Product Manager

Skip to the job details if you have already read our general introduction

Who are we, and what do we do?

At Solar Monkey, our goal is to enable solar to be the world’s leading power supply, and we accomplish that with software that makes solar power systems more affordable, secure and reliable. We do so in a very open and warm environment, where everybody can have his or her say on company values, structure, and policies.

Our main product is our design software, where our users can quickly design all kinds of solar panel systems, and get a highly accurate yield calculation. We base our predictions on climate data, system specifications and advanced shadow analysis. Our application is an advanced piece of software, that extracts information from GIS data, runs distributed over a dozen of servers and uses the latest HTML5 canvas to facilitate simple to use Geospatial editing tools for the end user.

Solar Monkey currently consists of 28 full-timers, of which 12 are in the product team, and we always have a couple of awesome interns. We have the intention and capital to grow our team steadily in the coming year, so that is where you come in!

On diversity

While you wouldn’t say we’re very diverse when you look at our team photo, we do have people from very different backgrounds and we definitely aren’t just a bunch of tech nerds. If you are excited about this role, but don’t think you meet everything single thing listed, we still encourage you to apply. We hope you can bring a different perspective. At Solar Monkey we strive to build an inclusive workplace where you can excel and feel at home.

How do we work?

We combine in-person and online communication (through Basecamp & Zoom) – where it might not surprise you that the business side leans toward the former and the development team leans a bit toward the latter form of communication. This enables a very flexible working place. Nobody tells you where or when to work, trusting that you know best how to build on your own strengths. This also means that working remote or part-time remote is common. Most of our developers work a few days a week in the office and the rest from elsewhere.

We recently started to follow Basecamp’s 6-week cycles as layed out in their Shape Up book. We currently run two such cycles in parallel, as we have two product teams (besides Infra & Research). Our CTO & Head of Product “shape up” the work in advance of the cycle, together with others from the company to form a cross-functional shaping team. So far that is working quite well for us!

Our stack

Nowadays we have almost a full continuous delivery pipeline running. Everything we do runs in Docker containers. We’ve written a small helper app that uses Hashicorp’s Nomad to schedule those containers in our production and test environments. We are slowly expanding this into a commit-to-deploy trunk-based integration strategy.

Our app consists of multiple single page applications written in React. We use Redux for our main logic combined with redux-saga for all side effects and asynchronous calls. The main part is what we call the “editor”, where the systems are designed. Its core is a Fabric layer on top of a Leaflet map. End-to-end testing is getting in shape, which is done with help of Cypress.

The backend is a Django application, in Python 3. We make use of django-rest-framework to ease the endpoint development, and Celery is our current (but contested) queue runner. We leverage the GEOS capabilities of PostGIS for raster data (height maps) as well as vector data (for meta data on images and buildings).

We are looking for ways to decouple too tightly coupled parts of our system, and have been working on implementing the Domain Driven Design approach in new code and code we touch where this makes sense. Typing – both in the front- and backend – are being added.

We use Hashicorp’s tools for deployment, together with some (Python) wrappers and scripts to run all of the above in the Google Cloud. Where possible we use managed solutions like for our database or for some utilities we can offload to Cloud Functions.

Do know that nothing is set in stone, and we strive to optimize for developer friendliness. Do let us know what that would mean for you in your application!

What we offer

  • Lots of impact on our product, our culture and the solar world!
  • Lots of freedom in terms of when and where you work, and how you solve problems. This means we accept fully remote people, as long as you can work in reasonable overlap with our normal (Dutch) business hours. It also means options for 4-day work weeks or shifting around your schedule because the kindergarten is not helping out. (Or just because it get’s too hot in the afternoon ;).
  • A healthy workplace where you regularly work the number of hours you signed up for, and where you are able to get 8+ hours of sleep.
  • A fun team that values long-term thinking and self-empowerment and that is eager to continouosly improve.
  • We’re a scale-up and can offer a competitive salary for Dutch market standards, depending on your skills and experience of course.. In addition to that we offer Stock Appreciation Rights, so that you can benefit from the growth of the company as well!
  • The chance to learn exciting new things, whether that’s new patterns, picking up a different language, GIS systems or server infrastructure!
  • A study budget of 4% of your base salary
  • We facilitate your pension plan. (We don’t yet match your own contribution, which is something we do want to instate in the future.)
  • 5% Days! A day per month or so we work on whatever we want as developers, and try out new libraries, approaches or other things.
  • We can arrange a visa if you want to come to The Netherlands and fall into the “highly-skilled migrant” category.

About the job

We are looking for a Product Manager that knows their way around a technical context. You’ll start with a very intensive training to get you up to speed in our specific context of solar system engineering. You will help us in the move to a more empowered team setup. Your team. We have been using the Shape Up way of working for over a year now, but are missing someone inside the team that is responsible for making sure that solutions are valuable to our clients and viable for our business.

You will start on a specific product, that what we call Monitoring. After installation solar panel systems are monitored to protect their owners against failing technology which could ruin their investment. Monitoring provides a great part of the service that our clients – solar panel installers – can deliver following their initial sale, increasing their business value and their chance of referrals.

We look for someone that is eager to improve, both themselves as well as their teams and processes. Our setup is not perfect and we expect someone to be pragmatic and own the improvement of the team. You won’t have direct reports though, you already have to manage the product :). You will of course have to deal with several stakeholders inside the company, like sales, operations and finance.

Note that we don’t have a sufficient number of designers for our teams, so you are expected to contribute on that front in the beginning (say for half a year or so). You will be guided on that front by your manager, our Head of Product Casper, but are expected to provide enough details for the developers to be able to build. That does mean rolling up your sleeves and detail things in Figma!

Your job will be to

  • Solve the assigned problems, in ways that our customers love, yet that work for our business!
  • Do user research (both through user interviews as well as with qualitative analytics).
  • Produce product specifications in text and (rough) UI sketches.
  • Make sure your team focuses on delivering value (outcomes, not output).
  • Promote an agile mindset within the team.
  • Evangelise your product; align with internal stakeholders; gather relevant feedback and discuss opportunities.
  • Quality assurance of the work that is delivered by the team. (We don’t yet have a dedicated QA role per team.)

Requirements

We are looking for someone that:

  • Has several years experience as a product manager (or product owner).
  • Has an agile mindset and can show experience with incremental delivery.
  • Is result driven and likes working with objectives and key results (OKR’s). You know how to formulate sensible key results for products and how to measure them.
  • Can write well in English. You will need to be able structure thoughts and tell stories to align team members and stakeholders.
  • Speaks Dutch (the majority of our clients is still Dutch, although our non-Dutch client base is growing).

Procedure

You are welcome to apply until the 16th of May. When we think you are a fit based on motivation letter and resume, we’ll plan a short phone call. If you pass the first 1-hour interview you’ll receive a half-day take home exercise, that we’ll discuss in a 2-hour follow up interview (in our The Hague office if possible). All interviews will be done in between the 17th and 27th of May, and we’ll extend an offer before June.

We offer

Besides the list of things we offer above, we have a salary in mind of €3500 - €4000 gross (ex. 8% holiday pay and a 4% study budget) plus Stock Appreciation Rights.

Apply

Please apply through this form with your resume and a cover letter.