At the beginning of our professional career, we reflect on our future and development possibilities. An individual career path, clearly defined goals and authentic development are not only theories – certainly not at Sii! Appropriately coordinated processes, own projects and products provide a great place for development, as Sebastian Połeć found out, who started his career at Sii in Service Desk, and then through the position of Product Owner became Project Manager.
Agata Nowakowska-Jamroz, Junior Communication Specialist at Sii: It’s been exactly 4 years since you started working at Sii. You began your career in Service Desk, to become a Project Manager after hosting the position of Product Owner. When you were starting work at Sii, did you envision such a career path for yourself?
Sebastian Połeć, Project Manager at Sii: When I started working at Sii Lublin, there were about 40 people working there. At that time I was the only person in Field Support, and the Service Desk team in Lublin did not exist yet. Already on the first day at Sii, I noticed the pleasant atmosphere in the company. I’ve always wanted to develop in one area in which I could become a specialist. I’ve dreamt of such position, the alternative was Front-End Development.
A.N.J.: Where did the decision to change the direction of development come from?
S.P.: This is an interesting story. After accepting the proposal of moving to the second line of SharePoint support, I found myself in a place where I’ve always wanted to be. I received a suggestion to change the direction of my development and at the same time a proposal to become Junior Product Owner from Michał Kopczyński and Ewelina Szylińska, who, when moving to Pre-sales & Delivery, suggested me as a candidate for the successor of the MailGroups Product Owner. I took up the challenge – the transition to the position of the Product Owner involved a change in my duties and in the direction of professional development. After about 2 years, there was a proposal to change my position to Junior Project Manager. From my perspective, these were very good decisions, and Sii supported my development – especially the people working in Internal IT like my supervisor, or colleagues from the team. I am grateful to them for this.
A.N.J.: Was the knowledge you have gained in ServiceDesk useful in your subsequent positions?
S.P.: I guess so –Service Desk teaches life. I personally respect and value the work of the 1st Line of Support. Often these people are just starting their professional adventure with IT, and the position is not easy at all. A Service Desk employee should have general knowledge of the functioning of all areas of IT in the organization, and if you do not know the answer to a question, you should know where to look for the solution. Additionally, you should have well-developed soft skills, meet the users’ needs, offer them solutions and be involved in solving their problems. The positions of Product Owner and Project Manager are somewhat similar. You take care of the product/project entrusted to you, make proposals for its development, analyze changes and identify problems. At the same time, you are a consultant and advisor – you learn many of these things while working in Service Desk.
A.N.J.: Tell us something more about your recipe for success.
S.P.: Just find yourself in your role, love what you do and be interested in it. If something doesn’t work, it’s time to learn the lesson and try again. It’s not always pleasant, but in the end it pays off.
A.N.J.: How did Sii support you in your development?
S.P.: The opportunities for development in Internal IT are really great, especially that managers appreciate the people involved and are happy to propose them a development path by the occasion of periodic appraisals, based on their observations and conclusions. Internal IT is understanding and respects the decisions of employees. At one point of my career I myself did not accept the proposal of moving to the team of SiiRM to the second line of support. Not because I do not like SiiRM (SiiRM – I love you!), but because I was not interested in this platform and this business area. So I could count on the support of my manager in this decision and on his understanding of my rejecting the promotion proposal.
A.N.J.: How have your duties changed?
S.P.: From Field Support to 2nd Line of Support, Product Ownership to Project Management. Each position was slightly different and required a different approach. Currently, I work in a team of three people, Internal IT Project Managers, which conduct most of the internal projects in the company. Many of them are large scale projects, which have a large budget and involve specialists from almost every area of Sii’s operation. It’s hard work, which carries many challenges and huge responsibility, but rewards everything with satisfaction, the possibility of personal development and cooperation with the best specialists from various IT areas.
A.N.J.: And what does a typical a day in a Project Manager’s life look like?
S.P.: IT projects “are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”. I work with specialists from different areas on significant projects for the whole company – I learn something new every day. I start the day with reviewing current projects and related issues, answering questions asked by project teams and organizing meetings to clarify unclear issues. At the end of my work I try to plan my activities for the next day, so that in the morning I can sit down on the most important topics. A Project Manager’s day is a series of meetings with Business, analytical meetings, workshops for which you always need to prepare. Very often the PM leads the meetings, is responsible for taking notes and managing the schedule of the meeting, which should be agreed in advance. This is complemented by the definition and management of risks and problems in projects. The creation of analytical and design documentation, constant updating of the documentation in JIRA and many, many other interesting duties.
A.N.J.: Coming back to our company – which task or project has been the biggest challenge for you so far?
S.P.: The implementation of the 50% tax deductible costs, I received this project as a Product Owner. I think it was thanks to this, among other things, that I was offered the promotion to Junior Project Manager. A very interesting challenge is the ongoing UX Sii Portal Audit project. It required expert UX research, and the list of changes was planned out for the entire year to come – this is the first project of this kind in Internal IT.
A.N.J.: Finally, what advice would you give to Internal IT newcomers?
S.P.: Get involved and find out what interests you. “The problem is not earning money on its own. The problem is to make money by doing something that is worth dedicating one’s whole life to” – this is one of my favourite quotes and I agree with it a 100%.
A.N.J.: When Sebastian Połeć is not at work…
S.P.: …he is spending time with daughter and wife, because family is the most important to him. My hobby is filming. I learn how to make films, use specialist photographic equipment. I can boast 10 productions of occasional films that I have made in the last 1.5 years – it is a great pleasure for me and I treat it as creative fun.
A.N.J.: Sebastian, thank you for the interview – I wish you luck, many successes and much satisfaction in your daily work!
The article prepared by: Agata Nowakowska-Jamroz