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Courage and pro-activity, or how to become a Service Delivery Manager
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Courage and pro-activity, or how to become a Service Delivery Manager

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09 January 2019

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“Power People” is, along with goals and values, a key part of the personality of our organization. For years, we have been consistently implementing this strategic mission by identifying and promoting the best employees. What does it mean in practice and how does it actually affect the reality of employees? Get to know Maciej Jagielski, our Service Delivery Manager, who talks about his career.

What does a daily work of a Service Delivery Manager in Embedded Competency Center consist in?

Maciej Jagielski, Service Delivery Manager:  I am responsible for the projects from the embedded area for several foreign customers, which means wide variety. To be more precise, while working in this position for a year, I have already been in charge of projects for the railway industry, the media, customers manufacturing semi-conductors, POS terminals, customers serving monitoring of car fleets… There is definitely no place for routine here.

My daily duties include project-specific tasks, such as supervising the scope of work and the delivery date, contact with customers, assistance to teams in planning next activities, administrative and HR duties (planning and settlement of business trips or periodic interviews), depending on the size of the project and the team, as well as pre-sales activities, examining the needs of our sellers and current customers. Especially the last part gives me a lot of satisfaction. I really like situations when, together with the team, we cooperate with the sales department on a new topic and together we wonder whether and how we are able to deliver a given project. We analyse what technical competences we need to do that, we estimate, value and compile everything into a tailor-made offer.

These are mostly tasks known to each SDM. What distinguishes my tasks is the high dynamics related to the fact that I specialise in short-term projects that last from 2 to 8 months. Due to that I have to analyse competence needs in such projects on a current basis and to take care that my people always have interesting challenges in subsequent subjects.

How have you become a SDM?

M.J.: After graduating with a specialization in Computer Electronic Systems at the Gdańsk University of Technology, I started working at Sii as an embedded developer in the project for a large customer from Tricity. We were involved in the development of tools for configuration and diagnostics of server motherboards. After a few months, I became a Team Leader of an interesting, cross-competence team, composed of 13 developers and testers. I worked for this customer for 5 years as a Team Leader in 3 or 4 different projects. Thanks to the fact that each project was different, I got to know new areas that gave me motivation for further development. The emergence of the new Embedded Competency Center and its highly dynamic development made it possible for me to naturally make the next step.

How did you find your own career path?

M.J.: Due to my education, I have always wanted to work with electronics and programming. Initially, I imagined the path of my professional career as technical development: I thought that after my experience in programming I would become an architect of embedded systems. But when I got to Sii, my organisational skills and ability to establish relationships, also with customers, quite quickly surfaced. My superior proposed that I should focus on the development of managerial competences. At the beginning, I approached it with high concern, but it turned out that it was a good step. I have proven myself as Team Leader in several teams, and now I am realizing myself as a Service Delivery Manager.

What in your opinion plays a key role on the way to promotion?

M.J.: Let’s start with the fact that it is important to combine the technical competence and communication skills effectively. You need to be able to talk in a content-wise manner with both the team and the client. Proactive attitude, commitment, passion for work and self-confidence definitely help to gain the attention of not only the boss, but also other colleagues.

Does the promotion to the position of a Service Delivery Manager limit the direct contact with technology?

M.J.: That is true, and one needs to realise that. When you are thinking about development towards managing a team and projects, you have to remember that you will have less contact with technology literally – situations when I work with equipment occur extremely rarely. Works such as rebuilding or programming a given solution are carried out by a team you need to trust. Also when I was promoted to Team Leader, I spent much less time on performing strictly technical tasks.

And don’t you miss that?

M.J.: At the beginning, it was difficult. But the longer I held the position of a Team Leader, the more convinced I was that I am good at that and it gives me more pleasure – I want to develop in this direction.  Currently, if I want to work technically, I do it at home as a hobby.

What is your advice to your younger colleagues who want to develop themselves in embedded? On the development of which skills should they focus on?

M.J.: In Embedded Competency Center we follow two paths. On one hand, there is the low-level programming in C language, where you have to know a little bit more about the hardware that you are working with. The knowledge of electronics is really valuable here. The second path is the programming in C++, which is a language of a higher level, with an object-oriented approach. And here, you have less contact with hardware, yet it is worth being well familiar with this area. The people who are specialists in one of those areas but also have wide knowledge of the other are the most valuable. It happens that we need specialists in C++ for months, and then, in turn, in Embedded C. I always try to ensure that the project is profiled for the technologies that my team is fluent in, but openness and versatility are valuable features. Once again, I would like to emphasize that you have to be courageous and approach work in an active manner..

What do people who join your team usually emphasize as the greatest assets of Embedded Competency Center?

M.J.: People highly praise the atmosphere. They also appreciate the diversity of tasks that provide many opportunities for development. We have both long-term and short-term projects. If somebody likes working in a project environment where they settle for a longer period of time, they will certainly find challenges for them here. On the other hand, we have such projects as mine, where we need dynamic personality, easiness of entering new tasks and willingness to get to know different technologies and people.

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