And once again, Mercuryo is giving you an opportunity to look inside the company’s business processes. This time Mercuryo Product Owner is in the spotlight. A Product Owner has recently become a crucial position you can often meet mentioned in various descriptions of IT development collectives. What does it mean to be a Product Owner today? Learn with Andrew Ilinsky who’s at this post in our company.
What were the biggest changes in Mercuryo throughout the time of your leadership?
I’m in the project since the day it was founded, so the biggest one is the live launch. You might not know that at first we launched the Web version and apps afterwards.
The first publicly available version of the wallet allowed to link the bank card and buy Bitcoin with it. You could also deposit cryptocurrency on the wallet and withdraw it to another address. In v.1.0, you could turn on the option of recurrent purchases just as it works in banks. We have disabled this function in later versions because it was without additional SMS confirmation. Below you can see one of the earlier versions of Mercuryo website.
The launch of Mercuryo Widget and its integration with Bestchange was a notable event, too. Bestchange was the first project that brought us many users which helped to stress test our security for any loopholes. You might say that we all became cybersecurity experts that first year.
All of this aside, the registration procedure and security methods had various changes as well. At the time you are writing this, we are preparing an update that will make the registration both on the website and on the app even easier.
As a Product Owner, it’s one of your duties to ensure that the needs of clients are fulfilled. Who is Mercuryo audience? Is there any prevalent age or gender?
Our audience is absolutely diverse. I remember one of our elderly clients was around 70 years old. For me as a Product Owner, gender and age are not relevant at all: everybody can use cryptocurrency if they wish to do so.
The app is very user-friendly so it’s easy to purchase crypto for everybody. There are, however, three categories of users based on their activity on Mercuryo. The first group buys cryptocurrency and stores it here. The second buys and immediately withdraws it to other wallets, as Mercuryo is interesting for them only as a good place to buy. And, finally, the third category is traders who buy during price drops and sell on price jumps. All of these categories are equally important for us.
Which details of Product Owner’s job are not obvious for a casual observer?
To some degree, it’s an entrepreneur or a universal soldier. If we speak about day-to-day routine, it’s usually the following tasks…
- planning and prioritizing tasks
- the initial design of various product functions and related processes
- understanding the direction of the project development
- communications with users
- metrics analysis
- the foundation of a new department if the need arises
- hiring new employees
- project economy and how any new features affect it
- analyzing if the project works as a business
- the high-level design and marketing
What are you doing when not at work?
I got many hobbies and sport is my favorite. Most of the time, I think, is taken by basketball. Before this year I played basketball two times a week in a modern sports center. We’re renting a court with guys from the IT sphere: entrepreneurs, devs, designers, analysts, top managers. There were several amateur tournaments.
I also like to spend time with my sons. The youngest of them is 4 and he’s good at transport: scooter, bike and longboard. The middle brother has just started to go to school. He’s very fond of art and construction: drawing, sculpting and building sets. The oldest of them all is now in 3rd grade and he loves football very much, he regularly goes to the football club. All of them are extremely fond of video games like Brawl Stars, Roblox and Fortnite. All of us also enjoy biking together, although it’s become harder these days.
And we’re back to your job again. How do you assess the priorities and needs of customers?
It’s not a rocket science. Sometimes there are bugs we need to fix ASAP. Because of these bugs, users can’t reap the fruits of the labour of the project they, in a way, hired and generate project revenue. New functionality is the second most important issue for us and ideally for users, too. Take cards linked with your cryptocurrency accounts. We were not asked for them but when we ourselves asked the users if they would appreciate this — turns out they are not against this initiative.
A few years ago, the perception of cryptocurrency services was at a completely different level. We decided that it’s hard for the average Joe to find all manuals and instead, we made a service that both looks and operates very close to bank services. Cryptocurrency cards by Mercuryo which are now in development are a logical next step in this strategy. We could try making them from day one, but instead we just linked usual bank cards with our service, thus opening a door for a wide range of customers.
Can you tell something about product management tools such as JIRA or Trello? What’s better? What tool are you using most often? Are these tools really helping to speed up the tasks execution or are they more of an employee activity monitoring method?
I don’t know if I can tell about any special tools that solve everything just because you use them. For me, pen and paper are the best tools. When you’re drawing or writing something by hand, your brain is working very good. Maybe this approach is not for everybody but for me it’s the best. Before I start to describe a new feature, I take my pen and draw a flowchart, imagining where bottlenecks might hide. After this is done, I convert my little pictures into a text and formulate a task to the team.
As a self-management tool, I use Mac notes. They’re super easy and it’s convenient that they almost immediately synchronize with my iPhone. This allows to complete my to-do list at any place. And of course, we shouldn’t forget about the calendar. I don’t know how a modern human being can live without this set of tools.
If we speak about universal time management methods, I can advise the rule of three — it’s when in one day you have only 3 main objectives which you can remember much better than a large table of tasks with different priorities. Mark Foster has described another good method in his book called Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management: you write your list of tasks for tomorrow, draw a line below and you should add any new tasks tomorrow only below this line. Efficient resource management, usefulness and partner relations with all team members and Mercuryo customers alike — all of this guarantees productive work.