Tomasz Michalik: Do you typically see the glass as half empty or half full? How does this perspective impact your professional and personal life?
Marcin Dąbrowski: For me the glass is always half full. Without being positive, optimistic or excited about the things you do you have nothing! Life is full of challenges, issues and problems. You can either take is as a curse or see opportunities and chances for growth! I will always choose the growth path! Such an approach was always helping me in both private and professional life. Everybody likes to work with positively-energized people. If somebody is looking for a person who will take responsibility for important and difficult project or for part of organization then of course she or he will always decide for self-motivated and ambitious candidates. So at the being positive is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. The more positive you are, the more you achieve.
T: Could you please share the story of how you started your journey in the IT sector? Was it planned or more of a coincidence?
M: From the beginning I was good at maths and becoming an engineer was a natural choice. I decided to study electrical engineering and later additionally computer science. From there it was easy to find a job in software engineering an I did it! I started as a summer intern and later worked in almost all roles in IT companies, as a team leader, project manager, department manager, BU director and at the VP of the board. Of course there’s lot of coincidence in it. I remember there was a huge project that nobody wanted to lead. Everybody was afraid of it. So it took it. I wasn’t aware how complicated it would be. But after years of hard work this particular project has forged me as a person and paved my way to the board. Professional journey and success are usually a combination of luck and hard work!
T: What interests you the most in IT?
M: Creating and building organizations and managing complex projects! Every complicated and difficult project is like a challenge. It’s exciting, requires lots of work and effort but at the end brings joy and customer’s gratitude. It also creates bonds with people inside and outside of your organization. Projects are extremely fulfilling in many ways. You meet new people, especially on customers side. You can learn and use new languages. You can travel all over the world and see places you would never see otherwise. You learn culture and become more understanding and emphatic. You’re exposed to issues, challenges and problems – when you fight and solve them you become a stronger version of yourself.
T: You’ve written a book on project management in IT. Authors often treat writing as a form of therapy, a way to confront challenges. Was this the case for you?
M: To some extent maybe. In my case I wanted to shed some light on how you deliver projects in real life, working with real problems, real people, real customers! Most of the book describe theory which when applied does not really help. Later people make mistakes, try and fail because nobody prepares them for the challenges of the reality. My goal was to describe all the practical knowledge I had so that they could learn on somebody else’s experience, successes and failures. There has been many discussions about same issues, same problems and same solutions that I would have over and over again. At some point you think that instead of continuously explaining same concepts it would be wise and more effective to write it down in a book so that everybody could read it any time!
T: The IT market is undergoing vast changes. AI is seriously stepping into our reality. In your opinion, what will be the biggest challenge for the IT market?
M: I think that’s normal way of things. New technologies have always caused some level of disruption. Still I think people and whole businesses adapt, learn new ways of working and use new technologies as new tools increasing their capacity. I strongly believe we should consider AI as an opportunity. There will be lots of tools like co-pilots which would certainly make us work faster and more efficient. I think that one of the most challenging aspects in IT are hypes that come and go and make its biggest players and investor behave in the short-sighed, emotional way causing significant fluctuations in demand for IT services.
T: In IT, you’ve transitioned from a programmer’s position to VP of the board of two publicly-traded companies. One could say you’ve reached the pinnacle of your career. What happened that made you decide to suddenly leave it all behind?
M: Oh, the answer is very simple. I worked for corporations for 20 years. I successfully developed businesses for two companies. Now at some point you are asking yourself why are you working for other people? Why aren’t you growing your own business? Of course corporate career is safe but is it fulfilling? These questions were chasing me for last years and I finally decided to the save path and following the urge to create and build! Besides the worst thing that one can do is not to try and then regret! At the bottom of me there has always been this urge to create, build and phase challenges. I’ve always needed it to live.
T: Why did you invest in People More, and what do you anticipate from this phase of your professional life?
M: This is a long story. Robert, one of the co-founders was my team mate at MBA studies. We’ve had this discussion about creating our own IT company for quite some time. In several iterations. So when I finally decided to leave corporate career People More was a natural choice! There was a group of friends who were waiting for me. Besides, each of us has a unique skillset, rich experience and we simply complement each other. I truly believe we create a great team!
They say you have 3 phases in professional life: you learn, you build and then you invest. I think the learning phase is over. Now it’s the time to build, create something meaningful with passion and engagement!
T: Welcome aboard, I’m delighted that you are here to lead the team!