There is enough writing on how to create highly effective product teams. You may have read Marty Cagan’s book (we did too) or dozens of other articles. Even if you follow industry best practices when setting up product equipment, you’ll never create two computers in exactly the same way. Teams are made up of individuals and the sum of these individuals makes each team unique. It’s no different for us at Starship.
In our product team we have multiple product groups that focus on key pillars of the business such as consumer experience or standalone systems. Each team has the skills and abilities needed to bring the product to life from idea to customer acceptance and business impact: product management, product design, data science, and engineering.
Team function is best when there are clear roles and responsibilities established throughout the team, and when each role is held by a highly qualified person in that role. This is a basic concept of teamwork, where the collective group can achieve more than if each person worked individually. The work must be divided to allow it, and therefore assigning the work to people with the skills to do the work is more efficient than assigning it at random or to people who do not have the necessary skills.
When hiring product teams, in addition to the skills needed, we look for added culture and value adjustment. Every new person who joins us adds something or complements our culture. It makes the team unique and unique. If you’re thinking of jumping ship (pun intended!) And joining the Starship product team, here are some things you might want to know about our ways of working.
Extreme ownership and trust
As a team, and each one individually, we take full responsibility for our work and the things that have happened. This means that everyone takes steps to get the information they need to do their job and we try to proactively resolve any issues. We do not expect someone to tell us everything, but we ask, seek, and find. And yes, sometimes we fail. In these situations we do not blame others for failure, but we realize it. As one of the values of our company says: “on every trip we learn”.
Professional maturity is the ability to respect diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences in a workplace. In our team we have 12 different nationalities from 4 continents and we work in teams distributed between Helsinki, Tallinn and London. We respect and accept that we are different, that is what makes us special. Having so many different cultures on one team sometimes leads to situations where our opinions clash. We approach these situations as a source of true team value, and with an unjudgmental and compassionate attitude.
Suitable for the purpose
Being a group of experienced people who are very good at what they do means we want to do our job very well. We want to offer the best possible experience to our customers and partners. We want to create products that are as good as possible: that are perfect.
The problem with perfectionism, however, is that it slows us down and can cause the team to lose opportunities to add value in a new way. If we release things only when they are perfect, we will not learn quickly enough how to make things better. Therefore, we try not to get in the way of the perfect. So let’s aspire to perfection, but let’s not let that stop us from throwing big things.
Disagree and commit
We believe that a good idea can come from anyone. And we want the best ideas to flourish, no matter where they came from. This means being open to working constructively with people with diverse skills and perspectives, and keeping our decision-making inclusive and rigorous.
Once we have exhausted the options a decision is made. We adopt the concept of constructive debate and consultation, but once a decision is made, we all come together around the chosen path. They embody the principle of disagreement and commitment.
Believe in making a difference
Many of us joined Starship because we thought it would be great to work with robots. And it really is. The common value we all share, however, is that we truly believe we can make a difference. We believe we can make a positive impact in solving the last mile problem by developing the delivery service of tomorrow, today. We all want Starship to succeed and the last mile to be the greenest.
Building tomorrow’s delivery service is no easy task. The challenges we work on are complex and multifaceted. Working at the intersection of physical and digital products and systems adds to this complexity. As a product team, we aim to take advantage of our extraordinary technical achievements and turn them into a service without which people simply cannot live. We aim to delight our customers with the best a la carte services and inspire our merchants with unparalleled local sales channels. At the same time, we work to train our operations teams to drive quality efficiency and deliver daily magic with our autonomous robots.
Do these challenges sound your alley? Great, we are looking for people with unusual talent. Find your next career here.