Working in Service Desk allows you to learn about the applications and processes in the company. To broaden the perspective, it is sometimes worth relying on fate and taking advantage of a non-obvious development opportunity. Read how Grzegorz, Team Leader, got to the position where he manages a testing team in the Internal IT Department.
You have been working at Sii Poland for over 5 years, currently as a Team Leader of a testing team in the Internal IT Department. What was your career path in the company?
Grzegorz Lisowski, Team Leader: I started working at Sii as a Service Desk Specialist on the 1st line of support. Daily duties in this position allowed me to get acquainted with all applications and processes in the company as well as get to know employees and project teams in Internal IT. A year later, I received a proposal to move to the 2nd line of support to the Sharepoint team. Even though my future career plans were leaning towards system administration, and I did not have much enthusiasm for the Sharepoint platform, I decided to use the opportunity for development and to take up the challenge. Performing an independent role of the application support, I found out that Sharepoint seen from the 1st support line is just the tip of the iceberg, and under the surface of ordinary user needs, there are options for customizing ready solutions and a lot of development introduced by the team to meet business needs.
The transition to the testing path seemed natural to me. Analyzing the bugs reported by employees on Service Desk, I reproduced them on lower environments, consulted with Product Owners, developers and testers. Functionally, I got to know the applications created by the team, and I watched the testing methodology of my former Line Manager and mentor. In January 2020, I became the Team Leader of the testing team. Together with my nine team members, we watch over the quality of applications at Sii, their maintenance and implementation of changes and improvements in line with business requirements.
What’s your working day like now?
G.L: Despite the set implementation schedule and meetings that are repeated every week, each day is different. I usually spend the mornings before work walking my dog, a young Malamute can wake up better than a double espresso 😉 I start my work by organizing the topics that my team and I should deal with on the current day, then we have a team daily where we share problems and tasks for the day. The rest of the day is spent on current topics, e.g. various types of project meetings, error statuses, test progress verification, analysis and solving current problems, implementation of changes to lower environments, organizational meetings and team consultations. When I can and I have some time, I just try to test, because I still enjoy it 😊
What are your biggest challenges in your current position?
G.L: The biggest challenge is team management, for the first time I found myself in a position where I manage the work not only of my own, but also of my team members, I am constantly learning how to organize the team’s working time most effectively and how to react to any variables disrupting project plans. Another challenge is the organization of own work. Fortunately, the previous positions prepared me well for this and only the type of duties changed. With more tasks and greater responsibility, successes seem to taste better, and failures can be used to learn more.
From the very beginning of your work at Sii, you support the company’s internal projects. What are the characteristics of work in Internal IT?
G.L: Internal IT gives some sense of stability. Our business is our employees, therefore there are no language or cultural barriers. We implement long-term projects in teams with low employee turnover and, in addition, constantly developing ones. We have known many people for so many years that, apart from contacts at work, we are friends outside work.
My team creates and develops applications based on the Sharepoint platform, as well as custom applications, built from scratch. We have created and maintained an internal SiiPortal for all employees, which contains the most significant information, document templates, instructions, news and many other important content. In addition, we adapted the Sharepoint platform to the needs of the administration, HR, sales and project teams, creating smaller applications supporting their daily work. We are currently developing as many as 15 applications, so we’re definitely not bored.
The largest project that we managed to implement has been a portal for candidates, which we have built from scratch, and almost all Internal IT teams were involved in creating and integrating data between systems.
How did the company support you in choosing your career path and development?
G.L: Thanks to internal and external trainings, I expanded my skills, and casual meetings in the form of presentations on Tech Pizza Thursday allowed me to learn about my colleagues’ work and interesting technologies. I have participated in SQL trainings, a test automation course with selenium and training with the ISTQB Foundation.
After the vacancy for Team Leader was open in my team, I did not even think about applying for it, I always considered myself a technical person with no soft skills, and team management was something completely new for me. However, the manager of our team persuaded me to try, assuring that in the event of failure or a desire to return, there will be no burned bridges. Today I do not regret and I am grateful for the opportunity given to me.
What would you advise a person who would like to follow a similar career path?
G.L: Do not be afraid of challenges, constantly develop and try new things. I did not plan my professional path in any particular way. I started working on the 1st line support with the idea of being an administrator, then I thought of testing automation, today being a Team Leader I am waiting what the future will bring. I have always tried to perform my duties the best I can, but that’s not all – the atmosphere at work is also important. I recommend surrounding yourself with ambitious and interesting people with whom you get along.
Do you want to grow by creating internal applications that affect the functioning of the entire organization? Check out our job offers and join Sii!