When Alex McEvans joined the team at Maxwell in 2020, there was a need among processors at local lenders for a solution to help accelerate loan pipeline and simplify mortgage processing. The problem for Maxwell was that they didn’t yet have an offering to meet this specific need. Fast forward two years and now, not only does Maxwell have a product that is making processors more efficient, but Alex has also been recognized as a HousingWire Rising Star for his work to bring Maxwell Processor Edge from roadmap to reality.
In his role as the Director of Product Management at Maxwell, Alex spearheaded the creation and launch of Maxwell Processor Edge, Maxwell’s first-of-its-kind product platform that directly integrates with a lender’s loan origination system, using machine learning to accelerate the document review process and detect data discrepancies before underwriting.
“I’m so flattered and honored to be recognized in this way. It’s tremendous,” Alex says when talking about the award. “I think more of the credit belongs to the team. The team gets the real credit for putting in the hard work and bringing this product to life.”
Solving the right problems
Alex and his team were tasked with developing software that would streamline the processing workflow and simplify lender fulfillment. With the right personnel in place, he engaged the team in creating a deeply shared context of what problems needed to be solved and aligned everyone to the goal of providing the best solution for the end user.
“For me, product management focuses on making sure we are solving the right problems,” Alex says.
To find out exactly what those problems were in the processing workflow, he went directly to loan processors. He and his team researched the fulfillment process, sitting with processors to observe their workflow and learn their day-to-day challenges and needs. The team then built a preliminary application, leveraging Maxwell’s own internal processing teams for testing and feedback. That direct access to end users during the development process for quick and immediate feedback provided Alex and his team with a competitive advantage to inform how they designed and developed their software.
“Instead of having to guess or wait long stretches of time for quantitative A/B tests, we could get feedback literally within a day,” Alex notes. “The velocity of learning that the quick feedback cycle enables is tremendous.”
The end-user mindset
Getting that feedback was critical to put Alex into the mindset of the end-user, enabling him and his team to build a solution that simplifies the complexities of mortgage processing and translates it into a usable workflow. With a rigorous commitment to figuring out the problem from top to bottom, the team delivered a product that works for the people who are using it.
One of the greatest points of pride throughout the development of this new solution came from a processor during a check-in with a customer. This processor had been using the solution and pointed out that it was clear that the team had worked closely with actual processors to understand their needs and built software designed just for them.
“Whenever you have users advocating for your software, that’s a thrilling moment!”
That compliment validates the time his team spent with processors to fully adopt their mindset as they set forth to build their software. That ability to put himself in the situation of the user, whether it is a processor, a manager, or even a borrower, is crucial for anyone trying to improve user experience.
“Do everything you can to put yourself in your customer’s shoes,” Alex advises. “The better you can adopt and understand the mindset of the people who are going to be engaging with your business services, the more able you will be to design things that work well for them.”
Even now that Maxwell Processor Edge is available and in use by Maxwell customers, Alex and his team continue to put themselves in their customers’ shoes, utilizing end-user feedback to make further improvements and adjustments to the software. “Even today, we’re still continually making changes to the software, expanding what it can do, refining the existing functionality, and pushing it forward,” he says.
As he looks ahead, Alex is excited to bring Maxwell Processor Edge into its next iteration to help processing teams improve the efficiency of their fulfillment pipelines and to do his part to further Maxwell’s vision turn the tide of homeownership in the US and spread financial empowerment.