How we build beautiful products, the Wolt way
Hi, I’m Niina 👋. I joined the Product team at Wolt in January 2020, just before the pandemic hit the world and most companies, including Wolt, went fully remote. I was looking for a new job in tech, focused on product, and discovered that Wolt was hiring product management interns, which I saw as a great opportunity.
Two things caught my interest in Wolt: the product and the people. I’d been a user of the Wolt app for a long time and had always been impressed. I wanted to learn and understand how they build such a high quality product. I’d also heard many great things from my peers about the culture and values, especially the ones emphasizing learning and kindness. I decided to apply, got in and joined our Consumer products side, helping to build Wolt’s mobile and web applications for consumers.
After my internship, I joined Wolt’s Rotational Product Management program — a program for people to grow into the product management role, consisting of three 10-month rotations in different product teams. You can read more about the experience here. So far, it’s been an exciting journey of professional growth and new responsibilities. This is mainly thanks to the support of talented colleagues, the amazing culture that encourages you to take ownership to accelerate your learning, and being trusted from day one. In this blog post, I’ll share my thoughts on what it’s like to work in product management at Wolt.
Sneak peek into the Product Lead role at Wolt
At Wolt, Product Leads simply lead a product. We don’t lead the product team or other product managers — we focus fully on the product. But what does this mean in practice? First of all, we’re responsible for the product vision and making sure that the team focuses on the right things at the right time. Product Leads are responsible for the team’s roadmap and prioritization, from planning to execution. This includes ensuring that the roadmap is up-to-date and there’s nothing blocking the team’s work. We believe that the best decisions are made together: Product Leads are responsible for prioritization and ensuring execution, but decision-making is always done together with the team.
Planning session with the team at Product Week
To determine the right things to focus on at each moment, we do lots of research and digging into data. We look at data to understand the business impact of each roadmap item, talk to our customers and listen to teams around us. Our work is guided by wider company goals. Following the company goals, we then determine the most impactful features to focus on within our specific product areas and execute accordingly.
The focus on impact is present in our everyday work. We work with various types of data depending on the team and the product you work with. In my current team for example, we focus on metrics around the merchant onboarding experience. Together with our data analyst, we look at the different stages of the onboarding process – from contract signing to setting up the venues and going live – and ensure everything we want to measure is in place. We analyze the gathered data to understand performance and make decisions about the future focus areas in product work. The gathered data also helps the team to understand the impact of their work and how we can further improve the product.
We work in autonomous, cross-functional product teams
Product teams at Wolt are divided into groups that each own a core area of Wolt and form a team of teams focusing on key customer groups. Groups are split into smaller, independent, autonomous teams, for working together efficiently. For example, the Merchant Tools team that I work in belongs to the Merchant Group together with four other teams (2x merchant integrations, merchant app and merchant offering). The teams are responsible for a specific customer problem and each team has high ownership of everything necessary to reach its goals.
On a team level, Product Leads at Wolt are part of product teams. A typical product team consists of engineers, a designer, an analyst and an engineering team lead. Each team decides how they organize their work, but generally teams meet in weeklies where the Product Lead gives the latest updates from the rest of the organization and helps prioritize the team’s work. In addition to weekly meetings, some teams host daily standups. Each team can decide how they work; some teams might work in sprints or follow some other established way that works the best for them.
Product Leads also represent the team in cross-team initiatives with other product teams. As we like to keep the team sizes small (approximately 5-7 people) to allow focus and keep the domain clear, we often collaborate with other teams. This includes scoping work and building initiatives together across different product teams with Product Leads, Designers and Engineers from different teams. For instance, within the Merchant Tools team that I work in, we collaborate closely with product teams in Retail as they are contributing to some of the domains we own. Collaborating with other product teams means regular syncing on each team’s current focus and alignment of work. We believe that close collaboration is what allows us to build amazing products that create value to their users.
How we build product at Wolt
To make sure we’re aligned in our work, we have Product Tenets that guide us in our daily work. These tenets are shared values that help us build freaking amazing products, consistently.
Diving deeper into all of them would deserve its own blog post, but let’s cover two of them. You might have already realized that we obsess about our users. We put a lot of value on the feedback coming from our users – after all, they are the ones we build these products for. Whether it’s the person making, preparing or delivering an order, we always want to hear what they have to say about our products. To involve our users in product development, we talk to them, visit them, observe them using our products and ask for their opinions.
Another tenet I want to emphasize is our obsession to deliver impact. Things don’t end up in our roadmaps randomly. For each feature we decide to build, we make sure to know why we are building it (what problem is it solving?) and what is its impact. We also make sure that we are able to track the performance of the feature. We also have the ability to pilot fast if we want to see how our customers react to novel features. We believe that when you know why you are doing something and how it affects the people around you, you stay motivated and find your work meaningful.
We’re built on trust, ownership and accountability
One of the reasons I enjoy working at Wolt is the intelligent, yet humble people I get to work with. I love how international we are as well — we have people from over 100 nationalities within our Wolt team of 6,000+ people. 🌍
The Wolt culture is flat and transparent. From the product management perspective, this shows in many ways. Teams build their roadmap together. There are no stamps of approval or hoops to jump through to get approvals — you’re trusted to make the right calls yourself. Decisions, and the reasons behind them, are communicated openly which allows anyone to be part of the decision making process and point out possible improvements to it. Overall, the feedback loop is open and transparent. We’re built on trust, ownership and accountability.
When you bring a bunch of intelligent and humble people together, you end up creating an environment that fosters individual growth. People are able to improve their skills and understanding; learnings and best practices are shared with each other. In case the path forward is unclear, there is always someone willing to help. Mistakes are openly discussed and learned from as it allows others to avoid making the same ones. In general, there’s a strong belief in the mentality that together we are stronger, which is why Wolt is a great place to work and grow.
I hope this blog has given you a bit more insights into what it’s like to work as a Product Lead at Wolt. If it sounds like a place you’d like to work in, I have good news for you — we’re hiring! You can find all our open positions from the link below.