Sebastian Behnen tells us about how he came to join encoway, his responsibilities as a project manager and his personal highlight.
How it all began
“[…] So. Just send me a short job application and I’ll invite you to an interview at the beginning of next year. Best regards, Christoph Ranze”.
That was the reply that I received in late 2007, when I was a student looking for somewhere to write my dissertation. The prospect of interesting topics and (I hoped) a subsequent opening for me at the company were among the reasons I applied to encoway. In the interview, Klaas Nebuhr – today the Sales and Marketing Manager at encoway – asked me, “If Java were chess, would you be proficient in queen-side castling?” It then became clear to me: “This is where I want to work!”
In October 2008 I completed my dissertation and received a good grade – my coach at encoway had been a great help here – and I was taken on as a software developer. In this function I was able to gain valuable experience that prepared me well for my current position as a project manager.
“If Java were chess, would you be proficient in queen-side castling?”
Even during the interview it became clear to me that every individual can make a real difference at encoway! Starting off as a software developer, I was given encouragement and support on the road to becoming a project manager. In no other job interview had I been given such a dynamic, authentic impression about the company. And even today, my motivation is just as high: I want to make a difference – and at encoway there are so many opportunities to do this!
My field of work as a project manager
I have been working as a project manager at encoway since 2009. I take on full responsibility for every customer project, from the time when the order is placed (at the very latest), right up to the successful implementation of the software for the customer. The projects are highly diverse – with fifty to a thousand and more man-days every year. From product implementation projects and change projects to long-term consultancy projects, every conceivable variant can be found in our range of activities. Both agile projects and traditional fixed-price projects are the order of the day, as are projects that are billed based on actual time and effort involved.
Every project presents new challenges for a project manager. We usually work with a whole range of different contact persons and our customers’ portfolios can be a real voyage of discovery. My projects involve products ranging from rectifiers and beverage bottling plants to air compressors and medical equipment.
For the success of a project at encoway, there are always three guidelines for which I am responsible as the Project Manager:
- Promoting the development of employees within the project
- Ensuring success and satisfaction for the customer
- Managing the projects efficiently and thus ensuring the economic success of encoway
We project managers do, of course, employ the usual disciplines of project management. However, these guidelines allow me to think outside the box and provide an excellent guiding light with which I can always align my decisions.
My personal highlight: a workshop in Delhi
In one of the projects I led, our customer decided to entrust the software development to a long-term partner in India. We at encoway were to be responsible for the product knowledge, modelling and software architecture for our customers. After the start of the project, we soon realized that the degree of process maturity in Bremen and Delhi was considerably different. We therefore quickly developed a workshop concept and I flew, together with a colleague, to Delhi. There we conducted a five-day training programme for the software development process. The necessity and effectiveness of this measure became apparent not only during the project itself: the company’s CEO in Delhi described the expertise gained during those five days as a milestone for his company.
A work-life balance that allows me to play with my daughters every day before supper. A job where I can take on responsibility all the time. Colleagues whom I enjoy meeting up with outside the company. This combination makes me look forward to my working life with great satisfaction.”
Biography: Sebastian Behnen was born in Lower Saxony and moved to Bremen to study technical computer science. He wrote his dissertation at encoway in 2008 and has since worked on projects for companies including Sartorius, Bauer Maschinen, BOGE Compressors, ABBand FESTO. Today he works as the Deputy Head of Project Development and is responsible for individual business.