What good is a project without a great team?
Note: this article was originally written in Polish by Inhire – you can find it here.
Is it possible to work more than a decade in the IT industry for one company and be satisfied? Of course! And Sebastian Banach, our Head of Technical Engineering, is a great example. Find out more about his story.
Sebastian, according to LinkedIn you’ve been working at Speednet for over 13 years! That’s a rag of a time, especially for the IT industry. Tell us more about you. How you got into the company and how do you recall your beginnings?
That’s true, but time flies fast at Speednet. There’s always something going on. There are more ‘dinosaurs’ like me who have been with the company over than 10 years (laughs).
There is a rather funny story connected with my joining Speednet. It all started with a wedding. The wedding of a good friend of mine, at which I was the best man. Slawek was working at Speednet at the time and encouraged me to join. I was sure about it because I was happy with my current job, I had worked there for almost 3 years, and I had everything laid out.
But… at the wedding I met more people from Speednet, including Piotr Grodzki, the CEO. As you probably know, the role of the best man involves various responsibilities, including entertaining guests, so I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with people from the company, get to know them better and see how they behave outside of work.
That is why, when a few days later Piotr called with an offer to join the team I did not hesitate for a moment. The company’s recruitment process took only a few days – mainly consisting of an interview with an HR representative and then a meeting with a technical person. The short recruitment process is something we are proud of, and we make sure that, regardless of the company’s development, it continues to take just a few days. We respect our time and the candidates’ time.
As for my beginnings in the company… I have to admit, there was a lot going on. I took the position of Team Leader in the team working on a big project for Onet. At that time everything looked a bit different than now… Speednet had about 20, maybe 30 employees, some of whom lived in Warsaw and worked on an outsourcing project.
I found my way around the organization quite quickly – just a few days after being hired I was at the meeting with a client in Krakow. You could say that my position was a combination of Tech Leader and Project Manager. I had the opportunity to do a lot of programming, but also to develop other skills. Despite this diversity, it was a long-term project, so at some point, I started to feel that I wanted to change something and try something new.
At Speednet, no one saw this as a problem, and I was assigned to the PM position on another project. Over the last few years, I’ve tried different things and that’s more or less how it went.
What do you do now and how has your role in the organisation changed over that time?
I currently hold the position of Head of Technical Engineering. My main tasks include making sure that the right number of people are working on projects. Knowing the capabilities of our teams and the specifics of particular projects, I make sure that no one is crushed by an excess of responsibilities and that everyone has a sense of purpose. We come to work for a purpose and if we feel we are wasting our time we don’t want to go back.
In addition to this, I also liaise with clients, solve crises or respond to various problems in projects or teams. It is a known fact that even in the best companies some ‘fuckups’ happen.
What are the biggest changes you have noticed at Speednet from the beginning of your work until now?
First of all, the company has grown considerably, we now have more than 200 specialists. That’s a big difference and I admit we were a little worried that the atmosphere in the company might change, especially during the last few months – pandemics, remote working, and meeting restrictions. However, it turns out that no matter how many people are employed, our values and the climate, that we have at Speednet, remain the same.
Are you able to give an example of the funniest/most unusual story that happened during that time?
So many things have happened during these 13 years that it’s really hard to pick one. Do you know the series The Office? Jokes that Jim prepares for Dwight are often an inspiration for us. A keyboard dunked in jelly? Done. Really, there was a lot of crazy stuff going on. I remember one time I came back from holiday and my whole desk, cables, monitors, etc. were wrapped in a pink tissue paper…
What do you think about the frequent change of companies in IT? What do you see as the pros and cons of this approach?
It depends on what you mean by frequent change. When the company in question cannot provide for you a new development path, it is a good idea to change jobs, if u can afford it.
The IT industry is huge, and it is worth looking for what really draws you in. However, using my own example, before you start looking further, you should mention it inside the company that you want to change something, try something new. If you like the people in the company and if there is a positive atmosphere, then it’s worth staying.
In this way, we give ourselves time to advance within the company – maybe after some time, instead of developing further as a programmer, we decide to become a Team Leader or PM? We never know what will happen to us.
I’m glad that those few years ago, I spoke up to my manager instead of changing companies – I got what I wanted and, in the process, was able to stay with a company I really liked. At Speednet, although it may sound a bit ridiculous, we really focus on the individual approach to the employee, we talk a lot, we look for solutions. That’s probably the only sensible thing for companies in the IT industry – betting on people, because with good team you will always find project, but what good is a project without a great team?