Product Management golden rules, with Maristela Calazans, from OLX

“When we define objectives and budgets, I am always looking at the next couple of years”, states Maristela. “When you are a product-led company, you should always be discussing if what you are doing truly brings value to your customer in the long term”.

“Since the beginning, our product strategy was to focus on what is essential. The online experience is a very straightforward one. The vision was to give the user what he really needed: Zé should be the extension of the fridge — and all the areas focused on delivering that”, he says. “But we struggled a lot to get there”.

“Our structure is a living organism. It changes a lot. Once every two or three years, we need to reconsider and rediscuss if it is working and still efficient”, says Maristela. “There are some decisions that you can make, even from the beginning of the company’s journey, to avoid the suffering of growing afterward. Having a very flexible architecture is one of them: it helps to grow”.

“A product leader should be extremely pragmatic, practical, results-oriented and avoid obsessing with certain ideas, because you often need to change routes”, says Maristela. “Look for people with a powerful business sense in the beginning because it minimizes the conflict between different areas. They should understand the product, but also the shareholders and commercial needs. Having people who feel the pain of different areas helps a lot”.

“At OLX, at first, we had different OKRs, which is insane. Today, we have the same objectives. The senior leadership for product and engineering have a weekly meeting and define everything together: from priorities to compensation incentives, resources allocation, and changes in the team. Of course, there are some particularities of each functional area, but everything related to the squads, we decide together, “ says Maristela. “We understood that it was critical to work together, and we were delivering better results by doing that”.

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