Soccer Coaching Helps Director of Product Management Achieve Goals

Lessons learned on the field transfer to the creation and launching of CCH products

Mike Ritchie met his wife when both played on a touring coed soccer team. They still play regularly and coach a son and daughter on youth soccer teams. He sees a lot of parallels between coaching youth sports teams and his role at CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business.

As Director of Product Management, Ritchie “owns” several CCH accounting and audit-related products, including ProSystem fx® Engagement, Knowledge Coach and others. That requires that he set the vision for each product and get buy-in from hundreds of people involved, including development teams, marketing teams, sales teams and operations folks.

“I’m like the guy in the middle with the whistle,” Ritchie says. “I don’t manage those resources — no one reports to me directly — but I am responsible for helping guide those resources to achieve the goals of the product.”

That requires a skill set around communication and team building. He needs to make sure everyone understands what needs to happen and why it needs to happen in a certain way. “Those things tie very closely to what I do as a coach,” Ritchie says.

“When you coach kids, you do the same thing. You have a vision. You can see the skills of the team and who does what well. And I’ve been playing long enough myself to know where the strengths are and how to get the best out of each player. It’s not that different, really, except that on the one hand I am working with a bunch of 13-year-olds, and on the other it’s grown-ups.”

The launch of Knowledge Coach is a recent example. This new product helps manage an audit from planning through completion, flowing information throughout workpapers and providing diagnostics and guidance that improve audit quality and efficiency.

“Five or six different groups came together to get the product out the door successfully,” Ritchie says. “I was responsible for that launch and coordinating all the pieces involved, all choreographed around a plan. That’s very similar to what I do coaching a soccer team.

He says the most successful youth soccer teams have kids who are excited and confident and do it because they believe in it. “You often see teams that are not successful — even with highly skilled people — have coaches standing there and yelling at them. It’s all about leadership style and communication. It’s the same with my work at CCH.”

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This story is from the CCH e-newsletter First Choice, written specifically for tax, accounting and audit professionals.   First Choice offers tips, tricks and ideas about how to increase your public accounting firm’s productivity and efficiency.  Every issue also features insights with a tax, audit or accounting professional.

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Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting

Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting is a leading provider of software solutions and local expertise that helps tax, accounting, and audit professionals research and navigate complex regulations, comply with legislation, manage their businesses and advise clients with speed, accuracy and efficiency. Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting is part of Wolters Kluwer N.V. (AEX: WKL), a global leader in information services and solutions for professionals in the health, tax and accounting, risk and compliance, finance and legal sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialized technology and services. Wolters Kluwer reported 2016 annual revenues of €4.3 billion. The company, headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands, serves customers in over 180 countries, maintains operations in over 40 countries and employs 19,000 people worldwide. Wolters Kluwer shares are listed on Euronext Amsterdam (WKL) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices. Wolters Kluwer has a sponsored Level 1 American Depositary Receipt program. The ADRs are traded on the over-the-counter market in the U.S. (WTKWY).

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