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Project change from engineer’s perspective: “I got an instant boost of positive energy”

What draws candidates to Sii is, among others, diversity of projects and industries as well as a wide range of technologies. The real question is what keeps them in the company. There are many reasons for that, including development possibilities, which are provided by e.g. Job Changer application. It allows changing the career path within Sii. Daniel Dumowski, a software tester, discusses the process of project change, and provides tips on how to find motivation within yourself.

Natalia Lankiewicz, Retention and HR Support Manager in Sii: I remember pretty vividly the moment that you joined our testing team in Łódź. It was two years ago. How would you evaluate your time spent in Sii?

Daniel Dumowski, Test and Analysis Engineer in Sii: A lot has happened. I was a part of several minor as well as major projects. I had the possibility of working with many experienced people who, helped me learn more, than I have ever imagined. I spent my first weeks in Sii on a so-called “bench” as we had made an arrangement that I would be available ad hoc for anyone, who might need any additional support in the project. Owing to this, I was able to compare how different teams and projects work and see with my own eyes how the theory that I knew applied to the real life.

After about a month, I was assigned to a project carried out for a client from banking industry, who was interested in a long-term cooperation with me. I tested web apps for handling debt enforcement collection proceedings. Then, I moved to apps dedicated to investment funds. My previous experience in the banking industry helped me for sure. It was easier for me to understand the tested product which, in my opinion, is key.

N.L.: And then, unexpectedly, the HR department receives your project change request. Was it a spontaneous decision?

D.D.: No. The whole process started with a discussion with my Line Manager during one of the integration meetings. I felt like I didn’t have the same energy, as in beginning, when I had to learn a lot of new things pretty quickly. It is my driving force and I wanted it to come back. I decided that it might be worth it to change something. Fortunately, my direct superior did not oppose to me changing the project.

N.L.: So why did you submit the request officially in the Job Changer app?

D.D.: Making the request was the last and the best moment to think everything over. I made a deal with my manager that until I made the request, he would not take any action. The final confirmation of my wish to change project was clicking the ‘submit’ button. It was left to my decision when one journey would end and a new one would start.

N.L.: So submitting the request was only a beginning, right?

D.D.: I knew that the Retention and HR Support Department Manager would contact me, but it turned out that she was on holiday. I was positively surprised that a different person from the team reached out pretty quickly. In order to find a project, that would be suitable for me, she wanted to know what projects I was interested in, what was important to me and what motivated me. We went through my CV to check whether something needs to be improved or updated. Next day, it was sent to managers responsible for allocating engineers to projects for clients as well as for Sii.

N.L.: A list of persons, who wish to change project, is sent to all Sii’s sites. The fact that someone may not be open to relocation, is not an issue, as we run many of our projects remotely. How long did it take you to change the project?

D.D.: From sending the request to meeting with a client, it took about two to three weeks. In my opinion, it was great that the client, that I worked for at that moment, was informed when it was certain that I would change my project. We had the time to find a replacement, and I was able to help in the onboarding process, which made the transition smooth. I was sure that I was leaving my team with someone, who knew what he was doing and would be able to pull through.

N.L.: What do you do now?

D.D.: I am a part of a team testing applications used for industrial purposes. It is a completely new area to me, something I have never done before. The client develops various components used in e.g. wind turbines or mines. I am responsible for testing an application, that allows monitoring and managing such components. My work involves not only sitting in front of a desk, but also working on physical equipment. From time to time, we have to configure hardware in order to create an environment similar to that of our client. As there are numerous different ways of doing it, we have a lof of fun and it helps us do something more, than look at a computer screen for eight hours. It puts things into a different perspective and gives us time to think.

N.L.: How exactly is your current project different from the current one?

D.D.: I work in an international project team, which communicates in English and it is completely new to me.  Each daily, telco, slack communication or reporting mistakes that I discover, has to be held or provided in English. This is what I was missing in my previous project as I felt like my language skills were deteriorating while not being used.

The thing that I really love about my testing team is that we are able to decide what tools we want to use. If we see that there is something new on the market, that we would like to try or implement, we make a proof of concept and propose a feasible idea to our Product Manager. If we really believe in something, we put a lot of effort into preparing for such a meetings so, as you may suspect, the PM is often into our ideas.

N.L.: From what I have heard from you, everything seems to be so easy. Was it really so? Were you not afraid? A change is not always for the better.

D.D.: To be honest with you, I was a little skeptical as meeting new people in a completely unfamiliar environment is always stressful. In my previous project, I knew everyone and we often went out after work and talked about our personal affairs. I wondered what would happen if no one was willing to help me or what if a crack a joke and no one laughs. Fear of the unknown and risk come with every change. Luckily, all of my concerns went away after first few weeks.

N.L. What would you say to those, who want to change their project or want to talk about new possibilities with someone?

D.D.: Just do it. Go to your local Retention and HR Support department and say what’s on your mind. If you think that your project is not right for you or you need a change, you have to come forward as other people cannot read your mind. It’s such a small thing that can bring so many positive results.

N.L.: What is the most important to you about your work?

D.D.: Apart from compelling tasks, that are my driving force and motivate me, a positive atmosphere is what matters and only people can create it. Good relationships in a team are key. Me and my colleagues help each other and during breaks we can always play table football together. This is what motivates me to wake up and go to work every day.

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