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Can you be a Hero in IT? – Lessons from real customer stories (2nd part)

Collaboration

In the first part of our article, we looked for the answer to the question above, and went behind the scenes of an investigation and crisis management, adventured into the unknown, and learned what it’s like to have to deal with language differences in a project. In conclusion, we found that in many cases, it is not being afraid to roll up your sleeves, when you have the chance to prove yourself that you are a hero.

Focusing mainly on the inner workings, we brought some other stories to you.

Russian roulette: a chance for the inexperienced

Balázs Csintalan (Software architect) had previously worked for one of our clients, which is how he got to know us, and later joined the inner team.

“Let’s go back in time to 2015! I was studying business informatics at Corvinus University of Budapest and I was keen to become a developer. However, as I didn’t pass the screening anywhere with my educational background, I ended up as a trainee systems engineer in a bank. But I didn’t give up on my goal, as I was still learning during my internship, with the aim of becoming a programmer one day. During my months there, I was also involved in a project that the bank was working on with Danubius. I was already impressed by the collaborative, solution-focused attitude of their staff, so with nothing to lose, I applied. In contrast to my previous experience, they were very nice to me and, despite my few months of experience in a non-development field, gave me the opportunity to learn the basics. What happened after that is already history, I am very proud to have been able to support our clients as an architect for more than a year now.”, recalls Balázs.

“Let’s add that the fact that we got a first impression of Balázs during the joint project, and saw the qualities in him we usually look for in new candidates, made a big difference in giving him the opportunity. He absorbed the knowledge very quickly, and the past years have confirmed our decision was right.”, adds Péter Halász, Chief Operating Officer of Danubius.

Company coach instead of firing

There are countless memorable moments of working together, and Balázs remembers with exceptional vividness an incident three years ago, when a message suddenly popped up on Slack from the company’s founder, Péter Balogh: “Let’s talk!”

“That’s pretty much the business equivalent of ‘honey, we need to talk’, so I immediately thought that my career at Danubius was over. My first reaction was to quickly update my profile on various job search portals and prepare for the worst. Obviously being here suggests that the worst didn’t happen, but what did? At the time, I had just moved to a new project with a lot of problems and, to be honest, I was reluctant to leave my previous job, but I don’t say no easily, and we are at work… So I moved on, but I wasn’t too happy, and I said it from time to time to my new team. Of course, my dissatisfaction also got back to Peter, which he didn’t want to leave unsaid. So the lunch together was not about firing me, as I had painted it in my mind, but about being able to say if there was anything I disagreed with and trying to take individual needs and expectations into account as much as possible. As well as the fact that my manager took the time to talk to me in person, another great benefit of the lunch was that Peter offered the support of a coach friend to help me develop my communication. It helped me a lot, I feel that we have improved my skills in giving feedback and in formulating clearer messages”, says Balázs.

At Danubius, it is now completely natural for a coach to help colleagues in their daily work: every Wednesday afternoon we have the opportunity to talk to her, as we recognised that if team members can solve their own problems and get support for their development, it can only have positive results for the company as a whole as well.

“We provide this opportunity, because everyone can have problems that affect their work. If you get help with these, you’ll feel better about the tasks you’re doing, and that’s a win-win for everyone. It’s no secret that over the past decade I’ve made many mistakes, overloaded mentors with juniors, or just piled tasks on someone who was pulling my leg and didn’t realise they were burning out in the process. I don’t want to step into the same river again, and the coach’s work helps me to achieve that”, explains Peter.

The role is different, but the attitude is the same: from customer to supplier

Team day

Sarolta Fogarasi (Analyst Team Lead) moved from the client side to the consultancy side nearly six years ago and has never regretted it. Her own attitude is fully in line with Danubius’ values: we try to solve the client’s problem even if it is not closely related to us. “If something is about to fall, we don’t let it fall just because it’s not our job to protect it from falling. I’m often asked why I’m dealing with something that shouldn’t be my job, but I don’t look at it that way. You shouldn’t stop at the edge of your own box, and it always pays off in the long run”, explains Sarolta.

As a supplier, we are in a constant change, team dynamics are evolving as the number of members decreases or increases for a given task, which needs to be managed well while aiming for maximum efficiency. It is not easy to balance on the often thin ice, while maintaining motivation is also challenging.

“For me, the best feedback is the close relationship I have with my customers, which is not just the classic customer-supplier collaboration. I often find people lacking motivation, having spent a lot of time in a large corporate environment, I understand exactly the challenges they face on a daily basis. I always feel honoured when customers - and even my colleagues - approach me with their personal struggles, and I think they appreciate that I listen to them and share my own experiences. In one large insurance company, a client called me at the beginning of an epidemic and asked for advice on how to better connect with colleagues in the virtual space. Trust is very important in the business, because we are creating something together with our clients. It’s nice to see it reflected in this way”, says Sarolta.

Strong suggestion: support your colleagues and clients in dealing with their problems and challenges, and approach them with understanding!

In the constant rush of life, listening to others is a value that can make or break a collaboration in the long term, whether it’s the way you treat your team members as a manager or the way you treat your customers as a supplier. It can be what makes us stand out from many other partners, why we get a new contract, or why they simply prefer working with us.

Does it make you a hero? What do you think? We at Danubius would love to have a chat with you, feel free to contact us.


The article was originally published in Hungarian by ITmap, you can read it here.