At Zopa, we’re shaping the future of finance.
We offer simple loans and smart investments that help people take control of their finances and do more with their money. In the 12 years we’ve been in business, we’ve helped more than 60,000 people lend over £2 billion to 246,000 UK consumers.
And our journey’s only just beginning. In November 2016 we announced our plans to build a next generation bank so that we can bring a greater range of smart, ethical finance products to even more people.
At Zopa, our Product Managers are responsible for ensuring that problems and opportunities which impact the customer and the commercial performance of the product are identified; and that the right decisions are made and implemented at the right time to deliver maximum positive impact.
A Zopa Product Manager understands the product inside out – the commercials, the market, the customer, and their journey – both in terms of what they experience at each stage as well as what happens “under the hood”. They rigorously analyse internal and external data and insights to identify problems and opportunities.
Our Product Managers work in cross-functional teams to add even more intellectual horsepower, bringing the right people together to gather and analyse the information that is needed to inform the best decision around how to either fix a problem or seize a new opportunity. They understand Zopa’s strategy and priorities holistically and knows how they relate to their tribe, which helps them prioritise work.
They’re continuously curious, seeking to deepen their knowledge around different technologies and disciplines in order to be able to ask the right questions; They may even “fill the gaps” when certain holes appear in the team, being conversant in all disciplines but not necessarily fluent in all, helping others in the team to better understand and consider the commercial and customer impacts more naturally themselves.
On a day to day basis this means a Zopa Product Manager will be:
- Responsible for ensuring that problems and opportunities are identified, and the right decisions are made around changes to the product which ensure the maximum positive impact is delivered to both the customer and Zopa
- The intellectual owner of Zopa’s product(s) within a cross-functional team – what each product is and how it works, both from a customer and a commercial perspective
- Passionate about how product(s) are performing, from both the customer and commercial standpoint
- Tracking and interrogating key metrics and data to understand what is happening and why
- Keeping a close eye on industry trends and benchmarks, new innovation and what the competition is doing, and seeking to understand what it all means from Zopa and how we should react
- Helping to ensure deadlines are met and the team doesn’t lose sight of what the priorities are and what the “bigger picture” looks like
- Identifying and managing key stakeholders along the way – bringing the optimum blend of people together and ensuring the right people stay informed, all the while keeping an eye on timely impact by ensuring the correct input is received when it is needed and as many decisions as possible get made with all the information available
- Stopping silos from forming, drilling the right holes in and out for information to flow between them so that the whole business is working as one
What skills do Zopa Product Managers have?
- Strong commercial acumen
- Analytical problem-solving
- Tools, frameworks and structures to evaluate performance and support effective decision-making
- A passion for technology – they must have a strong knowledge and grasp of technology and what it allows. They know the tools that exist and how they should be used, without necessarily being an expert in using every tool themselves. They are hungry to continuously update and deepen their knowledge and skills in this area
- “Nice to have” skills include SQL, excel, YouTrack – if they don’t already have them, they should be hungry to learn them and use them
- Effective communication – they can structure a presentation and can explain even complex things simply
- Project management – they understand the importance of deadlines and can create the necessary momentum to get things done
- Influencing – they have personal power and can influence up, down and sideways, adapting their approach as needed
- Perspective – they can fly the helicopter and look down the microscope to identify where the product is strong and where its weak points are
What Zopa Product Managers are like:
- Obsessed about the customer
- Curious, rigorous thinkers / interrogators – always probing beyond a simple answer, assuming nothing
- Critical – constantly looking at ways to improve self, product, others
- Bright and smart – they bring raw, intellectual horsepower, to understand and analyse. Capable of doing other people’s jobs, but smart enough to know not to
- Collaborative – they bring people together, understand the value each other person can bring and can mix the chemistry to create
- Efficient machines – sharp, precise and hate waste. They find their flow and project that to help the team to find its flow
- Adaptable – they can shift their role to fit whatever is needed most, a shape-shifter
- They care more about getting to the right decision and being able to rigorously justify the decision, than about consensus
- Non-hierarchical – instead they have personal power and projection. They can influence from top, bottom and sideways, up, down and across
Where are Zopa Product Managers from? What is their background?
- Possibly ex-consulting, from a large financial services co. that is strongly data-driven / analytical (e.g. Capital One, Barclaycard), or a Product Manager in another start-up or technology company
- If ex-MBA, they come with the core skills & frameworks that they learn, but also with a strong appetite for operational experience and without a sense of entitlement
- Strong interest in tech development, but not a tech engineer / developer (otherwise they can’t resist saying how it should be done, and that’s not their job). Able to challenge and spot where engineers are missing something / going down the wrong path
- Evidence of execution focus – a proven track record of delivering stuff