A boss focused on results, not control is a real treasure. Impossible? There could be nothing further from the truth! Take Tomasz Soszyński, International Projects Director at MakoLab. He joined the MakoTeam 16 years ago when the Polish football team advanced to the World Cup after winning 3-0 against Norway, and he still plays for us today. We interviewed Tomek to find out more.
How did it all begin?
I studied Computer Science at the Technical University of Łódz’s Faculty of Informatics with a specialisation in Computer Graphics. I first came to MakoLab as a student intern. It was my deliberate choice to intern here – I chose Makolab because I wanted to join a smaller company, not a corporation. After 2 months, my student internship turned into a permanent job. During my 5th year of study, my job role at MakoLab became that of a programmer, combining my student responsibilities such as writing a master’s thesis with the beginnings of my professional working career.
Do you remember your first project?
Yes, it was an electronic version of the Philips Poland lighting catalogue. For this project, I was supporting a team of developers. My supervisor was Ryszard Olejnik, who still works at MakoLab. Other projects I carried out on my own, under the watchful eye of Rysiek and other experienced colleagues. The first fully self-executed project was Bank Face – I created a platform which presented the profiles of actors, extras, and any necessary information concerning them. I was a Junior Programmer for nearly 3 years.
And what came after that?
Later there was a change and the ‘Renault era’ at Makolab began. As a Senior Developer, my work with this client started with building the first websites for Renault and Dacia based on the OpenCMS software solution. After this, I then went on to build RCI Bank’s financial simulators, which were also visible on the Renault and Dacia websites. I was also responsible for maintaining these services. First, I ran projects for Renault in Poland and Austria. Over time we added an additional 20 more countries – so we had plenty of work to do! At the time, the team supporting Renault, apart from graphic support, was only 2 people. I dealt with all the issues related to the management of the projects. Over the years, the portfolio of services for Renault has expanded and there has been a need for a larger team and a man who will bring it all together. This responsibility was entrusted to me under my new role as IT Project Manager.
How big is your team?
Until recently, in addition to managing the Renault projects, I was also the head of the mobile team, frontend and application testers. The team consisted of a total of 60 people – whose competencies, due to the large scale of the operations, were subsequently divided. Currently, I work as an International Projects Director with my 30-person Renault team around the world. I am glad that I personally participated in the recruitment process and that I was able to select the best individuals myself. These people make a great team, where everyone can count on each other. Professionalism, the ability to build a family atmosphere, communicativeness, and openness to people and challenges are the main characteristics I really appreciate and look for when forming a team of Foreign Projects.
The team also appreciates you. They claim that despite being the head of a huge department, you can solve millions of things at once. Amazing!
If they say so, then there is probably something to it 😊. It is nice to hear such an opinion, I try as I can, although it is often very difficult as I need to set priorities. It is important that what we do together is done smoothly, and as far as possible without any problems, giving specific results whilst at the same time making it enjoyable.
What constitutes your team? What are you looking for when recruiting employees?
First of all, an open mind, determination, willingness to work, high communication skills, and technical competencies. But the most important things for me is the communication and willingness to take up challenges, which in a project for such a large partner as Renault, there are many. The bottom line is that we create a team that works together and that everyone can count on in each situation. That is the team’s strength.
Did you know your team claims you’re a super boss?
It’s nice to hear that. It was well earned when I received the title of the Most Valuable Student back in elementary school 🙂 (laughs). Being considerate, smiling and sometimes making a joke is the beginning of success in communicating with anyone. Sympathy, smile, sometimes the joke is the beginning of success in communication with everyone. In balance, as and when it is necessary to have a serious conversation, eye-to-eye contact and constructive criticism is best – thankfully these situations do not happen often.
When asked what they think about Tomasz Soszyński as their supervisor, your team responded: “The best things about Tomasz is that he is relaxed, calm, and the fact that he gives us a lot of freedom when it comes to decision-making in our projects. Because of these qualities, we tend to ask for his advice (which is always relevant and appropriate to the problem!), rather than seeking formal acceptance. Tomek gives us a chance to be independent, but at the same time, we know he is supportive of us. Besides, he’s just such a cool guy. A boss focused on the results of the work, not on controlling each and every step, and not constantly standing right behind you staring at your screen – is a real treasure!
„standing behind you staring at your screen” – That probably isn’t me 🙂
Maybe the author of those words meant that I like “being informed” about the what is going on – yes, I definitely like to know what I stand for and what is happening on the topics for which I directly or indirectly take responsibility.
The team regards you to have so much knowledge, yet you still soberly judge each situation, paying attention to the nuance.
I suppose there is no rest for the wicked! Everything has to work like clockwork and you are turning the cog. The fact is, I’m very perceptive. Some of the elements seemingly invisible to others, for me, are completely conspicuous.
You like to work in dim light and in the cold – in winter you always turn the radiator to the minimum, and in the summer the air conditioning punishes. The team laughs that you will effectively freeze all your emotions 😊
A spot on observation! I definitely prefer cooler climates; better for working and thinking.
Being a boss is certainly time-consuming, what do you do outside of work?
I like cycling, travelling and walking in the mountains. I am a happy father and the free time I have with my daughter is the best part of my life outside of Makolab.
I think everyone would like to have such a boss! Are not you looking for people to join the team?
Always! We are currently recruiting for Renault. We are looking for a Project Manager, so join us!
Would you like to work with us? Apply here.