In our VentureStories series, we’ll be chatting with VentureDevs employees from across the company and in various roles to learn more about what they do, how they got started, and why they’re excited to be a part of the VentureSquad.
For this latest installment, we’re talking with Magdalena Szeniak, one of our Product Leads based in Kraków, Poland. Magdalena is an experienced Scrum professional with a background in the healthcare and gaming industries, as well as a passion for the teamwork inherent to agile software development — both with the VentureSquad and our clients.
Let’s dive in!
Q: How long have you been at VentureDevs?
Magda Szeniak: I’ve been with VentureDevs for over three years now — but it feels like forever, actually. I’m surprised that it’s only been three years because when I think about it, there have been so many experiences within this timeframe, that it feels like years have passed.
Q: Why did you decide to become a Product Owner?
MS: Well, I knew I wanted to become a PO ever since I first started using the Scrum framework, back when I was working in the gaming industry. I thought to myself, “This job is really awesome.” You actually have influence over the product, what you’re going to release, and how it’s supposed to be made.
I like that many of your decisions shape the product — and you get to communicate with the stakeholders to make something really cool and that people are going to love, and can even change people’s lives a little bit. The thought of being a PO seemed very challenging, and I like challenges.
Q: So how did you get started as a PO?
MS: I believe that everything I did in my life contributed to my current job. I worked with people as a case manager in healthcare, and then I worked in the education field, and then in game development and marketing. So these experiences gave me a solid foundation and a better understanding of different perspectives.
Q: Can you tell me the story of how you found VentureDevs?
MS: I had already decided to leave my last job, so I gave my one month notice and then I found a job offer at justjoinIT. I met with the hiring manager, and it was a very short process — it took a week or so, then I was hired.
Q: Did anything surprise you when you first started working at VentureDevs?
MS: This is the first time I’ve worked with such flexible working hours — oh, and in a dog-friendly office! Also, people were so organized from the beginning, and they didn’t have to be told what to do. It was amazing to me because this was something different from my previous work experience.
So I thought VentureDevs was very cool — and everyone is so funny and knowledgeable! That’s something that caught my attention. We’re a funny bunch of people.
Q: Can you describe a typical workday for you?
MS: I start my workday by checking my emails and messages. Since I’m also a Product Lead and I’m recruiting for the Product team, I review candidates’ applications and check their home tasks.
I check JIRA for my product, see its progress, and field questions from the team. I work on user stories and various assets such as flows and wireframes. I prepare for client calls, and, a few times per week, I hold client meetings where we discuss business priorities and the product roadmap. Depending on where we are with the sprint, I attend Scrum events accordingly.
I have to constantly prioritize between my product and leadership work. This is the most challenging part.
I meet with members of my team to ensure delivery excellence, and these regular check-ins are a big part of my responsibilities. I collect metrics needed for our monthly reports and I also meet frequently with our leadership teams to work together on company-level priorities.
Since every team member has their own development goals, I check in with everyone once per month to discuss their progress and to see what kind of assistance they need, if any. And I also participate in internal initiatives such as creating new processes, work groups, etc.
Q: What’s the best part of working at VentureDevs, and why?
MS: The fact that these people have the best sense of humor in the world. And anytime I need help, nobody would tell me, “No, I’m too busy” or, “It’s not my job to help you.” Everyone is always helpful, even if they don’t have time at the moment, they’ll make time later or direct me to someone else who can help me.
Q: Can you tell me about one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had while working at VentureDevs?
MS: I used to work in Poznań, and I’d go to the office every day because I love to be with people on a daily basis. So, I was kind of sad for a few days when I moved back to Kraków and started working remotely.
A few days after we moved back, it was my birthday, and people from the Poznań office plotted behind my back with my boyfriend to throw me a huge surprise party. So they traveled like 450 km to Kraków to be there, and I didn’t expect them at all! That was what made me sure that I'm working with the right people and the right company. They made me feel like I was back at the Poznań office.
Q: Is there anything that you see as “uniquely VentureDevs,” something that sets us apart from other companies?
MS: Again, the people. I feel like that’s our biggest asset. Also transparency across the company and very high working standards. We always try to discover new ways of doing our jobs even better.
Q: What is some advice you’d like to share with up-and-coming Product Owners?
MS: You should never stop learning, and you should think like an entrepreneur because you need to think about the product like it’s your own.
You have to work on quite a few products to learn some general patterns and practices, but every product is different. You’re always going to be surprised. Prepare for that. You have to set routines, but it’s never going to be the exact same from product to product.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
MS: I guess I just want to say thank you to everyone for being such a good support, and for being great friends at VentureDevs.
I feel like I can really grow in the company and I never feel at any point in time like, “This is all I can achieve here,” because there are always new challenges, and every day is different. I’m excited to be here and I hope there are going to be many more years.
This interview has been edited for clarity.