Team Leader (Backend)

About Zowie:

At Zowie, we believe that buying online should feel like walking into your favorite local shop: personal, friendly, and easy. Our mission is to recreate offline shopping experiences online – but better. Zowie brings speed and empathy to customer interactions. Our platform automates responses to repetitive questions around return policy, order status, etc., and saves time for customer service agents, who can then proactively turn website visitors into paying customers. It can work as an add-on with existing tools (Zendesk, Shopify, Gorgias, etc.) or become a standalone customer service platform.

We are:

🚀 Growing fast. We plan on keeping the Team growing! You’ll have a lot of autonomy and impact as we grow.
🏈 Like a sports team. We take ownership of our work and believe in personal accountability. At the same time, we work together, support each other, and focus on winning as a team.
🧑‍💻 Remote-first and hours are flexible. We allow everyone to figure out the best ways to collaborate with their team. At the end of the day, it’s about delivering! Those in Poland can work from our offices in Cracow and Warsaw.

We strive to be:

💪 Ambitious and innovative. We don’t settle on existing solutions and keep looking for better ways to tackle challenges.
👻 Bold and free-thinking. We trust our employees to find the best solutions.
🤸‍♀️ Agile and high-performing. We work smarter, not harder. We use our OKRs to keep ourselves focused.
🤠 Unafraid of change. Zowie is growing, and the market is changing. We thrive in an ever-evolving environment.

What you’ll do:

You’ll lead one of the cross-functional teams oriented around a group of our Product KPIs. Such teams usually consist of 4 to 8 people and have necessary forces in the backend, frontend, QA, and ML.
Since with the current expansion we are looking for a few TLs, we will align on your best fit and preferences during the process.
I (Michał) prioritize hands-on engineering, autonomy, transparency, Radical Candor, optimizing strengths, and strong agility. I’m bold about building the best Product Engineering organization, grounded in realism. Success requires smart decisions, effective execution, and hard work!
Delving into your role:
1. Combine engineering and leading the team: You will split your efforts into hands-on engineering, planning, and growing people in your team.
2. Autonomy Transparency: I aim for full autonomy for you and your team through extreme ownership and transparency. Ideally, I want to trust your judgment and be involved in areas where I can truly help and make a difference instead of needing to control everything.
3. Radical Candor: Challenge directly, reject mediocrity and question the status quo. Communicate directly about growth areas with care and empathy, embodying our culture of caring about people through direct feedback.
4. Emphasizing Strengths: Take the time to recognize and appreciate the unique strengths of your team members. Consider adjusting their roles to help transform a reliable performer into a pivotal contributor.
5. Flexibility and Excellence: Develop expertise in the product, business, and engineering aspects within your team’s domain. Encourage open discussions about strategic enhancements, collaborating with PMs, Designers, and your team to shape a shared vision. Be discerning in allocating resources, knowing when to invest more and when to experiment for quick learning. Strive to strike the right balance between meeting business requirements and maintaining the non-functional quality of the system.
To provide you with a glimpse into your daily routine, let me outline our current operational approach. While you’ll have the empowerment to influence and evolve this, consider it your starting point.
0. Engineering: I won’t go into details of this but just want to emphasize that in this role it is important to combine working on a code and design with other points in this job description
1. Remote-First Culture: Although we maintain two physical offices in Warsaw and Kraków, the entire product team operates remotely. All documentation, discussions, and decisions occur online to ensure inclusivity.
2. Emphasis on 1:1 Meetings: Regular weekly or bi-weekly 1:1s with your team members are a must. People expect you to build relationships with them, give them feedback, let them know how they can grow, and brainstorm important topics.
3. Asynchronous Communication: We prioritize asynchronous communication through platforms like Slack, Loom, and documentation. Daily meetings are replaced by updates on Slack, and planning is conducted in smaller, more focused groups to enhance efficiency.
4. Execution and Sprint Planning: You will be the owner of the team plans and execution of the sprint. You need to come up with an approach that balances business and technical needs. Identify bottlenecks and also plan strategic initiatives that have a longer but surely positive ROI.
5. Close Collaboration: Weekly 1:1s with your direct leader, and frequent meetings with me will be our regular touchpoint on Engineering strategy and your or your team’s needs. You’ll also collaborate closely with PMs and Designers assigned to your KPIs.
In essence, this encapsulates your role, but I’m sure you have more questions. Let’s have an open discussion during the interview process—I’m committed to transparency, and I hope for the same authenticity from you. Looking forward to our collaboration! 🚀

Ideally, you’ll bring with you:

1+ years of experience in acting as a Team Leader
Excellent coding skills in one of the JVM languages
Great system design skills
Being able to challenge directly with empathy
Strong product and business acumen

It will be awesome if you have:

Excellent coding skills in Scala
Strong people-growth mindset
Strong decision-maker
Excellent knowledge of Distributed Systems, NoSQL databases, and other technologies that we use – you can read more under the Backend Engineer posting

We will offer you:

👉 Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP). You’re a part of our company’s future success.
👉 Unlimited paid time off. We trust each other and don’t count days.
👉 Great company offsites and individual integration budgets. We spend time together in person to strengthen our team.
👉 Health benefits. We offer an additional health insurance package.
👉 Development budget. We want to grow personally and professionally together.
👉 Home-office funds. Make yourself a comfy space for work on a daily basis.

Originally posted on Himalayas


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Team Lead, Lead Backend Engineer, Team Leader, Back End Developer, Engineering Team Lead, IT Team Lead, Software Development Team Lead, Backend Software Engineer 

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