The Dream Team: Pierre Cahuzac, Lead Product Manager, on handling fast-paced products to global expansion

People · 28 March 2022

In the Revolut Rocketship, there aren’t many teams more important than Product. There’s no lift off without these superstars. Frankly, there’s no rocket. Every one of our award-winning features start with our Product team, and all our future ones will too 🏆 Today we talk with Pierre Cahuzac, Lead Product Manager at Revolut, to discover more about this incredible and talented team.

Hi Pierre! I know you’re super busy, so it’s great you found time to reveal some secrets about our Product Owners at Revolut. Let’s start from scratch: what is the Product Owner's scope here at Revolut?

Hi, sure, it's not a problem at all. So the Product Owners at Revolut have sole responsibility over the roadmap of the product. Total ownership. The people, the profit, the loss, all in our hands. It’s fast paced. But that’s what drives us! We not only manage the product or the problem – we own it, and that’s what differentiates us from other companies.

An easy way to think of it is that the Product Owner at Revolut is like the CEO of the product. We oversee everything product related from setting strategy, prioritising releases, agreeing the technical tasks with the developers, and championing the customer. Our job covers the entire lifecycle of the product.

Sounds like you’re the real wizards! But all wizards have their fellowship – who do you work with on a daily basis?

Many people, and being surrounded by smart, talented individuals is part of what makes Revolut such a special place. The ‘Dream Team’ is one of our 5 core values and it is definitely a key one for Product Owners. One product team is usually Product Owner (PO), around 6-10 engineers (backend, web, mobile, data), designers, and an Ops Manager. The PO is at the same time Line Manager to everyone in a team, so it's a great opportunity for us to grow as leaders. Depending on the project I can assume that 50% of my job is making sure we deliver on our roadmap and hit KPIs, and the other 50% is making sure my team grows professionally.

Revolut is known for its value ‘Get it done’. We build products. We do it fast and we do it well. And that's why we're now one of the fastest growing fintechs operating in over 35 markets, with products used by almost 18 million people. How do you do it? Do you even sleep?

Yeah, we do sleep and we make sure we have balance for our private lives too. I have a family, I take care of my son, I have hobbies and it’s extremely important for me to keep a healthy work-life balance or work-life integration. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to perform well at work.

In terms of our incredible speed of delivery, it’s all based on company culture. So there’s the planning side and delivering side. We act quick and agile. From design to ready-to-develop (including Nik Storonsky’s initial green light), it’s no more than 1-2 weeks. Our roadmaps are well prepared in advance, and since we don’t have to fight for resources, we can start building right after approval. Despite the fact that Revolut is a giant, great working machine now, we still keep each team autonomous which makes our work easier and faster. And we work with world-class developers so we don’t have to worry about their part.

Is Revolut a place where you can grow and learn? Or are all POs so experienced that you already know everything? Can you talk us through examples from your journey at Revolut?

There’s always room for development! In terms of my journey at Revolut, I joined as a PO for the FinCrime team on the B2B side. As a financial institution we needed to perform a number of money-laundering and fraud-related checks on businesses using our product, and I had a team of 10 engineers and 1 designer to improve the way we do this.
Back then, our main company objective was profitability so I pitched KPIs that relate to it, and picked the most aggressive targets I thought achievable: decreasing time spent on fincrime investigation by 2x, and take customer satisfaction from when we reach out for fincrime reasons from 2.5/5 to 3.5/5, which I thought were pretty ambitious targets to hit within 3 months… Well, I was wrong!

I was told by Nik Storonsky that the KPIs were correct, but the targets should be to decrease time 3x and take Customer Satisfaction Score to 4.5/5. All the while making sure we remained compliant. That's when I understood Revolut was not about incremental changes, but about step changes. And sure enough, 3 months later, we hit our targets – not just by focusing on the product itself, but tackling the issue holistically:

  • by working with agents to change their KPIs and their ways of working
  • by building dashboards with gamification for agents
  • by improving the accuracy of algorithms we rely on to identify accounts to review
  • by reworking the procedure
  • by optimising the product so agents only have the info they need when they need it
  • by changing the way we communicate with users: instead of using chat, we built an interface in the app and fully automated the comms

It was an amazing feeling to see the KPIs improve week after week, as a team.

So that was my first quarter at Revolut, the next one I was asked to keep going with the FinCrime team, and do the same thing with the Support team – which we did. Three months later I was also in charge of global expansion, modularising the product so we can open new countries in days rather than months… and it's kept going like that ever since.

The learning curve is as steep as it was back then, and there hasn't been a single Friday where I haven't felt proud of what I've done in the week before.

Your advice for Product Owners who want to join Revolut?

Our talent bar is really high. We’re looking for people who are self-starters and can be motivated by themselves. One thing everyone has in common at Revolut is that we care about what we do. No one is going to look over your shoulder here, but at the same time you will always easily find a helping hand. When I joined, the company was focused on shipping a lot of products very quickly. Now we need to find a balance between speed and quality. I'm building a framework at the moment to incentivise teams not to introduce bugs and resolve them quickly, together with best practices at all stages in the development process.

We’ve learnt how to trust each other and we’ve structured our team enough to say that now we can keep the speed but without putting extra pressure on people. There was a long journey but we are proud of what we achieved. So if you have a crazy sense of ownership, an entrepreneurial mindset and the urge to solve problems, then please come join us.

We’ll need more POs as we continue to build our global reach, launch businesses overseas, and develop many more exciting new products and features. Positive, career-oriented people can help us become the team we strive to be: the best in the world. Check opportunities on our career website and apply today.

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