"I always enjoy looking back on my first project for zeb.applied."
Release date: 31.07.2023
Since its foundation, Max has been working as a product designer for zeb.applied, a subsidiary of zeb. Aside from dealing with tasks in areas such as user interface design or user testing, he also works in marketing and recruiting. In his testimonial, he talks about his typical working day, his varied activities and his impressions of zeb.applied.
How would you describe the zeb.applied team?
We are a team of strategists, product experts, developers and designers who could hardly be more diverse. However, we have one thing in common: we all work remotely and from home most of the time – what has become standard practice at many companies since the pandemic has always been a part of our corporate culture.
Being a team member also means that each one of us contributes a specific expertise in addition to the skills that are relevant in day-to-day business. I have colleagues who come from the fintech or start-up sector, for example. Former zeb employees also play an active role in shaping zeb.applied. In general, we all get along very well, as we not only have tasks that we deal with independently, but also work together in projects in a spirit of mutual trust.
What does your typical working day at zeb.applied look like?
My day starts at 9:15 a.m. with a stand-up meeting, which is held in our virtual office. This brief, informal gathering is intended to provide a useful overview of the progress of team members, their questions and any potential difficulties in their upcoming assignments. Since detailed questions should not be addressed during this meeting, a more in-depth discussion takes place with my design colleagues afterwards.
Depending on the project and development status, I work on a wide variety of tasks. This means that in phases when a client project needs to be implemented promptly, I focus completely on this task. More specifically, I then work on user interface designs or prototypes, for example, and discuss ideas about alternative implementations with developers. In more relaxed phases, I devote a large part of my working day to internal issues. In the past, I have, for instance, written a design study, developed a design system or worked on marketing and recruiting issues.
Where did you hear about zeb.applied?
Before I joined zeb.applied as a product designer, I was an intern at TABULARAZA, zeb’s Innovation Lab. As part of my internship, I participated in a hackathon in Munich where I designed a user interface for the first time. My prototype was shown to some colleagues at zeb, and it gained the attention of Dr. Eddie Dubiel, the current Executive Manager of zeb.applied.
At the zeb.Uni event in Münster, I talked to Eddie about career opportunities at zeb.applied – at that time, the subsidiary of zeb had just been founded. Although I at first intended to stay mainly in the strategy and consulting area, the overall package of zeb.applied really convinced me. Due to the rapid growth and the challenging projects in the last years, I do not regret my choice at all, but I am proud to have contributed a part to the success story of the company with my work.
So far what has been your most exciting project?
I always enjoy looking back on my first project, because back then I was given the opportunity to help design a digital mortgage loan process as product designer. No other project has taught me as much about agile project management, digital product development as well as expectation and stakeholder management. The project was not an easy task for me at the time, as I was responsible for the design. I often wondered whether my user interface would be understood by future users and whether my design ideas could be implemented within the limit of the budget.
During the entire project development phase, I could count on the full support of my team. They provided brilliant help at every stage and gave constructive feedback on my designs: that’s exactly what still helps me tackle projects today. After just one year and an intensive project period, our solution was able to go live. We are especially proud of this, as not everyone expected us to be able to implement it that quickly.
Has your job lived up to your expectations so far?
To be honest, I didn’t have any major expectations when I first started my job. For me, my job as product designer was a completely new field, as I originally come from marketing. In addition, when I started, it was still uncertain how zeb.applied would develop as a company. Officially, I was the first employee of a newly founded company whose philosophy and vision convinced me. Now, after more than two years, our team has grown to currently nine colleagues. Over the years, I have been able to learn a tremendous amount about digital product development and the financial services industry. I believe the fact that I’m still passionate about zeb.applied is a sign that joining this company was the right decision.