podcast: four decades of innovation and challenges

podcast: four decades of innovation and challenges

In deze podcast duiken we in de intrigerende wereld van verandermanagement

In our latest podcast episode, we had the honor of speaking with Dirk, an IT veteran with more than 40 years of experience. Dirk has had an impressive career, including the last seven years at M2Q. His dedication to quality software and ability to manage complex projects make him a true inspiration. In this blog post, we share some highlights and insights from his career.

>> Listen to our podcast on “Four decades of innovation and challenges” <<

An accidental start in IT

Dirk’s entrance into the IT world was anything but planned. After a high school science education, he initially had no idea what direction he wanted to take. He began studying agronomy, but soon discovered that this was not his calling. A friend of his father’s suggested IT, and although the purely mathematical approach at university did not appeal to him, he found his niche in a professional bachelor’s degree in computer science. This decision proved to be a turning point in his life, and so he began a career that would eventually span four decades.

Highlights and milestones

During our conversation, I asked Dirk about the three biggest highlights of his career. Although it was difficult to choose, he named three impressive accomplishments:

  1. Global CRM rollout in the pharmaceutical sector:
    Dirk led a team of 30 people in the development and global rollout of a CRM system used in 140 countries by approximately 17,000 users. This project was a huge achievement, not only because of its size, but also because it was realized cost-effectively.
  2. Migration of online banking at Deutsche Bank:
    At Deutsche Bank, Dirk was responsible for the migration of online banking from Belgium to Germany. This project was two years behind schedule, but under his leadership it was successfully completed within four months. Dirk emphasized the importance of crisis management and focusing on the essential elements to overcome such challenges.
  3. Career without a college degree:
    A personal highlight for Dirk is his successful career, despite lacking a college degree. This shows that perseverance and practical experience can be at least as valuable as formal qualifications.

Challenges and lessons

One of Dirk’s biggest challenges was implementing a new IT operating model at a company with 1,500 employees worldwide. Even though this new model made his own position obsolete, Dirk saw it as an opportunity to learn valuable new skills. This experience underscores the importance of being flexible and proactive in your career.

Dirk also shared his insights on the need for good communication between business and IT. He emphasized that technical concepts must be explained in understandable language for effective collaboration. This ability to build bridges between different departments was crucial in his success.

Trends and changes in the industry

During his long career, Dirk has observed numerous trends and changes in the IT industry. He saw the transition from third- to fourth-generation programming languages and the rise of object-oriented programming. Many colleagues could not keep up with these changes, which ultimately hindered their careers.

In addition, Dirk has witnessed the introduction of Agile methodologies. While he does not advocate dogmatic Agile working, he sees its value when applied correctly. However, he emphasizes that many organizations use Agile as a panacea without actually addressing the underlying problems.

Advice for future generations

Dirk has a wealth of experience and he was happy to share his advice for future generations of IT professionals. He stresses the importance of continuous learning and investing in your own development, both through formal training and by building a strong professional network. Opportunities must be created and seized by yourself, not waiting for them to come to you.

Furthermore, Dirk emphasizes the importance of leadership. Good leaders should be able to make their team excel and should not be afraid of employees who know more than themselves. Recognizing and leveraging the strengths of your team members is critical to success.

Looking ahead to retirement

Now that Dirk is retiring, he is looking forward to a more relaxed life. He plans to bike more, hike, and pick up old hobbies like reading and modeling. In addition, he is considering volunteering, but with no obligations. The most important thing for Dirk is to enjoy his free time and his health.

Dirk’s story is an inspiration to everyone in the IT industry. His insights and experiences offer valuable lessons for both new and experienced professionals. We thank Dirk very much for sharing his story and wish him a great retirement.

>> Listen to our podcast on “Four decades of innovation and challenges” <<

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