At the beginning of 2022, Adnan Catovic joined Symphony with a mission to build and develop our Remote hub. We are doing this to explore remote work in detail and benefit from the talent across the world. On this path, we are excited to further ignite our transition to solution providers and reach as many talented engineers living outside the metro areas of our first five hubs (Sarajevo, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš, and Skopje).
Adnan’s journey in the industry began when he was just a kid with a Commodore 64 he received while being in exile. Today he is working on expanding Symphony’s culture and presence in countries worldwide. Let’s dive into Adnan’s background and what he aims to accomplish here at Symphony with the Remote hub.
It all starts with genuine curiosity
When asked what shaped his dedication to software engineering, Adnan’s answer is pretty straightforward - “It was never too much fun to play just games on my Commodore 64. I wanted to create something. And when I say something, I mean whatever was possible on those devices. I was only 11 back then, but curiosity really defined my childhood.”
Adnan received his first computer when he came back to Sarajevo from exile, and that’s when the fun began for him. “We used to spend a lot of time in the IT cabinet, just creating some programs and exploring the possibilities of Pascal. We got caught up in the momentum, and we just kept going. I have never stopped ever since,” says Adnan with a genuine smile on his face.
His thirst for knowledge and development didn’t stop there. Adnan joined an international bank where he developed software for the Workout Unit department. Ultimately, this solution was implemented in 24 countries and translated to five languages, securing Adnan an opportunity to work in Frankfurt with an international team (Sierra Leone, Ghana, Mexico, and Scotland). After a major success he achieved working in the financial industry, Adnan made a big leap by joining a software development company. “I think this move was the most beautiful reality check I had in my life.
I was coming from a bank where there was only one me - an expert looked upon. In this company, there were so many experts and professionals working on a much higher level than I have ever been on. The pressure I put on myself was so big that I remember working day and night for a couple of months to keep up with the rest of the team. The company I worked for gave me full support, and it paid off in terms of my knowledge, expertise, and growth,” Adnan candidly shared. Before the global pandemic, Adnan worked as a COO and then CEO for a Danish digital agency combining technical solutions with a creative footprint and then rejoined a software development company to work as an Engineering Manager.
All roads lead to Rome
When asked about joining Symphony Adnan begins, “I spent a lot of time taking care of my career and growth of everyone around me that I forgot about my health and development. I flat out ignored myself as a person and human being. My warning sign was the annual health check-up, where I received numerous prescriptions for various conditions. I immediately knew it was time for a change.”
With all these alarms in his head, Adnan began his journey to a healthier and happier version of himself. “I started to read about sports, food, sleeping habits, and the more I read about it, the more sure I was that the key to my professional growth is a healthier version of myself. That’s why I joined Symphony - here I am encouraged to take care of myself. I can always go for a quick swim, run, and eat healthy during my working hours.” The company’s culture influenced around 40% of his decision to join Symphony, while the other 60% was heavily influenced by Symphony’s people-oriented approach and business model.
“From my perspective, I see these two pillars as the main driving forces behind Symphony’s success. From the initial contact with the company, I was honestly impressed with the selection process and how deep we were going to see if we are a right match for each other. Each engineering hub has its team in charge of closely monitoring improvement points and acting upon them. Today, for me, it’s pretty evident that Symphony is living its values and making an impact broader than KPIs and profitability. The foundation of the other pillar is handpicking challenging projects to keep engineers engaged and on their path of growth. I am delighted to see that we’d rather choose projects based on their stack and impact than on their margin,” Adnan emphasized.
While explaining these two pillars, Adnan strongly stressed that people coming from different backgrounds and giving their best to see the company succeed make Symphony so different.
Point of all-around impact
“I have been part of the international teams ever since 2007, and experiences I have gathered have shaped me as the person I am today. I am truly fascinated by the fact that engineering knows no borders - we all come together with a mission to make a change in the world with our products and solutions,” begins Adnan and explains that the combination of tradition, cultural mix, and technology makes him so excited about his role at Symphony.
“Symphony is quite famous for its community. Now I am thinking about how we can create a community of remote people, who may be far geographically, but very close in terms of skills, personal traits, and aspirations. I am most excited about seeing where this road will take us and how we evolve as a company and community. People working in the Remote hub will be the same as people working in local engineering hubs - same benefits, same supporting roles, and the same sense of belonging,” he shared his thoughts on Symphony’s remote community.
Thanks to the Remote hub, Symphony will have an opportunity to grow exponentially and further increase its footprint as a global company. “I imagine a situation where we have a Community Manager from New Zealand, Service Delivery Managers just a couple of hours away from our clients, Office Manager in Turkey, and much more. Our point of impact will become broader, not to mention the fact that we will continue to hire strong engineers with a mission to passionately create innovative digital experiences for our clients.”
One month, three months, a year from today
Adnan’s first mission as the Managing Director of the Remote hub is to build a standalone Remote engineering hub to support our existing teams and projects. With this move, we’ll get an opportunity to quickly respond to market needs and demands while remaining loyal to the high quality of our output.
When it comes to the future of Remote hubs, Adnan points out that he plans to have standalone teams able to quickly adjust to different clients in building high-impact solutions. “Long-term, I see that Symphony will become a global company where the physical location of the team or engineer will become irrelevant. We will be creating teams of people from all over the world who will come together and collaborate,” adds Adnan.
When asked about the key moment he has in his mind, with a giant smile, Adnan starts explaining, “I cannot wait to have a large gathering at our Greenpark technology center where people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, North Macedonia, Croatia, Turkey to Japan, Argentina, Nigeria, Dominican Republic are all smiling into a camera together, proud that they are learning from each other and growing together. This is what keeps me going.”