A lifelong enthusiast and devotee to exploring new ideas and bringing them to life, Dušan Kolenović, Product Manager at HTEC Group, has gained invaluable experience over the last nine years he has spent at HTEC Group. From a Business Analyst and Project Manager to an Offering Lead in the Business Development Department, and now a Product Manager, Dušan has gone through many roles. bringing balance and impact into the ever-changing world of technology.
Inspired by Dušan’s story, we caught up with him to discuss his professional journey, ambitions, current job positions, opportunities he leveraged at HTEC, and perspectives on the future of HTEC.
Once he graduated from the Faculty of Economics, Dušan dove into the world of tech quite spontaneously. However, he points out that technology and entrepreneurship have always been his passions.
“After graduating from the Faculty of Economics, I worked in an auditing company, but was interested in entrepreneurship ever since I was a kid. Also, I saw technology as an important driver of change in the entrepreneurial world, which most inspired me to join HTEC. Interestingly, I applied for this job while I was still a student, one summer when my parents were away on vacation. What’s more, this was the first job and the first company I had ever applied for. I got the job. I didnćt have extensive experience, but I had creative ideas. HTEC proved to be a great place for anyone to explore the latest technologies and their impact on global businesses and communities. In the 12-member band I joined, my mentor was CEO Aleksandar Čabrilo, which always kept me close to both growing pains and gains of a company going from 12 to 1100+ in 9 years. One of the most valuable things I have learned from Aleksandar is that, contrary to common belief, a service business can outperform product-based business by multitudes.”
Dušan explains that his career development at HTEC depended on both his personal preferences and the company’s requirements.
“I first started as a BA. At the time, the company grew quickly from 50 to 200 people, and I soon became a Project Manager. My job was to coordinate different initiatives for organizations across the sea with millions of customers, such as Great Place to Work. After that, I was given the assignment to start the marketing division in our company. After this, I got a chance to help our Business Development team and focus my efforts on improving sales through the role of an Offering Lead. Finally, I recognized a new opportunity that allowed me to reach a new milestone in my career, and I became a Product Manager, which is my current role. The main thing that drew me into this space was my constant need to dive into the essence of things and ask why. I’m a geek and a curious person by nature, always in search of answers to some of the most complex challenges I come across in my life.”
For Dušan, being a project manager allowed him to see his team’s advancements on a daily basis.
“The most interesting part of being a project manager is that you can see the improvements of your team’s efforts daily. Real exciting stuff. On the other hand, having in mind where I am at this point in my life, my current role brings me a higher level of satisfaction. In my current role, I’m in charge of giving answers to questions like “What do we build?” and more importantly “Why do we build certain products?”. I do this by making sure the team has a clear understanding on the problems we’re looking to validate for our customers and the connection which their successful taming has with clients’ business goals. In other words, I’m focused on providing a validated, data-driven answer to the question ‘Why?‘”
Dušan explains that the most important lesson he has learned throughout these nine years is that people are the North Star of HTEC and its biggest value.
“The ultimate lesson learned is that people are more important than processes, projects, and products. By this, I mean healthy creative, sustainable relationships with people. Of course, this also applies to relationship with clients—it’s essential that we nurture these relationships as we move from project to project with the same clients. Also, my experience taught me that leadership is all about helping people do their job in the best possible way—it’s more about being a servant than a leader really. To do so, a good way is to hone into each person’s distinct character traits and leverage those in the face of diversity.”
After nine years at HTEC, Dušan believes that the scale of impact is one of the main things that kept him at HTEC for so long.
“The impact I am referring to is the one I have not only on my colleagues and organization but also on the global market and tech business in general.”
We asked Dušan what, in his view, is HTEC’s biggest value.
“As an HTEC employee, one of the best things that the company provides is balance. Balance between ambitions, the sense of humanity, and the number of career opportunities you can choose at any point in your career. HTEC is a place for all problem-solvers, regardless of their background. So, if you are a radically tech-savvy and hyper-driven person, you can join the Engineering and Delivery department and dive into the amazing world of software development to build the most innovative projects out there. On the other hand, if you’re a nine-to-five stay-at-home mom or dad who excels at organizational development, HTEC is the place for you, too. My point is that your career does not necessarily have to be linear. It can change according to your requirements, ambitions, needs, and passion until you find your perfect place in the organization.”
From Dušan’s point of view, HTEC’s future can’t be observed outside of the context of local and global communities. The young minds and educational institutions with whom we engage are the driving force behind the untapped potential of this part of the world.
“The best attributes of HTEC are deep tech knowledge and courage. We’re riding this wave, and we’re not planning to stop any time soon.”
Curious to find out who’s next in our HTEC Features series? Stay tuned!