Project Management in IT companies - interview with Mirek Mąka

by Ewelina Nurczyk in: Working in Poland, 18 May 2016     0 Comments

Project management in an international IT company – interview with Mirek Mąka, the Tower Country Manager of the Cross-Functional Services in Atos.

Project management is a concept which is getting more popular these days – why?

For many years project management has been popular in developed countries, i.e. the United States and Great Britain. Apparently, in Poland it is also flourishing. This is due to the fact that good project management is the key for receiving products quickly and increasing the company’s profits in parallel. Thus, it is currently a very popular branch and certainly will be in the future.

How has the role of Project Manager changed in the IT world?

IT systems, which are created for organizations, both medium-sized local and large global ones, are integrated, modified and implemented in accordance with the project philosophy. Most of the IT companies in the area of creating value for customers are also ‘project-oriented’. Recently the role of Project Manager and project management has evolved significantly. They should be considered in the context of a widely understood dynamics of change and its management. Gone are the days, when PM was treated as a person performing ‘any tasks’ and having only coordination functions. We also started our career with these roles in the Atos company. Currently, many Project/Program Managers manages projects/programs of implementation of services and infrastructure for global customers. In their teams there are high-level managers, who manage within projects. Despite looking through the prism of a silo company, there are many organizational levels above PM and often manage hundreds of people individually.

How does the increasing importance of outsourcing trends in business influence the development of project management?

According to the recent research, Poland is one of the most attractive localizations in the world in terms of providing outsourcing IT services. Project management is the integral part of delivering this type of services, especially in the area of implementation of products, changes in technology and their effective management. The IT industry itself is extensive and includes many job positions – from strictly technical, through analytical to managerial ones. In our country you could find qualified and experienced specialists in the areas that are missing in western countries. This is the reason why we observe the dynamic development of project management, in our company and Tower as well. The number of employees has increased by more than 2,000 within the last 3 years, whereas PMO/PPM sub-towers – by more than 200.

PM is a strategic position in Atos. Why?

Project management is largely independent to the interests of individual sub-towers and technical solutions. PM agrees on strategic goals on business level. In a managed project it uses available resources, competences and solutions in order to accomplish these goals. The people, who manage the company on a strategic level, are ensured that they maximize the effectiveness of a company. Furthermore, operational departments, which deal with networks, servers and cloud computing solutions, may focus on development their technical competencies by leaving project management in the hands of PM. Project management allows the most effective use of resources by relevant departments. PM’s responsibility is using the utmost potential of a team and organization, and providing a customer exactly what he expects, in a defined timeline and at specified price.

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You manage the xFS (Cross-Functional Services) Tower – what do you do?

xFS is the Tower which provides support in business activities. We ensure packages of services in the area of project support and project management, and managerial support i.e. reporting, data and financial analysis, solutions adjusted to every business need. Within xFS there are 4 sub-towers: Project & Program Management, Project Management Office, Business Operations Management and Solution & BiD Management. All sub-towers are mutually complementary areas of support services for business activities.

What possibilities/challenges await for PMs in xFS in Atos?

The global service delivery center in Bydgoszcz, part of which is xFS, is well evaluated. The scope and level of services delivered by us is being extended. Expectations and challenges are also growing. We are looking for specialists in many areas, especially Project Managers. We are seeking for Senior and Program Managers of international class with a level of competencies that are comparable to standards e.g. in the UK. Interesting and international projects await for PMs. Every project, team and relation with a customer is unique and bring a new, developing experience. It gives a chance and even a guarantee of a continuous development. Most of the projects, which are managed by our Project/Program Managers, are new services and infrastructure projects, which enable us to provide services to our external customers on a top level. Similarly to the non-IT world, it is like participation in projects of creating new technologies, building new factories and communication infrastructure which enable products and services delivery to final customers.

What about Training? Can employees look forward to them?

The Training program is precisely specified and, depending on a competence profile, there are dedicated sets of Training for specific career development paths. Within PPM/PMO, Training include knowledge on project management and soft skills. We emphasize courses conducted by the best training companies, alongside the possibility of certification which, in addition, motivates for acquiring knowledge and using it in practice. As an example, I can say that our teams can obtain certification in PMP®, Prince2®, Prince2Agile®, MSP®, P3O®, ITIL®. We also offer the unlimited access to e-learning Training. In case of long-term development plans for employees, we prepare individual development plans. For candidates for PMs outside our company we organize free of charge Training, which prepares them for this role - Project Managemet Academy, the newest edition of which will take place after the vacation period. More information can be found on our website pl.atos.net/kariera, in a tab ‘Atos szkoli kandydatów’.

You have mentioned development plans. What does an exemplary career development path look like in this area?

In a Project & Program Management sub-tower, Project Leader is a basic position. However, it is not a junior one. Project Leaders have proven experience and business maturity in this area but the scale of projects they have managed, branch in which they have worked and lack of established methodology have placed them within our nomenclature. Project Manager is on the next level. Project Managers have rich and longstanding professional experience; they are fully independent, mature, certified in PM methodologies and work with external customers and high-level managers in a company. Senior Project Manager is the next step. As the job title suggests, it is a senior employee in the area of PM, responsible for ‘the largest-caliber’ projects. He is a mentor and coach to less experienced colleagues. He can not only manage a project in accordance with methodologies, but also move out a project from a status ‘red’ to a status ‘green’. In the area of project management in Atos, you can start career from one of the above mentioned positions – everything depends on the level of competencies and skills, which are verified during the recruitment process. Further development is feasible within a specific job position, moving on a career ladder within a given field and other sub-towers in the company.


Our expert: Mirosław Mąka

Experienced manager, both on a strategic and operational level, with over 20-year practical experience. He has been specializing in technical and business management, project management in the area of telecommunications and IT, in the scope of transformations, migration and introduction of new services. Currently, Mirosław is working as Tower Country Manager in Atos Poland Global Delivery Center in Bydgoszcz, where he manages the Cross-Functional Services Tower. In the past he worked also for AT&T, Lucent Technologies and Alcatel-Lucent. Mirosław likes innovative ideas, seeks for new challenges and opportunities of making interesting contacts and exchanging experience.


Information about the company

Atos is the international leader in the IT services market. It employs more than 100,000 employees in 72 countries. In Poland the branches of the company are in Bydgoszcz, Warsaw, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Torun, Lodz and Cracow. There are more than 4,000 employees. According to the ranking Great Place to Work, Atos is among the forefront of the Best Place to Work in Poland. More information: kariera.pl.atos.net

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Author
Ewelina Nurczyk

Ewelina Nurczyk

Editor

Contact the author

Editor at CareersinPoland.com. A graduate of English studies and Polish language and literature at Warsaw University, specialising in teaching Polish to foreigners. 

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