May 12, 2022
My first three months as a Product Lead at Wolt
Wouldn’t it be exciting to work for a company that builds a product you use daily? When you use a product you like, you likely come across some delightful moments, as well as ideas for what could be improved and you might wonder what it would be like to be part of building it. This is how my story started with Wolt 😄 .
I’ve been a user of Wolt for a long time and I’ve always enjoyed the user experience. It’s an easy, fun and convenient way of ordering anything you may need to your home and workplace within half an hour or so, with an amazing support team behind it. While people often know Wolt from having delicious food delivered to their door, there’s actually a lot more to the company. Behind the scenes Wolt is building a global logistic platform, connecting millions of users, tens of thousands of merchant partners and over a hundred thousand courier partners. And behind building it all are over 40 product teams, focused on various customer groups and interesting customer problems.
When I finally took the leap and applied for the Product Lead position at Wolt, I was really excited to be contacted by the talent acquisition team for an interview. But I had no idea about the exciting journey I was about to take part in. That’s why I wanted to shed some light on how the interview process was and how it’s like to work as a Product Lead at Wolt. Let’s dive in!
Going through the interview process
The process kicked off with a call with the recruiter. We had a really nice conversation to see if the position and Wolt is a match for what I’m looking for, and if my background and skills suit this role. It was helpful for me to get a better understanding of the company structure, position and how I could provide value in this position.
Next, it was time to chat with the hiring manager. We talked about my background and expectations for the position, how they would align with this role and more about the particular team I would join. What caught my attention was the focus on my expectations rather than just simply trying to understand my “fit” for the position. It felt like a two-way street in that way. I was grateful to my hiring manager for being transparent and explaining things as they are, without exaggeration. It’s so important to truly understand the nature of the role you’d work in to understand what you’ll face when entering the company, to have realistic expectations and avoid any disappointment.
Later on, I had two separate meetings in a row for the peer interview. I first chatted with the Engineering team of the Merchant Group, which was the team I was applying for. After that I had an interview with Vincent, the Chief Product Officer at Wolt. The interview with engineers focused more on the ins and outs of working with the engineering team. The chat with the CPO dove deeper into pure product management.
So far, so good 😄 ! The next phase, the assignment, was one of the most crucial steps in my opinion. It was a case study where I got to show my knowledge and experience in practice. In short, the focus here is on product strategy — you’re solving a product problem and the focus of assessment is on the approach and thought-process behind solving the problem, brainstorming solutions and roadmapping. There are two formats: live or take-home assignment. I had the take-home one, where I prepared the case study in advance and had the panel interview after. Some of our interview processes combine the live assignment and panel discussion to complete both on the spot.
For the assignment phase, it’s hard to give concrete tips or examples as we’re looking for a unique approach based on the team we’re hiring for. We have 40+ product teams, each of them with unique focus areas that require different knowledge, experience and vision. Even though we’re one team working for the same goal, there are different problem spaces and challenges to solve for each product team. I really enjoyed working on this case which also showed to me that I’m in the right place for the right position!
After the assignment it was time for the panel interview where you get to present your case to the team and have a Q&A to dive into the thought-process behind it more. The questions were mostly digging into the “why” behind decisions I made when building up the case study and the logic behind it. When building up your case study, it’s good to remember that numbers are important for insights, but it’s more important to fully understand the connections, context and logic behind everything.
After the panel interview, I had a final interview where there was time for any questions that were left unanswered during the process until this point. We also discussed the potential offer, compensation, stock options and benefits.
After the interview process I got my offer and had a chance to ask my questions related to the offer to make everything clear. Wolt lets new joiners choose from three packages, which have a different amount of salary and amount of stock options, so new joiners can choose which package suits them the best. I had no questions left after all, and I happily accepted the Wolt offer to join the team!
The whole journey of the interview process was very neat, informative and challenging, which made the role more interesting for me. It was easy to follow the process as I got a lot of support from the hiring team and I felt I could really understand what I could expect from Wolt.
My first three months at Wolt
Month 1: Let the onboarding begin…
As Wolt was founded in Finland, our headquarters are in Helsinki. We’re also building a tech hub in Berlin. Our hybrid working model allows our people in Product Development to work from anywhere in Germany, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, and Denmark. It also allows us to work from anywhere in the world up to 30 days a year! Since I live in Estonia, I decided to work from here 🇪🇪 . Our Wolt team in Estonia is almost 200 people, while from Product Development side we’re twelve people and looking to grow the team in Estonia.
