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From Coding To Leadership. Interview with Ewelina Pruchnicka, Chief Operating Officer at Sigma IT Poland.

Ewelina Pruchnicka, Chief Operating Officer at Sigma IT Poland

Get ready for an exclusive interview with Ewelina Pruchnicka, our colleague who transitioned from programming to project management. In 2023, she achieved the prestigious position of Chief Operating Officer at Sigma IT Poland and celebrates her 20-year journey in the IT industry. Ewelina’s adventurous spirit extends beyond the office—she enjoys bike touring with panniers and campervan travels.

SIGMA IT POLAND: Hi Ewelina, first, I want to congratulate you on your 20th anniversary in IT. That’s a long time in this rapidly changing industry! How did it all begin for you?

Ewelina Pruchnicka: I started as a software engineer, primarily programming in C and C++. Later, I transitioned to Java. Gradually, being an active programmer and a team member, I became interested in project management. At first, I managed smaller projects with teams of 10-20 people. A bit later, the biggest project I have been running had a team of around 120 people from Poland, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and China. Coordinating the work of so many colleagues from different countries was complex but exciting. It was a great collaboration with numerous technical project managers with shared commitment to achieve the project’s goals.

And how long have you worked at Sigma IT Poland? Please tell us about your role and how it has evolved.

I’ve worked here since 2017, almost since the company’s inception in Poland. For about four years, I managed projects and led project teams for our clients. In the meantime, I started to focus on providing project management support across our organization by running project management office. Since January 2023, I have taken on the Chief Operating Officer role and assumed responsibility for IT, office management, and different cross company projects.

Does your programming background help you better understand people working on projects?

Sometimes I joke that it both helps and hinders. Technical background helps me to understand clients’ needs as well as our colleagues in delivery teams, their challenges, and what can make their work easier. As far as programming goes, I know a lot “inside out” because I have performed those tasks myself. On the other hand, it is sometimes tempting to go into too many details…

If we asked your colleagues at work, how would they describe you?

Recently, I heard from my colleagues that I am the most organized person they know. It’s exaggerated but probably contains a grain of truth. I can grasp different threads, connect them into a coherent picture, determine the path to achieve a goal and organize the execution of that task. And it is satisfying!

You’ve been with the company from the very beginning. What made you stay in one place for so long?

Our company is fortunate to employ great people who do exciting things and have valuable experiences. There is much to learn from them – their approaches to various matters and specific solutions. Working in such a team makes you want to be here. Additionally, the company offers many opportunities for growth, role changes, and learning.

What interests you the most in your current position as Chief Operating Officer?

It’s the challenges – exciting new projects for the company. I must make complex decisions and step out of my comfort zone. Managing an organization entangles uncertainty and changes that we need to address. It’s a good learning experience and an opportunity for personal growth.

How do you spend your spare time? I remember you mentioned your love for bicycles during one of our meetings. Please tell us a bit about that.

Of course! Cycling is an excellent form of recreation for me. However, it’s not just regular cycling. I love bike touring with panniers, which means traveling with my home on the bike rack. All my gear, such as a tent, cooking equipment, and clothes, fits into two panniers. It’s a way of traveling with minimal costs and maximum freedom. My husband and I adore exploring new places in this way. We’ve cycled around Poland, traveling from Wrocław to Giżycko via Świnoujście and Hel and then from Przemyśl to Giżycko through the eastern part of the country. And we have also made a remaining route from Wrocław to Przemyśl. It was an incredible adventure as we circled Poland in three stages. It’s certainly something that not everyone would expect from me.

That sounds truly exciting! Besides cycling, do you have any other passions?

Absolutely! In addition to our bike trips, my husband and I built our campervan. We converted a small van into a sleeping version in 2019, and now we often travel with this vehicle. I often joke that I spend more nights in the car than in bed during our vacations. We love going to different places, exploring nature, and using the campervan as our mobile home. Currently, cycling, and campervan travel are two essential passions that bring me immense satisfaction and joy, whether working or taking a break.

That’s truly inspiring! Thank you, Ewelina, for sharing these fascinating experiences.