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Meet Shane – Our colleague in the Sportsbook Tech Team

Please tell us a little bit about your background, where you have lived before and why you decided to come to Malta?

I currently work as a Sportsbook Business Analyst. I am from Galway, on the West coast of Ireland. I’ve lived in Hanoi in Vietnam between 2012 – 2017, with short periods working in Kuala Lumpur and Bali. I also spent 3 semesters in Dublin doing a part-time Masters in Computer Science. My academic background was in Linguistics, and for a few years in between my graduation and moving into tech I worked as an event operations coordinator/manager in Ireland.

Sportsbook, Tech, Betting, Product Owner

I was a part-time DJ all during my college and event career. I had an idea in my head for a music discovery web application for unsigned music (similar to SoundCloud). The difference was that it kind of was designed around the logic a DJ uses in selecting music. I raised some funds and took a few steps to get this idea developed, which led me to Vietnam.

Well, that didn’t work out! In retrospect, I could see that coming from a general project management background was not quite transferable to tech. So I went back to study an MSc in Computer Science in Dublin. There I gained enough technical knowledge to support my passion for tech products and PM.

I returned to Vietnam to work in a start-up based on workforce management, and after my work was done there I took some time out at home in Ireland while listing the factors of “What makes a perfect next country to move to”… and Malta was the winner hands down: the climate, the Mediterranean culture, the cost of living, the large expatriate community, its membership in the EU and Eurozone, cheap Ryanair flights home, and, crucially, its tech environment; all factors that made it the smart choice destination for settling down in.

Although fairly new, what do you like about Betsson Group so far? How is the Sportsbook Tech Team? How is it working as a Sportsbook Business Analyst?

I’ve been here for just 2 months now, but I already love basically everything about the company. In job advertisements, you will see that every employer claim that they have a great company culture. Betsson Group matches and exceeds expectations in every way when it comes to company culture. I’m lucky to have landed within the amazing Sportsbook betting team; and Sportsbook in general. I’m also amazed of all the other people I’ve met from the different areas of the company. Everyone is friendly, welcoming and enthusiastic to interact with.

The other Betssonites are highly competent individuals and I have noticed a pervasive, strongly can-do attitude that’s open to innovation amongst the teams and individuals I’ve dealt with on any project so far. I’m guessing that this comes from a balanced hierarchy from top-down, where there is enough structure to put order to the circa 1,000 individual employees, while at the same time keeping a live connection to Betsson’s roots as an entrepreneurial start-up ‘disruptor’.

It’s never easy to begin as a BA or Product Owner. Your job is to support the team’s work by providing the relevant information from the company outside of the team. In the beginning, you, of course, know little to nothing. So the focus is on learning as much as you can as fast as you can. I’m happy to be turning the corner now in providing knowledge to the team, rather than solely vice versa! My advice to a BA joining Betsson Group is to take on your personal onboarding as a project in itself. Also, maybe put in the extra hours outside of your 9-5. A BA’s work becomes much more enjoyable once you feel you are in a place to provide value.

How are you finding Malta? Is it very different from Ireland?

I love Malta so far and I’m really happy to be settling down here. I don’t find it so different than Ireland… except for the weather! In fact, there are some ways in which I find Maltese culture more similar to that of Ireland and the UK than continental Europe. Having spent most of the previous 5 years in Vietnam, I find Malta has a lot more of the home comforts than I have recently been used to!

How is your role compared to roles in the past? Is it challenging/are you using different technologies to what you have in the past?

It’s known that the BA role really differs in its job description between companies, and even between teams within the same company. My background is in start-ups and the largest differences from my BA/PO roles in the past is mostly around company size and particularly the structures in place to manage the size of the company. Wherein a start-up, and obviously more-so when I had my own start-up in Vietnam, it’s pretty simple to get requirements. You can talk across the desk to the CEO if needed!

In a company of the size of Betsson, there’s more of a structured process to follow and cross-team dependencies which don’t come into play in a start-up. The main challenges for me have been in getting to grips with the delineations between teams, departments and technology domains. While challenging, it is quite an interesting learning curve and I’m becoming much more comfortable in this area week by week. Regarding development processes, it’s been a very pleasant experience to learn how well our Sportsbook teams follow a Scrum methodology and how agile Betsson as a company is for one of such scale. I’m a firm believer in the business value of agile and I’m glad to find that, unlike many other companies, Betsson promotes both an entrepreneurial and agile mindset in how it goes about product development.

My experience of the BA role has been great so far. I really look forward to digging in on interesting projects in 2019!