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My Day: Growing in Gdansk

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Guest blogger: Joanna from Intel’s Internal Employee Communications Team in EMEA

Photo credit: Sebastian from Intel’s Internal Employee Communications Team in EMEA

Jacek has watched Intel’s R&D site in Gdańsk, Poland, grow right before his eyes. Compared with other Intel sites worldwide, Intel Poland has in the past been relatively little-known. But with almost 1,000 employees, Poland is now one of the biggest Intel sites in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region.

As the leader of PC Client Services Engineering organization, Jacek’s job is to help build a stronger team by encouraging cross-site collaboration and knowledge sharing, and developing the people who work for him.

We followed Jacek for a day in his life in Gdańsk, shortly before he decided that he and his family will relocate to Folsom, where Jacek will join the IDGz Chipset and SoC Strategic Planning group.


8:10 a.m.—Jacek is up at 6:45 a.m, and at work 90 minutes later. This week, his team moved to the new “green” building in Gdańsk which features freshly painted offices, conference rooms and state- of-the-art labs.


8:20 a.m.—Time to go through emails on his new PC, a Toshiba Ultrabook. The site sponsor for the Gdansk Great Place to Work team, Jacek is a sought-after trainer and coach; he also coordinates and leads site level initiatives like Business Update Meetings and senior leader visits. He gets many emails on these subjects as well as those that related to his day job.


8:50 a.m.—Jacek shares his plans for a busy day with his administrative assistant.


9:00 a.m.—Jacek meets with the Engineers in a new lab. The labs in Gdańsk host development systems, computation intensive work, and test infrastructure.

This lab is not fully functioning yet, and the four discuss the issues that may arise if the rest of team’s equipment is not moved into the lab within two days. However, Jacek is pleased that it took only two days instead of four to move, reconfigure, and make dozens of high compute servers and 120 test platforms fully operational.


9:35 a.m.—Jacek believes that one key every team’s success is keeping team members motivated and eager to work. When Jacek is delivering employee personal results, he sees it as a chance to share his team’s vision and make sure each employee is aligned to it.


10:30 a.m.—Jacek’s group uses Agile methodology to drive their projects: a daily Scrum. This method enables the team to run software projects in a tight, iterative way. They stay close to customer needs, deliver value rapidly, and adapt quickly to new requirements.

Those who can’t attend in person call in. They discuss success in performance tuning; changing an approach to resolve a bottleneck; a new anti-theft service beta release; and final touches on some McAfee software.


11:30 a.m.—Jacek discuss with other members of the management about the best way to train contingent workers.


12:30 p.m.—Can’t run on an empty stomach: “I like to eat everything, especially in good company,” says Jacek. On the menu in the canteen today: spicy oriental soup, crispy American chicken slices, spaghetti Bolognese, mixed grilled vegetables, and cheesecake. Jacek meets one of the Principal Engineers, who is in charge of the technical leadership pipeline in Poland. They collaborate on a pressing problem: as a remote site, Gdańsk lacks many conventional opportunities to grow people, so they need to be creative to support employees.


1:30 p.m.— Jacek bumps into one of his employees, software application engineer. They talk about different possibilities to improve the automated build infrastructure used in all of the projects of PC Client Division. He is very enthusiastic: “It will be so much faster and will add a flexibility vector for our engineers. They will love it!”


2:00 p.m.— The Great Place To Work team is taking care of the social side of Intel life. Here they are debating about building a new soccer field for Intel Gdańsk employees. Jacek loves sports. He shares his ideas on organizing a competition with prizes for local Intel soccer teams. Jacek also manages large-scale volunteering programs and since Intel invests a lot of effort in protecting the environment, the GPTW team plans to have volunteers clean up some nearby forestland.


2:55 p.m.—Because the Gdańsk campus is growing, employees move among three buildings. How does he shift gears between very different kinds of meetings? “The thing I use to reset myself is picturing my wife when she is smiling. It’s amazing how fast you can reach a positive state of mind when doing that–it’s a very powerful technique.”


3:00 p.m.—Apart from his strong presentation and storytelling skills, Jacek also shares his knowledge and experience with others as a certified transition coach and trainer for “Strengthening Managers Skills.” This means he is helping new managers to transit from individual contributor to manager. He meets regularly with one of the employees, a Visual and Parallel Computing Group (VCG) software engineer, to go through his Transitional Coach program.


4:30 p.m.—Jacek leaves work, heading home to his family. Thursday is the only day when he manages to take off early. Jacek moves some of his meetings to a later time and is able to get home by 6-7 p.m. A few years ago, Jacek didn’t have many late meetings so maintaining work/life balance was easier. “Being an employee at a remote site and having a nine-hour time difference with the U.S. does have a price. The more responsible the job, the more you have to fit it to the U.S. working hours,” Jacek comments.

5:30 p.m.—Jacek, his wife Magdalena, and their three kids are big fans of water sports. They love to spend time together and often go swimming in the local pool. This is a great break in a busy day that will soon resume with more meetings.


9:00 p.m.—There are two more meetings before Jacek can finally call it a day. Nora, his loyal German Shepherd, always accompanies him. “No matter what you do, at the end of every day there are still piles of tasks that you haven’t managed to close. The most important thing for me is to check whether I did everything I could to make my family happy and my team successful. Whatever I have achieved at Intel is because of my family: the support I got from my beloved wife and the happiness I experience from taking part in my kids’ lives. With such a great foundation it is easy to put 100% of yourself in the job and succeed.”


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