10 years ago, Damien joined the T&S adventure as Practice Leader for Test activities near Stuttgart in Germany.
He agreed to share some light on these years spent at our side.
Damien, please tell us about your career
It’s the story of a young engineer fresh-out of university who threw his resume on the Internet thinking “someone will certainly call me”. After turning down one or two unattractive positions, I had an interesting discussion with a manager of a small consulting firm. It can be summarized in a few exchanges:
– The manager: “I saw that you were open to work “anywhere”. Does that include Germany?”
– Me: “Yes, I guess so, but I don’t speak German.”
– Him: “Still, interested in the challenge?”
– Me: “Yes, let’s go”.
And that’s how, at the end of January 2012, I started to do testing activities for my first customer. Afterwards, I worked on the whole right side of the V-cycle. With that experience, I chose to work on the left side. But that was a bad call! Development is not for me.
So, my manager offered me another challenge: managing a rather ambitious test project in the airbag field. New experience, new revelation, basically a new world opened up for me, project management.
Since then, I have continued to manage more and more ambitious test subjects. Today, I’m working on a new automotive architecture project that concentrates several ECUs in a single central computing unit, with a team of no less than 30 people on the spot.
In 10 years at T&S, what has changed since you started?
When I joined T&S, there was 200 employees. The company was “stuck” in its only office in the center of Strasbourg while almost all the activities were located in Germany. Today, there are more than 20 offices in 8 different countries and about 2000 employees. I got to see the company grow and evolve for a most of its existence.
What is your funniest memory at T&S?
During an afterwork event one summer, the team started to play rugby. Our manager found himself buried under a mass of consultants who were delighted to be able to “join forces against authority”. At the same afterwork, it was also the manager who barbecued for us. I savored the grilled food and the irony of the situation. For once, we were given work to our boss rather than the other way around. Of course, he also really enjoyed these moments and seeing the great spirit within the team.
What drives you on a daily basis?
Plenty of things. I like Lego. When I manage a project, I imagine doing it like building a Lego. You start with an instruction set, the customer requirements. Then you go step by step. You develop and expand, you extend the range, you keep adding bricks. Finally, we place the final pieces of the project. Those last details that will highlight everything that have built. The final vision is what remains engraved in the memory. The reward after the effort.
What is your best memory/your best project within T&S?
A project carried out in 2019. We started with 6 consultants whose missions were to know everything about the client, the project, the tools, etc. They were our “experts”! They were the ones who could help us, the solid base on which to build. Once everyone was sure they could work efficiently in a known environment, we increased the size of the team to 13 and then 16 people. Our starting bricks became the pillars of the structure, they were the link between the collaborators and the customer. Finally, when the client, after having followed us for months, declared that he “wouldn’t come to a meeting because he knew that everything was on track”. Sharing that feeling of acknowledgement with the team and seeing how pride they were to have contributed to the project.