Meet The Team: Q&A With Huddle’s Product Owner, Dejan Condic

July 5, 2024

Meet The Team: Q&A With Huddle’s Product Owner, Dejan Condic

In this Q&A, Dejan Condic, Huddle's Product Owner, shares insights into his unique career path, the challenges and rewards of product management, and the collaborative spirit that drives Huddle's success. From developing a cutting-edge baseball product to ambitious plans for the NFL season, Dejan offers a behind-the-scenes look at delivering top-notch sports betting products. Join us as we explore his story and discover how his leadership is shaping Huddle's future.

Can you share a bit about your background and the journey that led you to become a Product Owner at Huddle?

Well, it most certainly wasn't a career path you would expect in this industry. Before I joined Huddle I worked in the telecommunications and hosting industries. The latter one gave me a good technical background and through the nature of my position, I also learned how to multitask, manage people, and communicate effectively. On top of that, we had an incentive program where employees wrote all kinds of technical articles (guides, comparisons, overviews) in exchange for bonuses and prizes.

That's where I fell in love with the writing. There is something that brings a lot of satisfaction when you know something you wrote helps someone out there to make an informed decision or to configure a certain piece of software. 

Soon after I wrote the first article, I wrote the second one, third, and before I knew it, the number of articles had risen to over 50 and some of them were #1 on Google for some extremely competitive keywords.

That's where Huddle entered the scene.

As I explored my options to start a career in writing, I stumbled upon the open position where Huddle looked to hire a technical writer. I read the job description, and I realized that the company works with sports (I love sports!) and it's tied with the betting industry, and I immediately reached out.

After I was hired, I spent around a year and a half working as a technical writer in the company. During that time I gained valuable knowledge about our infrastructure, architecture, models, and general processes in the betting industry. I helped various teams to effectively document both internal and external documentation.

Working with multiple teams, I realized I could bridge the understanding gap between product, biz-dev, and engineering due to my technical background. When the Product Owner role opened up, I saw an opportunity to improve our processes. I proposed myself for the position, and within weeks, I took on the new role.

What motivated you to choose a career in product management, and what keeps you passionate about this field?

Product management is a very fast-paced environment with a lot of pressure, and in all honesty, I enjoy that. That was the first factor why I wanted to pursue a career in product management. If you can be in an environment in which you are thriving, why not go for it? 

The second reason factor was the opportunity to make a difference and impact the shape of the whole company. After all, product management is all about the vision and the execution of the same.

Building a product has multiple phases and plenty of rough patches. Ultimately, I think that seeing your idea is out there, bringing value to both customers and the company, and in the end, changing the shape of the industry is extremely rewarding and something that drives me forward. 

Collaboration is key in product management. How do you work with different teams at Huddle, like engineering and design, for example, to bring a product from concept to launch?

We are an extraordinary group of talented individuals, which certainly helps, but it doesn’t mean everything is always smooth sailing. In fact, things can get quite heated at times.

To minimize these situations, it's crucial to maintain strong communication with everyone involved in the project. This means clearly conveying what needs to be done, why we are doing it, and understanding the dependencies across teams.

Consistent communication ensures that everyone knows the starting point of a feature or functionality, their role in its development, and the value it brings to the product. This approach significantly reduces blockers and keeps the project moving smoothly.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a Product Owner, and how do you overcome them?

I believe this answer will be more or less the same for every Product Owner. Tight deadlines, accurate estimates, and making sure everyone has the same goal on their mind is always something that will present a challenge. 

When there are expectations for us to deliver something within a very optimistic timeframe, you have to clearly define what has to be delivered and cover as many use cases as you possibly can. That is the only way you can have a somewhat precise estimate that will be shared with the stakeholders. Quite often, this means you'll have to cut corners and deliver only what is crucial for the MVP. But that's all part of the job. Proper scoping of the feature and prioritization of the tasks based on the value they bring is what is all about.    

Additionally, while scoping and prioritizing, you have to make sure all involved teams are focused on the delivery and they have a clear understanding of why are they developing the feature or functionality, what the value of it, and what it brings in the long run.

Could you describe a recent project or feature that you’re particularly proud of and explain the impact it had on the team or users?

Sure, it's definitely our baseball product which is about to go live in the first half of July.

It was such a massive effort to deliver it. All teams had to be involved because baseball itself is a sport with complicated rules and mechanics. On top of that, we had to convert our legacy model which was used in previous seasons so we could offer player props and micro markets. But we pulled it off, not only that, but all of our baseball markets are SGP-ready as well! So, it's a top-notch product with diverse, completely customizable markets, an advanced pricing model, and clever uptime which minimizes the risk for the operators. 

Throughout the process of developing this produt, we experienced highs and lows, but ultimately, we delivered even more than we originally anticipated!

What upcoming projects or initiatives are you excited about, and how do you think they will shape the future of Huddle?

We just kicked off multiple projects related to the new NFL seasons. After we are done, our American football product will be by far the best one in the industry and that's me being humble, to be honest.

American football in general is by far the most popular sport for bettors in the US. With that being said it's crucial to offer impeccable products. So, we are not looking to just have a market parity with the biggest names in the industry. We are looking to do way more.

Having a wide variety of fun and exciting markets that engage the bettors is a key to success, and that's exactly what we plan to deliver. 

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