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‘It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things’

I worked with Muhammad on the DStv Explora and saw it past launch from a very different initial plan. Muhammad’s role grew with the project as he grew into his natural position, then, as strategic programme manager. With an eye across the entire business, he has the ability to orchestrate change wherever it is required. Within our division this manifested itself as his ability to transition Agile methodologies and culture from something entirely contained within the development team to something more akin to an organisational capability.

To achieve this, and other of his feats, required Muhammad to earn the trust of all those around him, to efficiently identify and deal with problems (both technical and human) and to communicate across the entire value-chain.
His technical problem solving skills can be seen quite clearly in his CV; earning trust, his knack at identifying complex problems and his communication skills are all extraordinary, but require no further discussion. His human problem solving skills, however, require some more mention:
On more than a few occasions, Muhammad has hosted workshops within the business for e.g.: to resolve inter-departmental conflict, to identify roles and responsibilities in the changing landscape of our business and to punt international best practise in product development. On each occasion the attendees learned what Muhammad wanted to impart, but did so of their own accord allowing them to take greater ownership of the required change. Like horses, he leads people to water through understanding and open discussion – we then arrive there thirsty and grateful, and drink all that is on offer. (It sounds very Machiavellian – perhaps it is – but Muhammad wields his great power with an even greater sense of social responsibility).

We are truly a different organisation from the one Muhammad joined in 2011 – and that change is largely due to the efforts of Muhammad.
— Gregory Mountford, worked indirectly for Muhammad at MultiChoice
I worked with Muhammad for several months on the launching of ShowMax service. Muhammad is truly professional in terms of program management, with great social skills and strong focus on delivery. He was advising the team to take proper decisions which was never easy. He mastered corporate organization to be able to remove obstacles quickly and stayed optimistic and smiling during hard times. I enjoyed working with Muhammad and I can clearly recommend him into any program management position due to his result oriented nature and very good management skills
— Libor Bucinsky, worked indirectly for Muhammad at ShowMax
I have had the pleasure of working with Muhammad for a number of years on a variety of complex and distressed projects. His level-headed approach and ability to see the bigger picture has made all of these interactions a privilege and education. He is able to give structure and process to chaos but always maintaining a human touch. He is able to communicate effectively at all levels and his exceptional technical ability ensures that he can hit the ground running since he is able to grasp and internalize the technical aspects of any project very quickly. I can with full confidence recommend him as project or program manager for any complex problem or project.
— Santjie du Plessis, worked directly with Muhammad different companies
Muhammad is a very target oriented manager, which likes to understand the details involved in the areas he manages (even at very large scale projects) and use them to help optimize and push forward the various activities. Muhammad is very plesent to work with and always helps promptly with any project related requests, arrangements or logistics needed with a very positive attitude. I would highly recommend Muhammad for anyone needing high quality management positions.
— Shlomi Rosenberg, Program Manager Fusion Integration & Testing, NDS Limited, worked with Muhammad at NDS
Muhammad showed excellent project management skills by bringing our project on track. He brought in many processes which improved the outcome of individual & the team. Even-though he is a hight profile person, he is easily reachable. In addition, his style was open and inviting to questions (and expressed appreciation for them) and willingly gave his time to responding to questions thoroughly. He is extremely enthusiastic about his work which is infectious. I am very lucky to work with him
— Anand G, Solution Architect (Contractor from Corpus Media Labs), MultiChoice, South Africa, worked directly with Muhammad at MultiChoice
I worked with Muhammad on a very challenging project in terms of software complexity involving many component teams distributed across the world. Muhammad had a key position in the project owning the Middleware backlog, planning, delivery, defect management but also managing top issues, on-site integration teams, and working with management teams across the globe. I acted as the France regional project management interface and received instructions from the project through Muhammad, although we hardly met face-to-face, regular phone calls, VCs and email enabled us to develop a good professional relationship which continues today, even though we’re on different projects now. I have been impressed by his professionalism, his investment and his patience to explain and re-explain things with only one goal : to make the project progressing. Muhammad has a keen eye for detail and is well known for his talent with spreadsheets, an asset to have in any team.
— Serge Chambon, Project Manager, NDS, worked with Muhammad at NDS
Muhammad is a highly competent, tenacious and passionate engineer with a track record of producing high quality software in a complex problem domain. He has a wealth of development experience ranging from embedded systems to development of high performance high availablity streaming products. He is very pragmatic in his approach to software development and produces solutions to agreed deadlines and most of the time exceeds expectations. Muhammad is very creative and is keen in inventing novel solutions to problems. He has worked dilligently with customers directly to resolve system wide issues.
— Salik Miah, Team Leader, NDS Ltd, managed Muhammad at NDS
Muhammad was managing a project from the UK and demonstrated his ability to work well with teams located offshore, in my case Bangalore. Despite the time/distance issues Muhammad connected very well with the Bangalore team. Motivating his people, identifying the right job for the right person, delegating tasks competently, setting the right direction for the team in tough times, are some of the qualities that describe Muhammad. He truly is a manager who balances his people and project delivery exceptionally.
— Lakshmi Subramanian, Technical Lead, NDS services Pay TV Technology, worked indirectly for Muhammad at NDS
It’s been a pleasure working or should as say collaborating with Muhammad at NDS. Beyond his management skills and efficiency, Muhammad redefines the personal relationship in work by his stable humour, being always kind and calm, cold blooded, and most of all empathic enough to take the best out of each collaborator ! His engineering skills allied to his abstraction capabilities makes him a precious collaborator in a development or delivery organisation.
— Fabien Andrieux, System Architect & Middleware Expert, NDS, worked directly with Muhammad at NDS
 
