We are Zone Series with ‘Yetunde Salau’

Behind the Scenes: The Journey of a Solutions Delivery Manager at Zone, Pioneering Africa’s Blockchain Revolution”

Yetunde Salau, Solutions Delivery Manager at Zone.
Yetunde Salau, Solutions Delivery Manager at Zone

Q:  Could you share your background and how you entered the field of solutions delivery management within the blockchain and payment industry?

A-My background was in sales, I was always frustrated when I couldn’t get a repeat customer when implementation got botched, which made me start managing the projects myself. I then realized I enjoyed managing projects more than selling.

Q: What motivated you to pursue a career as a Solutions Delivery Manager, specifically at Zone, Africa’s first regulated blockchain payment network?

A-Blockchain is still a novel idea; a while ago, CBN even told the banks to shut down all customer’s accounts directly or indirectly involved in crypto. I was really inspired to work with a company that’s not only built on blockchain and regulated but had managed to convince commercial banks to come aboard. That was an amazing feat, and I wanted to be part of it.

Q: What key milestones or significant experiences shaped your career journey before joining Zone?

A-I have always been a person of ‘firsts,’ and I have always achieved a first-time thing in every organization I have ever worked with. This shaped my career into becoming a solutions delivery manager, I didn’t want to be just a project manager who chases percentage completion and implements what they are told; I wanted to be part of the team providing the solution in the first place.

Q: How has your role as a Solutions Delivery Manager evolved since joining Zone, and what are your primary responsibilities and objectives?

A-Before Zone, I was a non-technical PM and had never even been in a server before or know what one looks like; at Zone, I had to become technical. What we were building was novel; there was no roadmap, know-how, or YouTube tutorial anywhere. I mean, we were building the first decentralized regulated blockchain payment switch. Now I can access servers, run scripts, troubleshoot, work on technical architectures, hold technical discussions with customers, and run technical UATs and the rest. Zone and the amazing team I work with who were willing to teach me to help achieve this.

Q: Can you provide insights into the unique challenges and opportunities you’ve encountered?

A-I work in a development environment, it is popular knowledge that developers don’t like project managers because all they do is stress developers out looking for updates without understanding their challenges. One of the challenges was in convincing these smart guys I was on their side, and they could run these challenges by me, and we find solutions together. That presented the opportunity to make me the technical PM I am today.

Q: How do you collaborate with cross-functional teams, such as developers, product managers, and compliance specialists, to ensure the successful delivery of solutions at Zone?

A-First, I try to speak the language, keyword Try; I also make sure to directly communicate the clear goals and expected deliverables to these teams and align with each team member their expected contributions. I also ensure cross-functional communications and decisions so everyone is part of the process.

Q: What strategies or approaches do you employ to balance the technical aspects of solution delivery with the regulatory requirements specific to the blockchain payment industry

A: Stay updated on regulations, involve specialists, and conduct regular compliance audits, training, and awareness for every team member, no matter their function.

Q: Could you share an example of a particularly complex or impactful project you’ve successfully delivered as a Solutions Delivery Manager at Zone?

A: All the projects are complex and impactful; we are building a regulated blockchain network, so every financial institution added to the network is a huge leap. Especially considering each financial institutions have its complexities and intricacies, and no two is the same.

Q: What skills and qualities do you consider crucial for someone aspiring to become a Solutions Delivery Manager within the blockchain payment industry? 

A: Thinking outside the box, no one has done what you are doing; you are literally charting new terrain. So, you can’t do the regular. You must be quick on your feet and trust your team.

Q: How do you stay informed about emerging trends, advancements, and best practices in solution delivery within the blockchain and payment sectors? 

A:I am part of key communities in the space.

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