The JOGO Line-Up with Saad Saleem
Behind every successful company, there is a winning team. At JOGO, this is a passionate bunch with the drive to revolutionize the world of football as a collective. In The Line-Up, we would like to show off the brilliant people behind JOGO. In this week’s edition, our project manager, Saad Saleem.
“I love to talk.” Whoever knows Saad will agree. The Pakistani techie knows his way with words, especially when talking about his passions: project management, football and software development. Not surprisingly, all things he finds in his current role as Project Manager at JOGO. “It’s an absolute dream job”, explains Saad, who did his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and his masters in Project Management. “With all my experience, I can drive up a cool application and have all my major interests combined. It’s not uncommon that I lose myself in work, but that’s just because it’s so amazing.”
In Pakistan’s port city of Karachi, Saad is currently managing a talented team of over 20 developers, the backbone of the JOGO platform. “We started here with two people, Hasnain and Umer. They were the first React team members who built the initial structure for the trainer dashboard and mobile app. Then the incoming backend and frontend team completed the rest with them.”
Nowadays, making the JOGO app even better makes up a big chunk of the team’s daily work. “We’re building upon already existing features but also aim to deliver at least one new, big feature a month. The chat function, calendar and scheduling system are examples of that, but there is more to come”, tells Saad excitedly. “After defining each next product feature, we apply an adaptable road map. We create reusable stuff which we can expand on. This way, we can push it to the customers as quickly as possible and better manage our time and resources.”
“I am just one of the guys”
As a project manager, Saad uses the SCRUM approach for a flexible and effective workflow. This way, he guides his team to continuous improvement by monitoring and tracking the work process and coaching and helping them in times of need. “I’m just one of the guys, supporting them in any way possible and creating the best possible work environment. You can compare me with a ringmaster in a circus, creating space for others to shine”, says ‘the boss’ with a big grin.
Even though the whole development team in Karachi operates solely remotely, Saad managed to build a real team and work culture. A friendly one in which everyone can contribute to the success of JOGO. “I want my team members to be proactive, not be afraid to share ideas and pitch solutions. We need to take ownership of our work and strive for success.”
Football, Manchester United and FIFA
Saad’s personal ambition with JOGO is to boost the football community in his home country by identifying and supporting Pakistan’s talent. “We love cricket and field hockey, but football is not something we’re really into. On the FIFA ranking, we’re currently at the bottom (199th of 210 countries, ed.), even below countries such as Afghanistan and Syria, and those are war zones. So if we’re able to find one talented Pakistani and get one of the South-American or European giants to sign him, my work is done. But that will take time, I’m telling you”, laughs the football fanatic.
Preferably the first hidden Pakistani football gem ends up at Old Trafford because that would make it even more special for Saad, possibly one of the biggest Manchester United fans in his country. He owns several kits, has a giant flag of the Red Devils covering his room at home, and is even one of the officially recognized founders of the Manchester Pakistani Supporters Club (@MUPSOfficial). “We started it to build a strong community of MUFC fans and grow the football sport in Pakistan. Now, seven years later, we have a Facebook page with over 78.000 followers, organize weekly match screenings, and receive positive feedback from MUFC and ex-players such as Michael Carrick.”
It’s an understatement to state that football means a lot to Saad. “I haven’t been playing as much as I would like to, but normally we play at least once a month at the beach. I’m sure I will be one of those old people that will be playing until they are old and grey”, he laughs.“I don’t only like to play myself, but I also love to play FIFA with my friends. I’m a console game guy, but only on Playstation, not Xbox. That’s my weekly thing, next to watching football daily.”
If not occupied by JOGO or football, Saad likes to enjoy the perks of his hometown. He hits the beach, meets up with friends at one of Karachi’s many tea stands or finds something to keep himself busy. “I tend to find another hobby every week. The last couple of weeks, I spent time working on my new car, pimping it up. I not only love to talk about the tools I buy but also love to work on them.”