The people behind the software
Software development is characterized by dynamic progress, myriad innovations and a variety of business applications. Even so, the team is the key asset of every software development company, the more diverse the better. And when I say diverse I don’t only refer to the diverse technical background, but a diverse point of view. People that can look beyond what is currently on the market and drive innovations.
For that reason, I decided to start a series of blog posts about the people behind the product. The researchers, the creators, the developers, the innovators, the dreamers, the doers.
I am kick-starting with the team working on our Sportsbook product. Moreover, this year, Singular got 5 nominations at the eGR Awards. We welcomed the news with excitement and a small internal celebration.
Have we been working throughout the year with an end goal of being nominated or winning a prize?
Actually, it is the other way around.
“Being shortlisted is only a verification that we are on the right track to achieving our goals. The nominations are the cherry on the top. The real satisfaction comes from implementing many new innovations and features. Even more from getting positive feedback from our clients. Of course, the nominations are a great driver for motivation. But, when you are working on a constant improvement of your product, being shortlisted is inevitable.” — says Dejan Dimitrovski, Sportsbook Product Owner.
Continuing our talk, Dejan discovers that the technical excellence is only one variable in the success equation. The secret lies in the daily principles, processes, and communication. Moreover, making daily efforts for continuous improvement is essential. Improvements, not only of the software but also the growth of their own skills and knowledge.
I reached out to the members aiming to get to know their daily habits. Especially, their development approach and the challenges they have faced.
#1 How is the Sportsbook team organized?
The Sportsbook team consists of Product Owner, Architecture Lead, two Project Managers, Front-End and Back-End developers, and two Tech Leads. A total of 18 members. Besides the core development team, we have the Quality Assurance (QA) and Development Operations (DevOps) teams. They are providing crucial support prior and after the release of the product.- Martin Trajkovski, Project Manager.
#2 What is an average working day for the Sportsbook team?
We kick off the day with a stand-up meeting. The entire team gathers along with DevOps and Quality Assurance representatives. We discuss the completed tasks and the agenda for the current day. Also, we tackle any potential blockers. Only when needed, we gather throughout the day again for a quick sync. – Zineta Emini, Project Manager.
#3 What was the biggest challenge while working on this product?
As Sportsbook is a complex product, it was a big challenge to create an experience that answers to user’s emotions and attitudes of sports betting. Our Sportsbook has millions of players, which made the task even more challenging. We wanted to add new features that were unique on the market, but still, meet the requirements while designing the user interface. We took into account the modern trends of design. Also, our product had to be easily customisable for different brands and feels. So the final result was a design that created a seamless user experience for the different variety of players. — Karlo Chorgolashvili, UI/UX designer.
#4 What was the first project in Sportsbook that you worked on?
I joined Singular and the Sportsbook team about 3 years ago, and started working on a feature called “Odds Creator”. From the very beginning, this was quite a demanding assignment. However, what makes me particularly proud is the learning curve I have followed in Singular. Together with the growth of my programming knowledge and the better understanding of the iGaming industry I have started working on much more complex features. — Vladimir Stojkovski, Intermediate Java Developer.
When I joined the Sportsbook team 3 months ago, my first project was to create a free bet feature. This is a bonusing kind of feature that awards players with an option to place a free bet. It was a fun project to work on, you make the player happy with a gift! While working on this feature, I had to study the product thoroughly and have the deep understanding of Sportsbook as a whole. — Giga Gelashvili, Front-End Developer.
#5 Which values resonate most with your team?
Open communication, teamwork, and constant self-development are top three. However, fearlessly facing the challenges and being willing to change and adapt are as equally important. Finally, what I like the most about this team is their ability to see the bright side of things and not be afraid to take the jump. — Zineta, Project Manager.
#6 What makes the Sportsbook team successful?