On my first day, I went to our office in Tallinn and met with my lead there. We had an office tour and he introduced me to people from different areas who work for the Baltic markets. I had a long introduction about the company structure, product structure and team structure from my lead and started to join some meetings with teams and observed what is happening in each one. We also planned my first month together using a comprehensive onboarding guide he prepared for me.
Here are some of the themes from my onboarding guide:
Understand the company vision, goals and objectives
Understand the product you’re working on in detail
Meet with people you need to work with closely and understand their expectations from you
Read about other product areas and understand their contribution to company goals
Get familiar with tools used in the company
Own your product and start creating your vision
But as you probably guessed, there was a lot more to these topics, which is expected 😉 . New joiners also get invitations to a bunch of onboarding training sessions introducing our company values, our tone of voice, company vision and a Q&A session with our CEO Miki 🙌 .
At Wolt, new joiners are assigned a buddy, who will help you with any questions you might have during the first three months, to help you get to know people and start your journey at Wolt. I met with my buddy, Lauri, on the first day, and he was very helpful during my first months. When I needed to figure out something or have questions related to anything, he was always happy to help, which made me feel happy and comfortable.
During the next two weeks I focused on my agenda created from the guide my manager shared and got to know a lot of people. Meanwhile, I was also joining the routine meeting with teams and getting to know the projects we work on. I work in the Merchant Group, which focuses on building products for our merchants (restaurants and stores) that use Wolt, and make these products as useful, efficient, reliable and delightful to use as possible for this customer group. I’m the Product Lead for the Restaurant Menu team where we focus specifically on the restaurant menu model and menu editor experience, so restaurants can smoothly run their offering operations within our merchant platform. In the last week of my first month, I went to Helsinki to visit our headquarters to work from there for a week. I got to meet a lot of people from our team in person which was really nice. Not to forget, I also got some Wolt swag from the office 😉 .
Month 2: Jumping into our customers shoes 💡
In the beginning of the second month, I was at the point where I had a general overview of the product and how we work in the company. So it was time to dive a bit deeper into the customer experience. As a Product Lead, you truly need to understand your product’s users, their feelings and experiences while using your product. As we work on building products for not only the end-user, but also for our merchants and courier partners, it’s vital to understand the experience of all these customer groups. For this reason, I worked as a courier partner for a day to deliver customer orders. It was an amazing experience to put yourself in your users’ shoes and get a deeper insight of how your product makes you feel. Secondly, I worked in Wolt Market to use our merchant app (used by employees in Wolt market to accept orders and check reports for the store) and picker app (used by employees in Wolt market to pick the right items from the shop to deliver to customer) to grab items and deliver them to courier partners. Things that seem simple from outside can be much more complex when you try it yourself. Working in Wolt Market showed me how all the operations are happening inside and how hard our teams are working to make the best out of it.
During the second month I also started to work on our current roadmap and how we want to evolve it for the future. One of the main things expected from the Product Lead in Wolt is to own your own product area vision, roadmap and planning process, to drive with the product team. The autonomy our product teams have is one of the things I love most about Wolt. Unlike many companies, teams have autonomy to decide how to move forward for their areas, including determining the roadmap and the ways of working. As the Product Lead, you’re guiding your product team to ensure that together you work on the most impactful opportunities.
Month 3: Settling into the Product Lead role
As a Product Lead, you get many questions regarding your product and you should be the main point of contact for this. Feedback comes from various customer groups and internal stakeholders and you need to help the team prioritize accordingly, while keeping everything aligned with the team’s goals and vision. This is mostly what my third month is focused on. I’ve started to be more active in various meetings and take ownership of my area, run our projects with our team together and update our roadmap as we go.
The whole journey starting from day one to the end of three months went very fast to be honest! There are so many things to learn each day and many things to do in product since it is a fast moving sector in the world. As I said in the beginning, I was really wondering how is behind this product and now I can see clearly that there is a team working autonomously but united to provide the best experience for our merchants partners, courier partners and customers. There’s always room for improvement at Wolt since being humble and open to learn is very well appreciated in this company. Every topic can be talked and shared openly and you’re always more than welcome to contribute! And this is really due to the culture and people behind Wolt at the end.