated field then.

But as I got promoted, I started finding myself being the only female, only Indian, or both in many teams. Having said that, I can’t say it bothered me much. 

My early childhood involved moving between cities and schools as my dad had a very transferable job in the government. It built a certain level of immunity to change and an ability to adjust and carve out a space for myself everywhere I go — something that has helped me loads in my career as well.

As I have climbed the career ladders though, I have found a lack of role models, especially in the next career ladder to help mentor my path forward. So where possible I have tried to ensure I can help, support, and mentor anyone who wishes to follow my path.

What’s your role at Bitrise? What do you do on a typical day?

As the Dr. of Product Operations my role (and for my team) hinges on collaboration and communication across R&D i.e. product and engineering and between R&D and the rest of the company. I am based in the UK, my peers are spread across the US and Europe. So, juggling 4-5 time zones come with the territory. Some of the areas my team focuses on are communication, making impact visible, and supporting value streams to execute their mission. I am also in the unenviable position where every impact my team  can generate is dependent on uptake from the rest of the organisation. So almost 80% of my work depends on influencing. Typically 50% of my day is spent on calls talking to various stakeholders understanding their pain points and looking at ways to support them. Thursdays are generally carved out for my own team and I try when I can to use Fridays for personal development. 

What makes you get up in the morning?

I know I can support Bitrise in so many ways and help take it to that next level. I find that very motivating. It is hard work but very rewarding with a lot of learning opportunities and challenges that I thrive on. 

What learning/growth opportunities have impacted you most?

I have only been in Bitrise for over 6 months, but the level and caliber of talent here amazes me every day. I can’t believe I get to speak to and work with such a talented group of people. Every day brings new perspectives, learnings, and approaches.  

What advice would you pass on to other women to help them progress in this industry? What do you wish you had known? 

Opportunities don’t always land without trying / asking for them. So don’t be shy to ask for what you want and to find help & support to get you there - be it in the form of coaching, side projects, mentorship, or sponsorship. And be ready to walk away if you feel you are not valued. 

I have learned that I have no capacity in my brain for negativity - I am my own worst critic and I don’t need to be around people or situations that put me down. I tend to gravitate toward people who value me and care enough to provide feedback that will help me improve. 

Finally, make sure you have at least 1 friend at your workplace who you can trust and can rant to at your workplace (office based / remote). I have always ensured I had that friend at work to help me get over work challenges and frustrations so I don’t bring the stress to my home life. My buddy at Bitrise, you know who you are, and I feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to work with you every day. 

Thanks so much to Laksh for a great interview and a look into her life as a Product operations Director at Bitrise. Want to work with Laksh? Check out our current job openings!

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