My name is Gülcan Tonkal, I am a Director of Product at Kiwi.com for the Booking Fulfillment team. I have been working in the product management field for more than 10 years, in industries including logistics, telecommunication and travel.
Main goals of Product Management at Kiwi.com
Our main goal in product management is to provide our customers the best travel experience at the most affordable price. To achieve this, we have a strong product portfolio that includes a customer facing application, website, ancillary products, fintech solutions, background services in order to complete reservations successfully, customer support tools… and the list goes on.
As the goal set, our very first expectation from product managers is to be the ones who decide on the best possible strategy for achieving this common goal, making our customers happy. Each year we set company objectives with our Senior Managers and cascade these focus areas, company wide. Once the objectives are set, Product Managers (PM) are responsible to figure out the most critical improvements to work on and do the best resource allocation. It requires a balance between working for growth and also working for usual maintenance or as we call it, “keeping the lights on”.
Here at Kiwi.com, we have a unique yet complicated business model, which usually requires decision making involving more than one team. With this kind of cross team collaboration, for most of the objectives we have shared leadership and Product Managers are specifically responsible to define dependencies on one another, principles on the ways of working and proper timelines. In addition, most of our business decisions require the technical team`s involvement to better assess the alternatives and that requires being able to speak the same language, which is fundamental for our Product Managers. They are also responsible for guiding the development team on what to do next and how, that means they are also wearing a product owner hat.
Last but not least, product management at Kiwi.com is a constant discovery. We are always looking for new business opportunities, new products, new partners and technologies. We as Product Managers are responsible for sniffing the market trends and coming up with new, valuable, feasible, usable ideas that can contribute to Kiwi.com`s future success.
How People Grow and Excel at Kiwi.com in Product Management area
First of all, we care about each other’s improvement by executing knowledge sharing communities within Product Managers where they can share the findings, improvements to the ways of working, new product features and learnings. Besides that, we join training for both product management and for improving our soft skills. We attend conferences and travel events to grow our network and hear from industry leaders. We also chase reports, books, trends, blogs, industry magazines etc. Our research team constantly shares their business related findings, which adds to our own efforts.
Although we have all these valuable resources, we are also hungry for knowledge and self improvement. I’m sharing a graph below, from Peak Product 2022 Report, that shows what are the successful personal traits that a Product Manager should have.
Peak Product 2022 Report – Trends and Benchmarks
When you check the top 3 (curiosity, seeking to understand people and openness to new ideas), I can confirm that these are also the values we most appreciate here.
The Most Important Learnings in Product Management
I believe in the importance of transparency. Openly communicating to the leaders, stakeholders and to our own teams, and doing regular health checks is crucial to show progress. It also helps to understand and solves any possible issues, making transparency a critical element for Product Managers working across teams.
I`d also like to highlight the proactivity. You know the well known metaphor, product management is like being a conductor, they steer and guide the orchestra to deliver the best performance. I personally love this metaphor and I believe every step of the way, for every instrument to be played, Product Managers should lead the order, one step ahead of players.
Are you interested in boosting your career at Kiwi.com? Check our open positions and don’t hesitate to apply.