From Network Operator to Programme Manager
How to get from Network Operator to Programme Manager? We interview Łukasz Nieścierowicz who boosted his IT career at Atos in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
How did your career at Atos begin?
My career started in Network Security & Communications Services team (currently NDCS), where I was responsible for operating internal network of the company and other various Dutch clients. I have been working there for one year and a half and during that time I have learned a lot of very useful skills, e.g. I realized how important in critical situations the team work is. I also got familiar with various tools that are used in our company and I had a chance to understand what operational teams actually do.
You came here to work as a technician and now you are managing projects – how did this happen?
I have been interested in project management for quite a long time. And that is why, after about one year of working in Atos, when I heard that PPM is planning to conduct Atos Academy, I decided to apply for it with no hesitation.
What exactly is Atos Academy?
Atos Academy offers free weekend training sessions for Atos current and future/prospect employees. All of the trainings are about specific area of work and they are prepared by Atos specialists. After completing the course, the best attendees can count on a job offer from their chosen department. This is how I was offered a post in PPM team.
And this is how your journey with project management started…
Indeed. At first, I was working as a Project Coordinator and from the very beginning I was involved in one of our very important external projects. The main objective was to create service documentation in accordance with newly developing platform for around 15 services which with their offer fully cover two of departments in our company. I was responsible for preparing documentation for 3 of such services and the knowledge that I gained in my previous role in NDCS helped a lot. Project scope also included creation, validation and obtaining approval for about 40 different technical documents created by Atos architects.
Quite a complicated project to start from…
That’s right. The biggest challenge here was the cooperation with IT architects who are extremely busy all the time. The second challenge was the fact that all of the documents had to be prepared in line with the new environment that we were creating, which was supposed to cover all ITIL processes in our company. At that time we were using a number of different tools in different countries which were not always compatible with each other. The new platform was supposed to be a holistic solution – it was meant to be a system for monitoring many aspects from, for example, monitoring our clients’ tools to a portal, where our clients could see all the SLA reports, problems and change statuses. Because of the fact that this system was in the conceptual stage, we often had to deal with different changes. Together with our IT architects, we were trying to understand how the whole system is going to look like and how the changes are going to influence the services.
And how did your career progress after that?
After 6 months, I was promoted to a Project Leader’s position. I was still working on the same project but my responsibilities expanded. I was now responsible for not only three but all of the services. But of course, it all happened gradually, month by month the number of my tasks was increasing. After the project closure, the solutions that we developed were handed over to the operational departments and I was tasked to lead three new projects.
And what were your responsibilities then?
I was responsible for the preparation of new services for our clients. This time, my team also had to prepare the service, which involves building the technical solution, testing, organizing the support team and preparing all the documentation. And while I was working on these tasks, I received an offer to take over even bigger project for one of Atos’s most valuable clients. Obviously, I agreed as this was a huge challenge for me – I became responsible for offshoring, which meant the effective knowledge transfer from Western Europe countries to Poland.
You are currently working as a Programme Manager – how did this happen?
After two years of working on a project related to the change of equipment, I was promoted to a Senior Project Manager position and I continued to lead on this project for one more year, until I received another very interesting proposition – managing innovative programme for the same key client. I accepted this offer right away. I handed over my foregoing responsibilities to one of my colleagues and I became a Programme Manager. Currently, I’ve got two Project Managers and one Project Leader in my team, and together we manage implementing IPsoft solution in Atos environment. We are one of the first companies who are implementing such an idea.
What do think is the most important in your job?
This job requires you to stay focused all the time and you should definitely trust people who work with you. I am really glad that I have a team of very good specialists form the US, Romania and Poland. This mixture of cultures gives us an opportunity to exchange different points of view and also teaches us how to deal with issues or problems that result from cultural differences. I do believe that the effective communication is the key in this job. In order to identify problems on time and react promptly to any changes we have daily meetings with our team as well as with our external supplier.
What do you appreciate the most in your job?
I think that we have a very good atmosphere in our Bydgoszcz office. Sometimes I even regret that I cannot be there every day. But on the other hand, I really appreciate the possibility to work remotely, I work from home for 3 weeks in a month, which means that I have more time for my family and I can also live outside of Bydgoszcz.
And what motivates you the most?
I am always motivated by new challenges. Working as a Network Operator was very interesting at the beginning, however after one year my tasks became quite predictable. As a Project Manager, or now a Programme Manager, I constantly face interesting challenges, which is very stimulating and this is my main motivator.
What was your most difficult project?
The Programme that I am managing now is definitely the most difficult one. This is mainly because of the fact that it is dependent on other programmes. I also need to cooperate with an external supplier, manage a group of PMs, solve everyday problems, obtain agreements and report to people who are managing a huge part of a company with almost 100k employees.
Do you think that the role of Programme Manager is a prospective one?
I believe that such a role is essential in every bigger company or organization. There should always be someone who takes care of and monitors company’s business targets and who knows how to use the resources effectively or how to adapt to market changes.
Łukasz Nieścierowicz who works as Senior Project Manager at Atos
Certified Project and Programme Manager with broad networking knowledge, specialising in infrastructure projects as well as IT tools supporting ITIL processes. Experienced in offshoring projects, service implementation, migration and transformation. Currently a Senior Project Manager, with Programme Manager role in Bydgoszcz office, managing an innovative programme of IT services automation for one Atos’s key clients.