Life at Scoro: Interview with VP of Product Martin Anvelt
Previously, we have shared stories about Scoro’s Sales, Service Delivery, and Engineering divisions. At the center of all those teams is our core element: product. Therefore, this time we will talk more about what’s happening in the Product division, how the switch to a 4-day work week has been, and why less is more when it comes to product. Say hello to our one and only VP of Product, Martin Anvelt.
Martin is always up for challenging himself professionally and happens to be at the right place at the right time. During his tech career, he has held various roles, from support to accounting to sales to engineering and product. Hard work (or pure luck) has brought him to Scoro, where he is taking care of the Product division.
Being a “Jack of all trades” is very beneficial when working in the product field, especially in product leadership because it helps you see the bigger picture and understand your stakeholders.
You have a successful career path in the tech sector. What drew you to Scoro?
Before joining Scoro, I worked at Pipedrive for almost six years. I held multiple different roles, mostly moving back and forth between Product and Revenue. During which I helped to build out a very successful Channel Partner Program and reinvigorated the Ecosystem/Marketplace team.
After working at Pipedrive for almost six years, I needed to move on to avoid getting comfortable. With that in mind, I was talking to multiple companies to find my next challenge. One of the most essential parts of the decision process was ensuring a solid business and an excellent environment to work in with a fantastic team. After almost a year of searching, my former colleague reached out to me to see if I would be interested in joining him at Scoro. After learning a bit more about the business and meeting the CEO and the team, I realized I had found my “new home,” so here I am now.
In Scoro, you hold the role of VP of Product. Can you tell us more about the Product division?
There are 16 people in our product organization, including researchers, designers, product managers, and content/localization people, all organized into 2 product groups – Core Product and Ecosystem supported by designers and researchers. Our whole team is located in the Baltics.
Regarding how we work, I’m a big fan of ‘less is more’. This means that we try to keep the number of processes and policies as little as possible but as much as we need to produce consistent and predictable outcomes while constantly learning from each other. One of the biggest changes that have taken place in the last year has been the move to the “mission framework”. This enables us to work more on delivering new solutions while still ensuring that the product is stable for our customers.
Scoro's product team is still small enough that each person's contribution can have a massive effect on success and growth. But at the same time, we are big enough to influence many companies. We can literally change the way people work, think of time, and give precious hours back to them. - Kristel Ojalill, Head of Product Group
Can you highlight some exciting challenges your teams are currently facing?
I think the biggest and most exciting challenge today is that we have so much that we can do. Still, we must make hard decisions and drive the product forward in a direction that enables us to better serve more service businesses. But I guess that is the exciting challenge in most growing product-driven companies.
Dwelling previously in the realm of UX within academia, I missed out on a lot of real-world experiences. Luckily, Scoro paved the way for us UX researchers to experiment freely with a wide range of approaches and practices. Most significantly, though, it's a great pleasure to be a part of such a companionable bunch of individuals! - Mustafa Can Özdemir, UX Researcher
Can you describe your leadership style?
I have been lucky to have worked for some exceptional leaders. Their management styles’ common themes were a clear direction, trust, support, and accountability. I have tried to provide that to every team I have ever managed. That is also why I am a massive fan of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) – delegating freedom with accountability.
I think the key to any high-performing team is people having a sense of ownership – they feel they are heard and their work matters. This is even more important in a creative role like product management. I also tend to rely on humor quite a bit. Work has to be fun!
What would be one piece of advice you could pass along to someone trying to kick start their career as a product manager?
I think the most critical trait for anybody applying to be a product manager is their attitude. They want to discover problems and come up with value-adding solutions collaboratively. One has to be willing to learn and adapt daily and let go of their work and solutions when it becomes evident that it will not get us there – one has to be flexible.
I feel that I can contribute to the success of the company while developing my skills to a whole new level. When also adding the fact that I'm coming to the office with a smile on my face and am surrounded by likeminded happy people, then what could be better? - Rait Tuulas, Product Manager
Scoro switched to a 4-Day Work Week from July 2022. Have you faced any challenges because of the change in nominal working hours?
I think the fundamental problem is the same for everybody. How do you get five days of work done in four days? The trick is to accept that the output will drop, and that is ok. Outcomes matter more than output anyway. That is why I am such a big fan of the 4-day work week. It forces more people to shift away from the industrial era’s ‘thought process of outputs’.
We have made several efforts in the Product Division to pull this off. For example, reducing the number of team-wide meetings and setting better-defined objectives that focus on quantifiable outcomes. We, as a team, are constantly looking for ways to work smarter, and I always try to take into account the feedback from my people.
Why would you recommend Scoro to someone new?
Great people, great product, endless opportunities!
The fact that Scoro lives and breathes its mission inspired me to join the team. Here, ambitious career growth exists alongside a healthy work-life balance. As an employee, I can partake in Scoro's drive to transform the working world and help others be more productive and happy. - Elīna Karole, Technical Copywriter