I worked with Muhammad on a number of strategic VOD implementations which required Muhammad to manage deliverables and resources across divisional lines. Muhammad proved to be an efficient and effective manager with strong project management domain expertise and strategic insight whilst also demonstrating solid technical understanding of the VOD space and exceptional problem solving skills.
Muhammad is adept at managing both stakeholders and technical resources. He never shies away from making tough decisions, something he did frequently in a very high pressure environment that is very susceptible to change, resulting in the frequent need to set, observe and adjust priorities. Muhammad is very flexible, is at all times focused on business value and has a natural ability to command authority.
Muhammad is a pleasure to work with, someone I would highly recommend and most definitely look forward to engaging with in the future.
— Andrew Moore, worked directly with Muhammad at MultiChoice
At time of writing this Muhammad has worked in my team and was then retained as a consultant to the team. We handle the development of decoders products at MultiChoice and Muhammad was brought in to program manage our latest offering, the Explora PVR decoder. Muhammad did much more than program management. He introduced new disciplines and overhauled most of our development processes while he was at it. He also engaged with executive management, successfully managing expectations to a point where the business could effectively plan with reasonable certainty around the expected launch date. I rely heavily on his counsel on a day to day basis and value his energy and integrity. We have a lot to thank Muhammad for and hope he continues to offer his services to our organisation in the longer term.
— Phil Nicholson, managed Muhammad indirectly at MultiChoice
I had the privilege of working with Muhammad on some large programs. Muhammad is a skilled program manager who has successfully helped build crucial projects at Multichoice often with aggressive timelines. He has brought together and co-ordinated the various business units into a shared, focused team guiding them through the various stages of the program. His leadership and skills he brings from working with large organisations in UK is exactly what we needed. Managing up and down - Muhammad’s excellent communication skills together with in-depth knowledge of processes and technical co-ordination helps bridge the gap between staff and executives. He is comfortable communicating at all levels of the organisation and adapting his communication according to his audience. Muhammad commands respect and successfully brings together the various business units who often have different agendas. His other skills on conflict resolution, project management principles and risk management are sound. Muhammad has a strong work ethic and is dedicated to the job at hand. He is a pleasure to work with and I believe his many skills and well-rounded experience would make Muhammad a valued contributor anywhere he worked.
— Rivaj Singh, worked directly with Muhammad at MultiChoice
Worked with Muhammad in the process of starting a new multi-site project. Muhammad’s was like an engine driving the whole process. He is very result oriented and the results are very much aligned towards organizational goals. He had created several opportunities for me to use take the lead and complete the activities rather than plainly telling what needs to be done and how it should be done. I guess that helped in building mutual confidence. Even though i am not a management guy, but i was rather impressed by Muhammad’s management skills, especially the way he used to have a clear thought on high level agenda but also knew what has to be done at grass root level to realize it. I am glad to have worked with him and learnt a few things in the process.
— Prashanth HN, Sr Technical Leader, NDS, worked directly with Muhammad at NDS
Muhammad is a diligent project manager who makes things happen. He’s not affraid to take on new challenges or change the way things are done. Always on the lookout for problems that others may not see and quick to follow through and resolve matters that may affect the successful outcome of the project.
— James Cunningham, Principal Systems Architect, NDS Limited, worked with Muhammad at NDS
If I have to describe Muhammad in football terms, I’d say, he’s a star, Muhammad is one of the best managers I have ever worked with, he helped me individually by coaching & mentoring, always planned ahead and steered my team to work better and better, he’s got all the skills needed for strategic planning and program management and he lead by example. We always say knowledge is power, Muhammad possess lots of knowledge, he’s one person who always knows what he’s talking about.
— Themba Mashiane, Test Manager, MultiChoice, worked directly with Muhammad at MultiChoice
I have had the pleasure of working with Muhammad for just under two years, and enjoyed collaborating with him on many projects. Most recently, we collaborated on the Explora PVR project, where Muhammad’s contribution was key to the delivery of a high-quality and successful product. Muhammad has many strengths, but chief among all, in my opinion, is his ability to communicate both with the written and spoken word. A quick review of his blog will bear me out on the former. He was also able to enrich our young technology team with the breadth of his experience across the Pay-TV industry, especially with regards to the best practices in System Integration. He mentored (and continues to mentor) a number of people, priming them so that they understand what the industry and their function is all about. On the Explora project, Muhammad planned the entire project end-to-end (Headend, STB, Goto Market, etc across the various business units) to the n-th degree, frequently highlighting entire functions that had been omitted from the project. Even his field-trial feedback was meticulous and bore out his attention to detail. While we didn’t see eye-to-eye every time, I was able to appreciate Muhammad’s ability to present a strong, logical argument. He is very principled, and would never deliver a message to executive management because that’s what they wanted to hear. It’s not very often that you see technically strong people with such exceptional soft skills, so that does make Muhammad stand out.
— Iby Thampy, Systems Integration Manager, MultiChoice, worked directly with Muhammad at MultiChoice
 
