John Einar Sandvand
Senior Communications Manager Oslo
Published 2019-09-30

They make sure Sweden’s favorite news product runs smoothly

There is no place to hide for this product development team in Aftonbladet: Just about everyone in Sweden has an opinion about their work!

– What I am most proud of?

Product Lead Ebba Linde does not need many seconds to think about what to answer: 

– What impresses me day after day is the engagement in our team! There is so much energy! People work relentlessly together with lots of passion to solve all kinds of problems – to make sure Sweden’s number one news product runs smoothly every second of the day. 

3,5 million users every day. Few other product & tech team in Sweden is responsible for a site with such high traffic. And just about everyone in Sweden has an opinion about Aftonbladet

And that is also why it is so fun to work in the Aftonbladet brand team if we are to believe the team members. 

– Everyone in the team is so passionate about the product and strives to give the best experience for both internal (editors) and external users (readers)! It is really unique, says engineering manager Fabyanna Eriksson. 

Tech lead Erik Fried, engineering manager Fabyanna Eriksson and front-end developer Patrick Wojda.

25+ team members

The product & tech unit in Schibsted News Media is a mix of central development teams and so-called brand teams. With around 25 people, the Aftonbladet team is the biggest among the brand teams in Schibsted. 

But as other brand teams, the Aftonbladet team both serves the specific needs of its brand as well as contributing strongly to Schibsted’s joint technology platforms. 

The team is divided into several sub-teams, such as video, log-in, local news, platform and Operations/DevOps. – But this changes frequently, according to the needs, which are identified during the quarterly process of defining objectives and key results. For instance, now we will have a dedicated log-in team to support the goal of getting more users to log in, says engineering manager Fabyanna. 

In all projects, both product experts, software engineers, and UX designers are involved.  – We merge the competencies and own the challenges together. Everyone in the team needs to understand both the business we are in as well as the needs of our users, says product manager Ebba.

Here are the open positions in the team

Workshop in Aftonbladet’s product development team

Local site for Malmö

A big project for the team during the last months has been to prepare a local version of Aftonbladet for the city of Malmö. 

The project is a good example of how the brand team works, according to Product Manager Malin Ek. 

– The goal was not to launch the local site as such or to develop this or that feature or functionality. Rather the goal was to increase the number of unique visitors from Malmö with a specific target. This way of setting the goal influences the whole team and give space for more creativity, Malin explains. 

– I think it is fair to say that we would not have come up with many of the solutions if we only focused on feature requests. 

The team worked together with journalists, ad sellers, business developers and other experts in Aftonbladet to find out what would be the best way to achieve that goal. 

– As part of this, the whole project team went to Malmö several times to meet with users and analyze their needs. Everyone participating in this initiative is totally committed to add value to our users, customizing our products in order to deliver the best experience to them, in their daily life says engineering manager Fabyanna. 

A workshop evaluating the local site for Malmö

Modern tech stack

The team runs several parallel projects at any time. Usually, they are done in close collaboration with other product & tech teams in Schibsted News Media. Components developed in Aftonbladet might be used by other news brands in Schibsted, and Aftonbladet benefits from work done by other teams. 

– All the time we strive to have the most modern tech stack possible. I think this makes us a pretty unique place to work for software engineers, says Fabyanna Eriksson. 

– We also dedicate 10% of our time to the hack-track or the lab-track. A hack day is for building things, with a deliverable, in a team or alone. Like making a new image tagging system with Machine Learning for use in the content management system. Lab day is for learning things, with no deliverable, like reading a book, trying out a new programming language, doing an online course or trying out a new cool framework.

– Also, we try to instill a culture of rapid innovation: Try – Fail Fast – Modify – Scale. We release new versions of our software frequently, there are days when we have up to 8 smaller releases. 

Here are the open positions in the team

Front-end developer Martin Danielson and colleagues at a SEO Hack Day.

Feedback everywhere

– A fun part is working with a product everyone knows. That means we can get feedback everywhere. And it is very luxurious to work with a product with the high traffic since it allows quickly get data-driven insights in AB-tests and new functionality. It also means we have lots of data we can use to improve the product, adds Product Manager Malin Ek. 

Aftonbladet’s product & tech team works in close collaboration with the newsroom

Meet three members of the team

 

Erik Larsson

Engineering manager
Have worked for Schibsted for 4 years, the last year in the Aftonbladet brand team

Schibsted is an incredible place to work. Especially I like that everyone is seen by the company – and that we develop interesting stuff. 

Aftonbladet is the biggest site in Sweden – and that influences the whole team. We need to do everything with the highest quality. What we do influences the whole Swedish population – and everyone has some opinion about our work. This is a big responsibility also for us as developers. 

Compared to other companies, I feel that developers are kings here. We trust each individual and everyone is expected not only to do the technical tasks but to be part of making the best product for our users. 

 

Mikaela Saletti

UX designer

Worked in Schibsted for 1 ½ year. 

I just love my colleagues! This is such a cool team! Also, it is a fascinating mix of people, not only in our team but in the whole Aftonbladet organization. It is such a broad mix of professions: Journalists, analysts, strategists, marketing people, etc.

Working for Aftonbladet gives me lots of opportunities for personal development. The company offers a large variety of courses to attend and my personal development is something I feel both me and my managers value very high. Add to this that Aftonbladet and Schibsted has a great UX maturity which makes my job easier as my colleagues understand and respect what I do.

All in all, it is a unique atmosphere. And I love that Aftonbladet is a product every Swede has an opinion about! Everyone I meet uses Aftonbladet, and if they don’t, they always have a very clear opinion about why they don’t. 

 

Erik Fried

Tech lead
Has worked for Aftonbladet for 11 years

I first worked for Aftonbladet when I was a student. I enjoyed the atmosphere, the fast speed of everything and good team spirit. So I was very happy when I had the chance to return. 

Why I have stayed for so long? First of all the work culture – and the people. I love the lack of prestige everyone in our development team is showing. For instance: If something goes wrong, people never spend energy on finger pointing who made the mistake. Instead, we all help each other fixing the problem. My colleagues are generous in sharing both their competence and time. 

As a software engineer, it is also cool to work on a site with such high traffic. Knowing that 4 million people benefit from your work is highly motivating. 

I also feel we are part of an important mission, even as software engineers. Strong and independent journalism is crucial today and I am happy to be able to contribute to that. 

Senior Communications Manager Oslo
Published 2019-09-30