Job Profiles @CheMondis: What makes the job of a product owner at CheMondis? Torben explains.

At CheMondis, every single employee (of currently 56) is constantly working towards our common goal to shape the digital future of one of the largest B2B markets in the world. CheMondis is building the marketplace for the Chemical Industry, combining deep industry know-how with the latest digital technology. We connect verified professional buyers and suppliers in one trusted marketplace to facilitate the digital trade of chemicals, deliver efficiency and data-driven insights.

To make this possible, CheMondis is structured in five teams:

  • Our People and Organization Team
  • Our Commercial Team
  • Our Engineering Team
  • Our Product Team
  • Our BI Team

Each of these teams follows the logic of agility. Meaning that tasks are shaped and prioritized regularly. This applies to each team individually but also to interdisciplinary work. For many projects, we build project teams with colleagues from various disciplines.

Job Profile Insights.

With this new series of blog articles, we’d like to give you insights into different job profiles at CheMondis, as well as into our organization. We kicked off the series with the article about Umut, one of our Business Development Managers. Today we’ll continue with the profile of a Product Owner.

How do you get the best insights, you ask? Well, by asking one of our Product Owners directly, of course.

Who is Torben?

  • Age: 40 years old
  • Previous job experience: Torben started his career in the gaming industry, where he stayed for 14 years. His top experience is in product- and project management
  • Responsibilities: Improving the CheMondis marketplace by continuous development of new features and services
  • Joined CheMondis in: July 2020
  • Why has he joined CheMondis? It is a very interesting challenge and opportunity to connect different parties from the chemical industry and to change the market to get a more digital approach.

Is the product team organized in any specific structure?

The team is organized into different development teams, consisting of 4-6 teammates. Each team has the skill set to work independently and autonomously. Within each team, there is a Product Owner, a Product Designer, Frontend Developers, and Backend Developers. By structuring into different development teams, we ensure to design our development processes in a fast and efficient way.

Let’s take a quick look into the responsibilities of the roles:

Product Owner: Responsible for the product roadmap and making sure the product vision of CheMondis gets implemented. The roadmap is divided into different small task which need to be created and prioritized constantly for each development team.

Product Designer: Takes care that each service or feature that is created is solving a customer problem and follows high user experience standards in terms of usability and design of our marketplace.

Frontend Developer: The Frontend Developer takes care that any internet browser can display the CheMondis marketplace on any kind of device (mobile, tablet, desktop etc.) and guarantees a great user experience at any interaction.

Backend Developer: The Backend Developer is responsible for any kind of logic that is happening in the background of CheMondis to keep the page fast and responsive. All activities take place in the infrastructure of the marketplace.

What do you think is important to bring along in terms of experience to fulfill the job of a Product Owner?

I don’t think experience is that important. But if someone already has knowledge from working in the chemical industry, for example, that is of course an advantage in order to better understand customer needs. In the product team and in the company as a whole, we are a group of experts from different industries, which is, of course, the best-case scenario in order to incorporate different perspectives.

But for the role of a product owner, I think very good communication and analytical skills are very important. That’s because you’re constantly serving a number of stakeholders. On the one hand, every development of the marketplace has to meet the needs of the business. For this purpose, regular interviews are conducted with customers to understand their needs, challenges, and goals. On the other hand, it has to be technically feasible.

What are the typical tasks of a Product Owner at CheMondis?

A major part of the tasks lies in creating and maintaining the product backlog. There, tasks are stored for a certain period before being implemented. For us, these tasks usually relate to the technical improvement of the marketplace, whether through new features or changes to existing ones.

What would you say are the top 5 skills you need to become a successful Product Owner?

  • Communication skills
  • Empathy
  • Business thinking
  • Problem solver mentality
  • Must be able to look over the edge of the plate

How does your typical working day look like?

I start my day by checking through new messages and emails. Of course, then I get a nice coffee to prepare the scrum meetings I have that day. These meetings include:

Daily Stand-Up’s: This kind of meeting takes place every day for 15 minutes with the entire scrum team to update each other, align on the next task and solve any possible issues.

Reviews: Each development presents the outcome of the last sprint to all stakeholders within CheMondis in a defined rhythm. Feedback and ideas for further sprints and optimizations are discussed together.

Retros: The team examines how the just-completed sprint went on different levels: personal feelings, relationships, processes, and tools. The main idea is to improve on these factors in the next sprint.

Planning: The team determines the tasks they will work on during the next sprint and discusses their plans for completing those.

When everything is set for the day / upcoming sprint, I try to solve customers’ problems by digging into collected data and communicating with stakeholders.

What do you value the most about being part of #teamchemondis?

At CheMondis, the focus is clearly on the team. We have colleagues from all over the world here in our office in Cologne. Diversity is a huge driver for us. Also, I find working on our product, the marketplace, incredibly exciting. The opportunity to work on something new which can move an entire market.

What are your biggest challenges?

Sometimes, it is a challenge to understand the customers’ behavior and needs as the chemical industry is still very traditional. To get a better understanding, we conduct customer interviews and ask specific questions and find out about their needs. Moreover, we do testing directly on our marketplace to measure if a feature is valuable for our customers. By doing so, we get a better understanding of how the platform should look like for an optimized customer-centric approach.

Thank you, dear Torben, for taking us through your day and sharing important insights into your daily routines, tasks, and challenges.

Now It is Up to You.

You would like to become part of #teamchemondis as well? Check our open positions and Irene Prinz is happy to meet you in a first interview.

Thanks for taking the time to read the CheMondis blog.