I have worked with Muhammad on a number of projects, including the introduction of the DStv Explora to the market. Muhammad was able to give guidance on this project due to his extensive knowledge and previous experiences. He was also able to identify potential issues and through presentation of well researched recommendations was able to influence a fairly major change in direction on the project which resulted in an improved product and better customer experience. He’s able to present at a strategic senior exec level, but also easily able to communicate on all others levels - he’s approachable, willing to listen and engage, happy to share his knowledge and experience and a great mentor to those who want to learn.
We have much more that we can learn from him, and it’s great to work with someone who doesn’t just identify issues, but also puts together researched and backed up recommendations.” We have much more that we can learn from him, and it’s great to work with someone who doesn’t just identify issues, but also puts together researched and backed up recommendations.
— Brenda Rogerson, worked directly with Muhammad at MultiChoice
 
Muhammad is a natural leader who is highly motivated and driven with the ability to manage, stimulate, facilitate and persuade project/program stakeholders at all levels. He has a calm demeanor when interacting with his team and ensures that focus is maintained on the tasks at hand. He has the uncanny ability to retain and communicate knowledge relating to technology, industry best practices and process enhancement. He is an asset to any team when it comes to strategic thinking and process improvement. I believe the current success of the MultiChoice program managed by Muhammad, is due to his exceptional leadership ability and soft skill qualities. I highly recommend Muhammad in the capacity of consultant, implementation specialist and strategic management.
— Ian Privett, worked directly with Muhammad at MultiChoice
The first thing that struck me about Muhammad was the calm and collected approach to everything that he does, and in particular his level headed way of dealing with high pressure situations. He has exceptional people skills, always treating everyone with a high degree of respect and understanding. Combine this with his well rounded technical background, a determination that I can only admire, and his remarkable ability to take a chaotic situation and bring clarity and understanding, and you have a well rounded individual adept at leading and running projects of any size. Looking specifically at Multichoice, what impressed me most was his ability to take multi disciplined teams spread across the organization (and the world) and to get them all to work together as a cohesive unit toward a common goal. As program manager he brought a level of organizational coordination and control that was badly needed. Without him I believe the project would not have had the successes it has had. I rank Muhammad unique amongst the people I’ve worked with. Calm, collected, approachable, respectful, knowledgeable, driven, determined, pragmatic and an all round “good guy”, I highly recommend him, and I would gladly work with him again.
— Rick Tonoli, worked indirectly for Muhammad at MultiChoice
Muhammad has the ability to be a natural leader and working with him has afforded me the opportunity to learn so much. His planning and organisational skills are at an expert level. He has an eye for detail and this allows nothing to slip through the cracks of any project that he is overseeing. He is also someone who can be looked to for advice on Project Management and is able to teach effectively. I have learnt many things from Muhammad and am sure that my Project Management skills have increased because of working with him
— Sandipa Seeparsad, Project Manager, MultiChoice, worked indirectly for Muhammad at MultiChoice
Muhammad joined Multichoice not long after I arrived to work on the Explora project. Initially as a project manager/scrum master. In the beginning he just observed – attending the meetings – sitting quietly – nodding his head – making a note of what people were saying.
Then after a while he started asking some questions. Not difficult questions – but definitely critical ones. Ones that we should have stopped to ask a while ago. More than that he was someone that was helpful in getting the answers. Not that he knew everything – but he knew how we could find the answers. If there was a need to involve a different team – he would facilitate it. If there was a need to involve an external party – he would build the relationship. If there was a gap in the delivery chain – from his own experience he would suggest ways to fix it. If there was confusion or even conflict between the different teams – he would organise a workshop. He would look for quick, simple interventions that would have big, positive impacts. It is not surprising that he became the programme manager responsible for facilitating the deliverables across the value chain – headend, STB, backend, product, external vendors, etc.
He reads the situation and the people well and has the ability to provide a birds-eye view or dive into the details. He has the foresight to identify potential risks early – and the experience to identify ways to mitigate them. You will see him sit for hours or days taking a vague project requirement with a crazy deadline and somehow putting together the pieces in such a way that the different teams know what is needed.
Additionally, he has a years of experience as a software engineer and can easily understand the technical aspects. He stays up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies – and is still passionate about developing software. He is one of a handful of people that I have worked with – who have been able to balance soft skills and technical knowledge.
With everything already said – his most important characteristic (and the reason why I enjoy working with him) is his ambition and drive. He is always striving to reach the next level….and then trying to pull those around him along.
— Muhammad Sooliman, worked indirectly for Muhammad at MultiChoice