Oct 4, 2021
From Interns to Product Leads – Niina and Nuutti sharing their stories at Wolt
Hi. Who are you?
Niina: Hi, I’m Niina. I’m a Product Lead here at Wolt. Currently, I’m responsible for the Merchant App; the application that restaurants and other merchant partners use to manage their incoming orders. I started as an intern in January 2020.
Nuutti: Hi! I’m Nuutti, a 25-year-old Product Lead. I started as an intern in May 2020. At the moment, I’m running a pilot for a new business initiative. I’m also improving analytics in the product management organisation.
Could you tell a little about your background?
Niina: Before Wolt, I was a UX Designer at Slush for two years. In summer 2020, I graduated from Aalto where I studied Information Networks. I focused on User-Centered Design, but took a few coding and business related courses, too.
Nuutti: Before joining Wolt, I worked as an analyst for a Fintech startup, where I got to learn a lot about analysing financial data and preparing pitches to investors. I’m currently also wrapping up my master’s studies in economics at Aalto University.
How did you end up at Wolt?
Niina: After Slush I knew I wanted to work in product development, but not necessarily as a UX Designer. I heard about Wolt’s Product Management Internship through a friend. It seemed like an interesting opportunity and I applied. I had heard good things about Wolt’s product development.
Nuutti: I applied for a permanent analyst position at Wolt, but in the final interview I heard about the Product Management Internship position and decided to change track. Product management immediately seemed like a much better fit for me. Looking back, I definitely think that it was the right decision for me.
So… What was your internship like? What did you actually do?
Niina: I worked in the Consumer Products team, the team responsible for Wolt’s mobile and web applications. The first few weeks I spent my time learning about Wolt and meeting other Product Leads in the group. I did one shift in Wolt customer support and also had a chance to step into the shoes of a Wolt Courier Partner to deliver food with my colleagues.
Pretty quickly, I started leading the renewal of one of our marketing tools. The tool is used by 23 countries (that’s how many countries Wolt operates in!). It was an extremely interesting experience, since we had to start from scratch. We wanted to make something that our marketing managers find useful and easy to use but we had full control of how we actually built the product.
Product Managers need to bring together people from different parts of the organisation to solve a problem, so I organised workshops with our designers, developers and the marketing managers themselves. I wanted the development team to understand the kinds of problems our marketers face. But we also had to remember that Wolt grows quickly and all our products need to be ready to scale along with it.
Nuutti: I worked in the Wolt at Work team which is responsible for developing Wolt’s B2B service. I worked on both product and business projects. I really enjoyed it, because the problems we faced were so business-oriented. We had to consider the characteristics of our different markets and help the development team build something that works for everyone. I worked closely with sales managers in Israel, Hungary and Denmark, just to name a few.
During the first weeks of my internship I focused on understanding our product, and Wolt in general. I also started a few data analysis projects. For example, I analysed the impact that launching lunch benefits, like Edenred in Finland, had on user behavior. Were users spending more money or just changing the payment method they used?
Midway through my internship, the product lead of our team went on parental leave so I got the chance to take even more responsibility. I did everything from running weekly meetings with our sales team to being the point of contact to the rest of the company. It was really intense, but I got a lot of support from everyone.
What did you learn during your internship?
Niina: Wow, so many things. In product management you end up working on many things and learning about many different topics. I learned prioritisation, project management, data analysis, communication, customer interviews and how Wolt works as a business. Especially the mentoring and support from more experienced Product Leads in the company was very valuable. Thinking about it now, I think the internship was like an introductory course to product management in product-led companies.
Nuutti: I really learned a lot! The funny thing is, when you take ownership of something, and are passionate about driving it forward, you almost automatically learn the things you need to get stuff done. It helped that I was working with an experienced Product Manager, who shared feedback and useful tips on a daily basis. Overall, I’d say that I learned the most about communication and what it takes to make something succeed in a complex company like Wolt.
What have you been doing after the internship?
Nuutti: When my internship ended I took two months off to focus on my studies. After that I started as a full-time Product Lead in our Rotational Product Management program. As an “RPM”, I get to do three 8-month rotations in different positions. The program is really cool as it includes extensive mentoring and different courses, for example on business and legal topics. It’s a natural next step after the internship.
Right now, I’m focusing on improving our product analytics capabilities. We run something called a Net Promoter Score survey that gets thousands of responses every week. I’ve been improving the survey, analyzing the answers and communicating the findings within the company. I’m also driving the development of a completely new (and still secret) business vertical for Wolt. I wish I could say more.
Niina: After the internship, I continued with the content creation tool and was placed as Product Lead for a new team – Content and Personalisation. In addition to the content creation tools, the team is responsible for restaurant recommendation algorithms at Wolt. Every time you open our app, we run a bunch of algorithms to determine which restaurants we should show you.
It’s been interesting, but also challenging. Recommending restaurants in the app is a lot like recommending restaurants in person. What people want depends a lot on the context: Are you ordering together with friends or alone? Is it lunch or dinner time? Do you want your food now or can you wait a while? There are many things to consider.
Last June I moved to the Merchant App team as a part of the same rotational product management program that Nuutti is doing.
So just to be clear.. What do product managers actually do?
Niina: Hah, a very good question. At Wolt, we call them “Product Leads’, but it’s essentially the same thing. I guess it’s impossible to list all the responsibilities here. Also, product management means different things in different companies.
At Wolt, we believe that product managers bring context to the development team, to help in decision-making and overall make sure that things move in the right direction. Also, Product Managers listen to customer needs, analyse the business and measure the performance of their products. This understanding helps in deciding where to put the engineering and design efforts. Product Leads are also responsible for communicating what the team is doing.
Nuutti: I think Niina summarised this really well 🙂
The coolest thing you’ve worked on at Wolt?
Nuutti: Overall, the coolest thing for me has been the degree of responsibility I’ve been able to take so early on. The fact that I got to cover for a Product Lead when he went on parental leave during my internship is a great example of this.
Niina: Well it’s been really cool to work on a product that is used by over 10 million people. Tweaking our recommendation engine here in Helsinki might change the way that millions of people get their meals. That’s almost twice as many people as the whole population of Finland – and a very big responsibility.
Last but not least. Why product management?
Nuutti: I find product management exciting because the job is about creating value through building new things that customers want to use. In addition, I can’t think of many other roles where you get to learn such a wide range of skills. For me this is perfect as I’ve always been interested in pretty much everything.
Niina: I think the most motivating thing for me in product management is to do work that has an impact on the product, customers’ lives and the business. Also at Wolt, you work closely together with talented developers and designers who are passionate about shipping top-notch product features. It’s a very inspiring environment to work in.