Allegro, the biggest e‑commerce platform in Poland and one of most recognizable in Europe with almost 200 mln MAU, which exists for over 20 years - wanted to overhaul the customer experience in the C2C segment. The idea was to maintain full B2C support in the current platform and create a new one strictly for transactions between private customers - Allegro Lokalnie (“Allegro Locally”). It aims to be the best place for casual merchants, providing a lightweight and tailor-made process, streamlined selling experience along with providing competitive prices. And all of that under the Allegro umbrella - which means customer safety built in the product DNA. These were key requirements, which were about to define the hue of our cooperation.
Challenges & Solutions
Developing a MVP on time
For products in the early stage, time is of the essence. Being able to deliver value in a limited time plays a crucial role at this stage and lays the foundations for future growth. A good technological choice may be leverage. Elixir gave us a huge performance buffer and allowed us to focus on the business value of the platform, rather than scalability challenges. On the other hand, functional programming and loosely coupled architecture contribute to future maintainability.
Shape up a self-organized team
Trust, a sense of unity, and alignment of all members to one joint goal are the indispensable attributes of an efficient team. Team building is always a challenge. It’s even greater when joining an external team. In the first year of cooperation, we built a team of 14 people working closely with the partner’s crew and are an intrinsic part of the Allegro development team. Additionally, we have always shared best practices and know-how with the client’s team, which paved the way for gradual improvements. Our approach to work based on commitment, taking responsibility and excellent implementation into the main team was widely noticed.
Foster intrapreneurship in the complex environment
It's always easier to make a big leap standing on the giant's shoulders. Allegro and Allegro Lokalnie have numerous synergizing scenerios. Thus we need to integrate, from the technological, and the business process side, sometimes in both directions. The main challenge was to get acquainted with the interdependence between services and the people working on them. There is no single solution to such a challenge. We were involved in the continuous sessions of planning, refining, and discussions with teams and stakeholders. In addition to the complexity, we needed to handle also the cultural discrepancy connected with product maturity phases. Allegro is a product built on a stable business, with a certain development process and pace. On the other hand, propelling a new product requires a lot of flexibility and compromises. We needed to connect two worlds.
Ensure 24/7 availability with industry-standard SLA
The system supports purchases of millions of private buyers and sellers, so keeping everything operational is undoubtedly not a “nice to have” thing. The team recognizes that driver in their everyday activity. We live by the rule “you built it, you run it”, so developers can deploy things on-demand with the automated pipeline. But a great power usually goes in pair with great responsibility. Thus teams participate in on-call duty shifts, and are directly involved in troubleshooting incidents and reporting post-mortems after such. We have also shaped a separate platform team consisting of SREs (Service Reliability Engineer) who enable all the above traits in the product teams. They look after providing proper tools such as monitoring, error reporting, automation, and training. All of these allowed us to adhere to scrupulous Service Level Agreements and provide our customers seamless experience.
Development methodology pragmatism
We understand that there is no such thing as “an ideal” methodology for conducting product work. Things that are described at the conferences usually work in their context, which may be very different from what we encounter in our client ecosystem. Despite having our preferred way of working, we genuinely try to understand constraints like product stage, budget, time allocated, current technological landscape, team structure, and organization dynamics. At the end of the day, a working product with happy customers and a happy team is an ultimate measure of the methodology's correctness. In this cooperation, we walk through several stages. Starting with an auditing and consulting approach, followed by a team extension model focused on delivering the MVP and organizing work in a simple Kanban board. Up to building the autonomous teams focused on improving product metrics. We want to elevate our client business, not our tools.
The partnership built on the transparency
Navigating through product stages is definitely not an easy journey. After launching the MVP (which is also a challenge itself), a whole new category of problems arises. How to ensure that people can work effectively in a constantly growing team, how to manage technical debt from previous phases, and still be able to deliver some significant business milestones with decent quality, and how to balance stakeholder needs versus our users most important pain points. Up to challenges connected with people, like conflict resolution, balancing product needs and team needs. All these above factors were a matter of constant discussion with mutual trust, which laid foundations for stable product growth.
Allegro Lokalnie became the 2nd biggest C2C marketplace in Poland in the first 12 months
3+ million offers on the site*
Platform generates 14M visits per month*
Not only did we make it in time and helped our client launch the product, but we also established a great partnership, which resulted in supporting strategic decisions related to today’s product growth.