I now understand that joining Melon was the right decision for me.
In 2021, Ilija Stojanov started as a Project Manager at Melon’s office in Skopje, North Macedonia. He studied at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technologies in Skopje and began working as a Project Developer as soon as he received his degree. He quickly changed jobs to become a Technical Support Manager and then switched to a Project Manager. In 2016, he received an offer from a Slovenian company to become a Commercial and Project Manager at their office in North Macedonia. He always had a keen interest in learning more about business, so this was a great opportunity for him. Ilija significantly enhanced both his professional and interpersonal skills during the five years he worked there.
“Despite the fact that my career path was quite interesting and working for that Slovenian company was a huge experience for me, I still felt like something was missing in my career puzzle. I knew that it was something related to software development because in such companies, you can work for international clients and projects,” says Ilija.
He learned about Melon during the pandemic. Ilija wasn't sure if it was the right place for him, but colleagues from his faculty who had already started working in the company told him how friendly and positive the environment was. After receiving encouragement from his friends, Ilija joined Melon in 2021.
He thinks that many things have changed since he first started working as a Project Manager one year ago. “I began working during the pandemic and at that time, we were around 80 people in the Skopje office. We are now 100, and the company has improved, we made a strategic investment in Frakton (a software development company in Pristina) in November 2021, and now we are a part of Kin + Carta, a global consulting company with over 2000 employees spread over four continents. I now understand that joining Melon was the right decision for me,” Ilija says.
He has also changed a lot throughout his time at Melon. Since he prefers face-to-face interaction, it was difficult for him to adjust to working from home. However, he values that his coworkers frequently text him to see how he is doing and invite him to hang out after work. “At least once a week, I work at the office. My colleagues and I arrange face-to-face meetings, and I believe that more and more people are doing so. We are growing closer, we share personal things, and I hope we may soon spend even more time together. I miss that,” Ilija says. His PMO team taught him most of the skills Ilija needed to develop in his career.
Ilija’s previous work experience was not related to software development, but Melon gave him the chance to expand his know-how. No matter what the circumstances were, he never gave up and always spoke up for the people he worked with. “I think that it is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice. Melon appreciates each person and often reminds us that we are valuable. Many software development companies don’t do so. Small things make big difference,” Ilija says. He sees his future at Melon and is certain that the company meets his expectations as an employer.
For the past one year, he has worked as a Project Manager for three different projects, all related to a big digital entertainment company from Israel.
The most interesting yet challenging software development project Ilija has worked on was about a real-time KPI dashboard – a cross-platform application running on iOS, Android, and Web. The solution provides data from many services, allowing the client to analyze KPI’s with various filters. The interesting part for Ilija was that the project presented how the company was progressing from a business perspective, in different periods of the year, and the high-level management could make different decisions based on the results. “Some may say that it is not a big deal, that it is just a project. However, the company has over 34 million active users monthly and over 3.7 thousand employees and I think that it is a privilege that we worked with them,” Ilija says.
To generate a quality final product, his major task was to establish a sustainable working atmosphere between Melon’s developers and the client's team. This project changed him inside and out because he began working on it as soon as he joined the company and he had to lead a whole team without having a solid technical background. “I needed to start believing in myself and fight even though I was scared at the beginning. I proved that Melon didn’t make a mistake choosing me for this project,” Ilija says.
He enjoys his job as a Project Manager since it allows him to work on a variety of management tasks, including resource management, risk management, time management, cost management…. He must take good care of his team, the client, and the project. Ilija is glad he chose to continue working as a Project Manager because it is a field in which he can grow. “I am a proxy between the client, project and development teams, and I need to be the coordinator. In that case I should take care of the project as a product, the team as a person and the client as a business,” Ilija says.
Plan, Do, Check, and Act, or PDCA, is a technique that Ilija follows and strongly recommends. He believes that people should utilize the same process at work as they do in their personal lives. “For more than five years, I have lived by this. When I travel, I make plans, execute my plans, make sure everything is in order, and if something goes wrong, I act. This needs to be done on a management level as well,” he adds.
His advice to the newcomers at Melon is to be open, realistic and not put up with the things that they don’t like in the work environment.
Ilija has always loved playing the piano and still enjoys doing so in his free time. It is important for him to also spend time with his family and teach his kids to play. He often finds time after work to develop his skills and learn new technologies.