Kristine Borisova joined WiseTech in 2016 as a product manager in the accounting product team. With a background in IT, she began her career in customer support where she developed a deep understanding of customer needs, which she says naturally led her to product management.
We sat down with Kristine to find out about her journey into product management, how people can shape their career at WiseTech, and how the hybrid working model has brought more balance into her life.
How did you get into product management?
When I was younger I never really imagined being a product manager when I grew up, but throughout my career I found myself somewhere where I could use both my skills and my personality to do work that I really enjoy. I have a background in IT and before joining WiseTech I worked at a smaller accounting software company. I started in the customer support team, before moving into learning and development, to business analysis, and then ultimately to product management.
In my customer support role, I'd talk to customers regularly and train them on how to use and get the most out of the system. But I couldn't answer a lot of their questions, such as why the product was designed the way it was, so I started gravitating towards the development side. As a product manager, I get to be involved from the idea stage to the actual product, and being able to close that loop is really rewarding for me.
What I like about product management is that you have so many touch points throughout the lifecycle of a feature, an enhancement or a project. From the idea stage, to feedback or insights from the industry through to defining it and then breaking it down into manageable chunks for the development team, and then releasing it out to customers. Seeing the value that it delivers to customers and getting feedback that we can then apply into the development process is this whole loop that gets closed at the end, and it's really rewarding to be involved in all parts of it.
How important is it for you to do meaningful work?
I think it’s very important for anyone to work somewhere that is making an impact in the world, and the logistics industry is more important than ever before. We found that during the lockdowns, everyone was online shopping more and moving around less, so the logistics in between had to work very efficiently. Logistics services had to minimize their costs and run as efficiently as possible, and our software enables that which is really important.
The logistics industry is also one of the biggest polluters in the world, so by digitalizing the experience, we're actually making an impact on the planet as well. Our customers are the largest logistics companies in the world, so if they find value in our product, it means that we're building something really valuable. So working for WiseTech knowing that, is very rewarding.
How would you describe the culture at WiseTech?
WiseTech has a really open and flat structure and culture, and what that means in practice is that we get to work with a lot of people, not just in your own team, but in other teams. In terms of how we approach solving problems, we look at the problem and the goal and then you have the freedom to figure out how to best approach it. Through that process, you get to speak to different people, you get to ask a lot of questions, and really learn about the problem, and really learn about the industry and really learn about all the different products and teams that we have. You get a deeper understanding of the context that you're working with.
How can people shape their career at WiseTech?
WiseTech is all about giving you the opportunity to shape your career, starting with the rotations program. When you join the company, you get to rotate through three different teams, which is great because you get to learn about different products, meet people from different teams and learn how we do things from different perspectives. At the end of the rotations, you get to choose what you want to work on and which team you want to be your permanent team.
This is great for us, because people end up more connected to the company and with a deeper understanding of the bigger picture and hopefully they pick up the best advice and best habits from each of the teams. After the person has picked their permanent team, we encourage everyone to build an expertise and become a subject matter expert and eventually become a mentor to others.
At WiseTech, we don’t just hire people for specific roles, we also hire people based on skills and attitude. For the right people, there's always a role and it’s up to the person how far they take their career. You don’t have to leave the company to try something new or develop a new skill, there are so many opportunities internally and the company will always assist and invest in finding the right role for the right person, which I think is great.
If you’re someone who likes challenges, solving puzzles and working through uncertainty, then it's a great place to be. Whether you're in product, development, or any other role at WiseTech, it’s a place where you’ll undoubtedly deepen your skills because of the nature and the scale of the problems we’re solving. It’s the ideal place to perfect your craft and shape your career.
Why have you stayed at WiseTech for as long as you have?
Usually at a certain point once you've mastered your role, it can be easy to become complacent. But at WiseTech, just as I start to become an expert on something, there’s something new to learn or a new project to take on which keeps me really engaged. There are also lots of learning opportunities such as LinkedIn Learning and professional development programs. For example, I’m currently going through a leadership program. So these opportunities are available, and it’s great to see how the company is investing time and effort into its people.
I've been here for six years and so far, I'm not bored. I think this is because of the complexity of the problems we’re solving and that each new project is completely different to the last, so I’m always learning and challenging myself. In my role I get to learn about how different businesses operate in all the corners of the world, which is really interesting.
I'm at a stage now where I feel like I've grown a lot. I understand a lot more about the industry and the people that we work with, our customers and how they run their businesses, and how we can deliver value for them. But at the same time, each project is still different so I'm constantly learning, I really love working with my team, and growing and developing the team while being challenged every day.