Meet our Product Owner: Elena Mercep


February 9, 2022


How long have you worked with us?


I joined Goodly Innovations in August 2019. After several years in a successful MedTech start-up, and witnessing the company grow five-fold, and having contributed to its several key milestones, I wanted to embark on a new success story, to build the product from the ground up.


I was very much inspired by Goodly's vision to leverage the power of Augmented Reality (AR) to amplify human potential and optimize GxP-regulated processes.



“I wanted to embark on a new success story, to build the product from the ground up.”

Tell us about your role. What do you enjoy in your daily work?


The PO role incorporates many stances, requiring a person in this role to master a set of skills across different domains of software development, business analysis, requirement engineering and product management. One of the challenging aspects of the job, which is also the most rewarding and motivating one, is to align all the stakeholders around the product’s strategic initiatives, convert them to tactical plans for upcoming release, and focus on the relationship with the team developing a solution to provide clear direction regarding the right things to build.


These responsibilities, primarily addressing product delivery, are reflected in my day-to-day tasks like maintaining product roadmaps, collecting and prioritizing requirements, defining user stories and acceptance criteria, writing specification documents, and creating and tracking product metrics.


Although some people when hearing the title ‘Product Owner’ for the first time may assume it’s something new, the role has existed for almost two decades now. It was originally introduced as part of the Scrum Agile Software Development Framework.


It is exciting to build commercially viable products, but it is equally important to discover new business opportunities, so product discovery is another important aspect. This includes activities like conducting product development workshops (user story mapping, UX discovery), user interviews and feedback sessions, and managing some RnD projects. The latter also requires me to keep up with the latest in cross disciplinary fields like data science and machine learning.


“One of the challenging aspects of the job, which is also the most rewarding and motivating one, is to align all the stakeholders around the product’s strategic initiatives, convert them to tactical plans for upcoming release, and focus on the relationship with the team developing a solution to provide clear direction regarding the right things to build.”


What attracts you to Goodly as an employer?


It cannot be overlooked that for a company of this scale Goodly has a strong technology platform and a very competent tech team working on it. For me, it is also important that the team is diverse, and I believe everyone in the company shares the same views on diversity and inclusion as core organization values.


For many organizations, the pandemic became the toughest quality check, but Goodly withstood it, which to me indicates a solid foundation to further build upon. At the same time, COVID impacted the way we work, revealed certain limitations of human interactions, and urged the need for innovative technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) in training, manufacturing, and other sectors. I appreciate being onboard helping businesses with digital transformation.


“For me, it is also important that the team is diverse, and I believe everyone in the company shares the same views on diversity and inclusion as core organization values.”

What motivates you at work?


These are two of the most rewarding aspects that I look forward to at work: the positive change the product brings about, and the enthusiasm and autonomy with which the product team operates. One depends on the other, and achieving and maintaining both is what requires dedication and commitment from the entire team.


“These are two of the most rewarding aspects that I look forward to at work: the positive change the product brings about, and the enthusiasm and autonomy with which the product team operates.”


How would you describe Goodly?


For a fast-paced start-up, it is always challenging to grow organically while retaining talent and company culture.


So far, Goodly has done an excellent job in retaining appropriate organizational structure as the company grew, with just the right number of hierarchies, open communication between employees, short feedback cycles, and sufficient levels of autonomy. Everyone in the team is incredibly supportive, friendly and, simply put, very pleasant to work with.


“Everyone in the team is incredibly supportive, friendly and, simply put, very pleasant to work with.”

What advice would you give to someone joining Goodly?


Nothing specific to Goodly, but for any young and dynamic start-up it is common to have a healthy portion of creative disorder; start-ups thrive on creativity.


For a person joining such an environment, especially if previously used to a slower changing matrix organization, it is important to be patient, tolerant, adaptive, and most importantly, courageous when it comes to expressing one's own opinions about improvements. Unfortunately, it is still common that employees have opinions about their workplaces but never voice them for fear of reprisal. I think that speaking out is a better option, in the end - “To improve is to change.”


“For a person joining such an environment, especially if previously used to a slower changing matrix organization, it is important to be patient, tolerant, adaptive, and most importantly, courageous when it comes to expressing one's own opinions about improvements.”