Jun 21, 2024

Colleague Chronicles: Gabriel Androczky, Project Manager

Colleague Chronicles: Gabriel Androczky, Project Manager

The first question is, how long have you been working for the company and in what role? 

Since... I can tell you precisely. It was the summer of 2017, in August. I came here as a project manager, and that's what I've been doing since then. I was hired to manage a project and a team of developers for a German client. Being born in France, I’m not only bilingual in French and Hungarian, but also fluent in English and German and the latter was a major part of the selection process. It was a very exciting project and it lasted more than two years. Working closely with the client, we travelled a lot to Germany and the Netherlands. 

Were you constantly visiting the client? 

Yes, they organized meetings there very often. Since we were building an application to configure industrial heat exchangers, we had to get to know the entire manufacturing process and learn the domain. On some occasions, we flew in just for an afternoon meeting. Sometimes, I felt this was not the optimal use of resources, but overall I enjoyed being in both Germany and the Netherlands a lot. Part of my family comes from Germany, so it was a bit like going to a second home. 

I then worked on other projects such as my current main project, which is a medical review marketplace. This is another very exciting and extremely challenging project that started more than two years ago and is still ongoing. I also took part in launching a Gift Card project and a mobile app for bikers. 

But you're not in charge of those anymore?  

Not anymore. The situation is that I'm good at coming up with innovative things, practical and economical ideas, but the meticulous organization of things afterwards and ongoing operation is not really among my strengths. It's much better if someone else does it. They wisely noticed here that they need to build with me and then give me some other problem to ponder on and untangle. 

So, are you currently only working on that medical review marketplace?  

No, I have more than one project to take care of. I am also the Product Owner for our AI-based Reactive Analytics platform and we’re starting a new AI project that I’m not currently at liberty to share details about. These are very exciting times for us.  

The thing with the medical review marketplace is that the company had a working but also aging system, or to be precise, they have a working system in the US; however, they have clients throughout Europe and the European Union, who can’t have medical data stored outside of Europe. That's why they had to create a new portal in the EU and going live meant that European clients moved from the US portal to the EU one. But it doesn’t matter how much you are able to test with a few people, when a lot of hands start using a product, that's the real test. So obviously, errors were popping out as the load increased. The biggest difficulty here was that we didn't start this development from scratch, but received it already half done, and it's really hard to tell if something that seems finished is really finished, or just looks like it. 

What’s more exciting for the future is that we're now starting to implement AI ourselves. This is great because AI is a topic I’m passionate about. A couple of years ago, I had the privilege to work with two of the most talented people in the field at a startup developing ML-based recommender systems for US companies. We’re trying to make a mark here 

What are the usual tasks of a project manager?  

Fighting with everyone… Jokes aside, tasks highly depend on the stage the project is in. In the conceptual or planning phase, it’s more about identifying how we can translate client ideas and needs into implementation. How we can understand the client needs and address these with a solution that empowers the client. Generally, clients are unable to comprehensively express their needs or evaluate the effort needed to address them. That’s where we come in and work to reach a compromise between the project’s funding and the results we can achieve. In later stages, the PM’s tasks shift towards a communicative and operative role, but of course, we continue to plan future iterations of the software.  

What do you think is the most important skill a project manager needs to do their job well? 

Well, that's a very good question. It’s very useful to have an in-depth professional insight into what's going on. But also, I think it is essential to be strive for solutions in every situation. So, even if the client is underestimating their needs and even if we might be overestimating our efforts, somehow a solution has to be found. So, despite all the delays, setbacks and blocking factors, someone not having done something, not having access, a solution still needs to be delivered. In situations like these, maintaining composure, taking people's hands and saying “Okay, we'll still cross the finish line because we have to”. Even if we have to crawl on all fours, I’ll be the one advancing the team one shoe mark on the back at a time. 

What are you most proud of since you've been with the company? 

What I'm most proud of nowadays is our recent proof of concept victory in the CodeQuest Innovation Challenge, which now looks like it's going to become a product. I didn't expect it to be so well received among the company owners/management. So, they see it as an innovative thing worth pursuing and I’m very grateful to them and to the team I’m working with on this. I’m very fortunate to be able to bring my spark of an idea to market. Of course, I’d be even more proud if I was able to go into details about what this software is, but hopefully I will be able later, in another interview. 

What was the biggest challenge? 

The biggest challenge was a project we brought up from the minus fifth level. The issue really started with the people who initially looked at the code we received to finish and complete, and they said it was fine. Well, none of them are with the company ever since. They got us into something they didn't have to suffer through afterward. This project should have been rejected at ground zero or started over from scratch. I know everyone always says that someone else's code needs to be rewritten, that it's not good enough, etc. We all know how developers relate to each other’s code. But in this case, it really should have been sent back, we shouldn't have gone into it, and a lot of people got burned in the process. Many came and went on that project. So, in terms of project management, the list of names associated with it is extensive. I joined half-way, we brought it up from the minus fifth level, and now it's profitable for the Client. 

What do you like most about the company? You've been here for seven years now, that's quite a long time. 

What draws me to this company is its unique culture, which prioritizes trust, understanding, and genuine human connections. Having worked for larger corporations in the past, I've experienced firsthand the cutthroat atmosphere that can emerge when people are competing for limited resources. But here, there's a sense of community and mutual respect that allows us to thrive without constant stress or competition. 

I value trust and autonomy a lot. I appreciate that the company knows my strengths and lets me do what I do best without much micromanaging. This freedom allows me to give my all and feel fulfilled in my work. 

I was initially concerned when we were acquired by Gloster, wondering if our unique culture would be lost in the process. But I've been pleased to see that the acquisition has only strengthened our bonds with the parent company's similar values and approach. 

Ultimately, what matters most to me is not just about mere profit or burning out on the cutting-edge, but more about treating each other with compassion and respect while still driving success for our investors. This company gets it right, and I feel grateful to be part of this special community. 

And then the last question, why would you recommend this company to others? 

Because it offers a unique work environment that truly supports employee growth and development. While every job has its fair share of challenges, I think what sets this company apart is its commitment to helping employees develop their skills and interests. From language support to training programs, mentoring, and more, the company provides a comprehensive framework for success. This means that even when faced with less-than-ideal projects or clients, you know that you're not alone in your endeavours. It's a place where you can feel confident in taking on new challenges and knowing that you'll receive the support and resources needed to excel. Overall, I think this company is a great choice for anyone looking to grow professionally while working with a supportive team.