Catalin – or Nicky, as everyone calls him – is a Senior Project Manager in Iasi who has been in Endava for 10 years now. He has an interesting career path and loves storytelling. As one of the first Endavans to adopt the Agile methodology, his contribution to the company and the clients he worked for touches many levels – from delivery to gaining new clients, to growing the people he works with.
Want to know what has kept Nicky engaged in Endava over the years? Read his full story.
Describe your professional path within the company.
Back in 2008, I had a chat with a friend of mine – a recruiter - working at, what was at the time, a small software company opening a new office in Iasi. This company had very ambitious plans for growth, which my friend was constantly talking about and he was enthusiastically painting a bright future.
As it usually happens, I was invited for a chat in the office. It turns out the office was a two-bedroom flat in an apartment building, with the front desk in the hallway, next to the open kitchen. In a room to the left, five people sat at their desks and I was invited to have the discussion in the guest room, right behind the front desk.
This is how the Iasi office of Endava looked at the time I joined, and since I was coming from a company of about 200 people, it left quite an impression on me. Not sure if it was the people, family atmosphere, possible future opportunities or the energetic friend that convinced me, but I decided to join Endava.
My journey here started as a tester for an insurance project delivered using the “good old waterfall” approach. Soon after that, I joined a pilot project for what was then a new and promising framework: Agile - software delivery with Scrum. Afterwards, I helped to test the performance of the platform for one of the world’s biggest football clubs.
Over the years, I’ve been involved in lots of projects and had a variety of roles from Tester, Test Lead, Scrum Master, to Account Discipline Lead and now Senior Project Manager, some of them at the same time. However, these are not as important as one might think.
More important were the experiences gained, the people I’ve worked with, the connections I’ve made with them and what I’ve learned from and with them along the way. I learned that failing at some things is good sometimes, because in the end you will for sure succeed at others. Each engagement has come with new and different challenges, with new opportunities for getting out of my comfort zone, learning, growing and ultimately gaining.
Tell us about what drives you at Endava.
Overcoming challenges together with the people I work with is what drives me at Endava. And, as with all the things I’ve learned and enjoyed over time, there’s a story behind this as well.
A few years back, at the beginning of my career, two developer colleagues of mine and I travelled to one of the biggest insurer companies with the aim to convince senior people, with experience in IT as much as I’ve had years on this planet, that we could help solve their problems. All of us were new to this bringing no experience of this type of engagement, but we went nonetheless. What can I say? We were young and bold … and, speaking only for myself, frightened. After intense discussions, listening, debating and proposing approaches we did it, they said ‘Yes’.
Three kids, as that was what we were then (at least compared to the people we were talking to), convinced one of the biggest insurers to start a project with them. What we started became, over the years, a model for agile delivery. This is just one example of how I got outside my comfort zone and achieved great things together with the people I work with. It taught me about being open to challenges, regardless of how great they might seem, as with the right people/team you can overcome anything.
Name some books/tutorials/speeches that had an effect on your career path.
I’ve been influenced by various books and speeches throughout my career, but there are two quotes that I always come back to: “The only constant in life is change”, by Heraclitus and "Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, by Peter Drucker. In the context of my career at Endava and the Agile methodology that I work with, it’s essential for me to embrace change and also be a driver for our organisational culture.
What advice would you give yourself if you were starting work at Endava today?
A while ago I listened to a speech from one of the world’s greatest motivational speakers, Simon Sinek. I recently came across it again and this fragment stuck with me:
“The United States Navy SEALs are, perhaps, the most elite warriors in the world. (…) You want to be an elite warrior? It's not about how tough you are, it's not about how smart you are, it's not about how fast you are. If you want to be an elite warrior, you better get really … really good at helping the person to the left of you and helping the person to the right of you. Because that's how people advance in the world. The world is too dangerous, the world is too difficult for you to think that you can do these things alone.”
So, one piece of advice I would give to a younger version of me would be not to think you have to know all the answers or pretending that you do – ask for help and accept it when it’s offered. There are lots of people around you who are always able and willing to help you.
Tell us more about yourself outside of work.
Travelling with my family is probably one of my biggest passions, which I neglected for some time. I’ve recently started to recover on that front and am planning to do the same in the future as much as possible. In my recent trips, I captured photos of places, people and landscapes and discovered this way how much I enjoy photography. It’s both a new passion and another way of telling my stories.