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The Digital Engineers of Nitor: For Product Owner Daniel, everything fell into place at Nitor

Published in People

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March 9, 2023 · 4 min read time

It did not take long for Daniel Ricknäs to feel comfortable as Product Owner, given his background in UX design. With 15 years of professional experience, after a series of interviews, he found Nitor and hasn’t looked back since. According to Daniel, Nitor is the only employer that gave such extensive consideration to his personal goals and needs.

Tell us Daniel, what made Nitor so attractive for you?

I went to several interviews at different companies but felt that Nitor was the only one that was considering how they could fit me, and not the other way around. They wanted to know what I saw ahead, for myself, and how they could meet that.

When you have children, it gets complicated, so it's nice to have an employer who understands that. Most companies say that their employees come first, but here it’s true. I like that.

That's great to hear. Now that you've been here for over a year, what do you think about being part of the digital engineering team?

I love it. Nitor's HQ in Finland has a more established culture than we have in Sweden, since our Swedish team is smaller, and searching for best practices as the cultural maturity is still in its early stage. But we have a great time when we get together in the office. We have a community, and I'm looking forward to building on that.

Can you describe what a typical Digital Engineer at Nitor is like?

A Digital Engineer at Nitor experiments and explores new possibilities, while still making sure to enjoy his or her work. We aren’t trapped on a hamster wheel, we want to move forward. We always want to improve. 

I've already attended several conferences, where I could delve deeper into what I find exciting. I've also been able to invite in people from outside, people I think would be a good fit for us. Nitor lives and breathes development, that's a big focus and a great asset.

Great to hear – you are making us blush! But we’re also wondering about your day-to-day work. Tell me, how does a typical day look?

At present, I'm the Product Owner for the ticketing component of the SL app. I lead a team of ten people, in addition to which we have two backend support teams. I'm working on the frontend app.

What's it like to work on an app that affects everyone travelling by public transit in Stockholm?

I know it affects tons of people, and that's what makes it fun. We have a very low-profile team. I applied for the Product Owner role because I get to decide what "works" and I get to constantly work to ensure the best possible solution.

But isn't it a bit unusual to go from UX-er to Product Owner? How did that happen?

After being a UXer for ten years, I realised that, even if you are improving solutions based on user needs, you will need to prioritise how much of your solution can be implemented based on budget, time, technology and so on. I wanted to try the role that does the prioritizing, that ensures that users receive the best solution based on the priorities. That's why I'm a Product Owner today.

You make it sound so logical. And the work-life balance, how about that?

Both at Nitor, and in the context of my current assignment, I have enormous flexibility. Sometimes I work from home, and I can pick up the kids earlier. Nitor also has a lot of benefits, more than any other employer I know of. Other companies equate good compensation with a really high salary. But that fails to account for life’s bigger picture. I have a great salary, but the flexibility and all the various benefits are fantastic.

All the various benefits…like what?

Little stuff, like coffee being sent home to me. Also, I get to choose and purchase my own IT environment and home office ergonomics. We have a budget of 75000 SEK when we start our employment, and we get a monthly addition to the budget and can freely update our equipment with zero bureaucracy. We call this concept an Iron Bank.

I almost forgot the biggest perk. Ten percent of your working time is yours to "do what you want" that benefits the company or its employees, called Nitor Core. It makes a huge difference to have that as a benefit and proves how we truly live and breathe self-development.

Daniel is the perfect combination. Not only is he a skilled and respected PO with the ability to make the right prioritizations, he is also a fun and friendly coworker who is inclusive and attentive to his surroundings.

- Björn Heselius, Principal Designer, UX

So it sounds like you'll be staying with Nitor for a while. What’s ahead?

Yep, not planning any changes in that respect! Going forward, I want to develop within the product guild, and share ideas with people in my position. I'd like to attend more conferences. I've attended internal as well as external courses to learn more. I'm learning all the time, so I’d like to keep working on my current assignment a while longer.

We enjoyed hearing about your journey, Daniel. Best of luck in the future!

In this campaign, we’ll introduce Nitoreans in different roles. Every Nitorean is a Digital Engineer: a pragmatic and solution-oriented helper who doesn’t settle for assumptions. Instead, they take one step further to seek the right questions and even better answers.

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