How to Apply a Product Mindset to Your Platform Team Tomorrow

In this talk, we'll explore the benefits and challenges of how organizations can make the shift from a traditional infrastructure team to 'platform as a product'. We'll focus on how to use a product mindset to your platform team with simple tips, even when you don't have a product manager on the team!

  • How to apply product principles by anyone on the team
  • How to define your platform's impact, measure and iterate
  • How to work effectively with your internal partners

What's the focus of your work these days?

I'm the product manager for the foundational teams at Picnic. This includes operational teams (IT support, SRE), core systems, along with platform engineering teams both for our software engineers as well as our analysts, who all are fluent in Python & SQL!

My primary focus at the moment is helping our platform teams to make some fundamental changes to how we build, test and deploy software. Picnic got started 7 years ago with a small team of amazing engineers. Now, we're a lot bigger, but our ambitions have not slowed down. That also means that as we grow, we need to rethink a few elements how we operate. For example, an hour-long incident has vastly more impact today compared to a few years ago. Not only in terms of customer impact, but also in time spent by our engineers.

Supermarkets are renowned for their low margins, which means you need to build almost all software in-house to make this model work at scale. That means there's a huge domain to solve for. I find it super exciting to work with teams that are this multiplier across the organization, enabling other teams to increase their impact.

What's the motivation for your talk at QCon London 2023?

When talking to other product managers in the same field, I noticed a lot of struggle with a few common themes. Additionally, there are still a lot of platform teams without any product manager. Nevertheless, as an engineer on the team, that doesn't mean you can't apply product ideas and approaches.

This led me to set out my 5 practical tips to apply for anyone on a platform team, that you can start doing tomorrow.

How would you describe your main persona and target audience for this session?

This talk is for engineering leaders (CTO, CPO, VPs) that want to get more value out of their platform teams, for engineering managers that want to empower their engineers to decide & improve, for (new) product managers in the field whom are finding their way in this overwhelming space, as well as for engineers to better argue & articulate to improve.

Is there anything specific that you'd like people to walk away with after watching your session?

I will present 5 practical tips anyone can apply tomorrow for their platform team, ranging from discovery, strategy, analysis to building momentum and driving adoption.


Jelmer Borst

PM Platform Products @Picnic Technologies

Jelmer studied Aerospace Engineering, but decided that tech is way cooler. Building software next to his studies, ended up at Picnic. There, he developed a strong interest in product management for technical products and is now leading multiple platform teams supporting 200+ engineers across Picnic.

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Find Jelmer Borst at:


Wednesday Mar 29 / 01:40PM BST ( 50 minutes )


Fleming (3rd Fl.)


platforms infrastructure


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