The two points that build the foundation of a successful software team are technical excellence and self-organized team members. The first one is quite self-explanatory, and that’s only one part of the story. The second point covers strong teamwork spirit, open communication, and real-time collaboration which are crucial. One example that encourages this type of teamwork behavior are the ad hoc white board discussions. We use the white board as our central place to brainstorm together, pinpoint the main concept, suggest new directions, write, overwrite ideas and codes. I have noticed that this way of working motivates the teammates especially the younger ones since they learn faster and can immediately grasp the practical implications of our work. Of course, the daily stand-ups play a crucial role as well in clarifying the team’s direction and individual responsibility of the members. — Dejan, Sportsbook Product Owner.
#7 How is the DevOps team supporting the development process?
Firstly, the DevOps is responsible for the deployment process of new versions or applications of the product. The shorter this deployment is, the more satisfied your client will be. With the most recent automation, we have managed to decrease the time needed from 30–45 min to a 3 min deployment. Second, the DevOps team provides 24 hours support to the clients for an operating product. We try to solve as many issues raised by the client, without involving the product team. The statistics so far indicate that on average we are able to solve more than 50 tickets per month without alarming the core Sportsbook team. This way they focus on the development of new features and improvements of the product, as well innovations of the existing applications. — Biljana Petrovska, Product Support Specialist.
#8 How is the QA team ensuring the quality of the Sportsbook product?
One part of our job is to test whether each new feature is implemented successfully. Sometimes, the modification of the code can cause malfunctioning of the existing features. We aim to immediately detect such behavior and work together with the development team to fix it, prior the deployment process. For that reason, we have developed an automated regression framework both for, Back-End and Front-End. Thimakeske the testing process much more efficient.
When you have a product that handles great number of end users simultaneously, you must ensure that the product and/or the application will work seamlessly even in the high-frequency periods. The Load test have posed as quite useful in this situation. — Nenad Mirkoski, QA Automation Engineer
#9 What do you enjoy the most about your work?
I like the dynamic that’s wrapped around everything. We have set such a pace that doesn’t allow you to get into a comfort zone, which allows me to learn something new every day. Another thing I love is my team. They are a bunch of smart, driven and enthusiastic personas, that see every problem as a challenge. It is a real treat to work with them on such product and share everyday obstacles with them. — Zineta, Project Manager.
It hasn’t been too long since I started working on this project but I find it interesting and I know, we can perfect the product even further. We all have been very hard and effectively, not only developers and designers, but the QA and the management, as well. What I enjoyed the most was working on the mobile version of Sportsbook. It was a new kind of challenge. — Giorgi Parunov, Front-End Developer
The people :). They are hard working and dedicated, but the team also has a great positive vibe. We never lose sight of the priorities and what needs to be done, but also are able to find humor even in hard situations. — Martin Jonovski, Java Developer.
#10 What are the biggest challenges in the online betting industry?
I believe the online betting industry is just starting to reach its potential. There has been an increasing trend of regulations across markets which opens new opportunities for growth in the iGaming industry. This poses both as a challenge and an opportunity. From one side, we have a product which alongside the increase in regulated markets can reach a great number of clients. The world is your oyster. On the other side, this implies intense competition especially in a fast-growing market as this one. In addition to the different regulations, the unique characteristics of each market are another challenge. We aim to create a product that is equally standardized and adaptable to the needs of different clients. — Aleksandar Pavlovski, Business Analyst.
#11 What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while developing an online betting software?
You are as strong as the weakest link in your team. The communication and organisation of the team are crucial for sustainable development in the long run. The hard part is balancing the development of the product, with the growth of your team, both in number and skills. These two need to be well synchronized to achieve continuous delivery and incremental improvements of the product. — Kosta Samardziev, Senior Java Developer.
The importance of building the agile mindset for creating a successful product. The agile approach focuses on the end product and not the stages of software development. The development process is organised in sprints which provide opportunities to assess the projects’ direction throughout the development cycle. This way planning sessions and iterations are shorter, and feedback is fast, even immediate. — Martin, Java Developer.
The story of our Sportsbook team is another confirmation that regardless of the industry, the people create the success stories. I strongly encourage you to share your own experience in the comments. Even better, reach out and share your own story on our blog.