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“The way we organize our teams and manage the people in them is crucial to our success as a company.”

A large number of software engineers, designers and analysts work at Monzo, across all areas of the business. They design and build the core banking systems, the iOS and Android apps, and lending products like the overdraft. They make sure Monzo can process payments, detect and prevent financial crime, and add customer centric functionality.

Monzo has discovered that by working in small, interdisciplinary teams, it can move quickly as a company.

Engineers, designers and product managers work together in small, cross-functional teams. Each team is focused on a feature, project or area of the business, and defines and works towards its own goals. When teams get too big, they break them into smaller squads following the ‘two-pizza’ rule (a team should be small enough to be fed with two pizzas).

As teams do not rely on one other, they can work independently and at speed; and because each one works towards a common goal, they are able to create a real sense of shared ownership.

Teams stay in touch with the customer in several ways: through qualitative user research tools including desk research; regularly reviewing in-app messaging chats and community forums and idea boards; conducting user interviews; and ensuring users keep physical diaries to observe how they will use certain features on a day-to-day basis.

All of these tools allow the design team to, as stated on its blog, “understand how different people budget, spend, save, invest and borrow money, keeping a pulse on people’s behaviors, goals and motivations.”

Monzo is also now focusing on latent user needs with the potential to actively and positively impact users’ relationship with money and finances; for example, the role that mental health plays in financial management. As a result, teams are experimenting with creating moments of ‘design friction’ in features that all customers use, including: real-time account balances; sending a notification after each purchase; a top-up feature to aid budgeting; and a new unique feature which allows users to review late night purchases by ‘checking with them the next day if they want to follow through with their purchase’ when their mind is in a different state.

"We believe that getting the right people with the right mix of skills together on a project helps us create better features for our customers. A typical Monzo product team will feature engineers, designers, data analysts, product marketers, writers and user researchers working together to solve problems."

Source: Monzo Annual Report 2019
Co-founder, Zalando

*3 Monzo website