My name is Jildo Sterk and I am Senior Project Manager at Devoteam Netherlands. But let's start at the beginning first! I studied IT Graphic Design at the Noordelijke Hogeschool Leeuwarden, Friesland. After my studies, my goal was to work in the creative industry, preferably at an advertising agency. However, there weren’t many of them in Friesland, so I decided to start as a help desk employee at UPC (nowadays Ziggo) in Friesland.
Starting off at UPC in Friesland
At a certain point, I ended up at the UPC head office in Amsterdam where I worked for 13 years in a number of different positions. In the evenings, I put my energy into becoming a Master in Business Informatics. In the last few years there, I built up my own department called the “Test Center for Excellence”. We started with 12 people and grew to 60 just before I finally handed over the baton to someone else.
From Liberty Global to Process Insight startup
In my final year at Liberty Global (the parent company of UPC / Ziggo), I led a team of business analysts who, on behalf of one of the members of the board of directors, looked at how efficient Liberty Global did its job and where improvements could be made. After 13 years at UPC / Liberty Global, I wanted to take up a commercial role and started as a partner in a startup for “Real-Time Process Insights”.
We had developed a platform with which companies could measure their process efficiency by loading operational data. The system itself automatically indicated points for improvement. We quickly received attention from large companies, which led to the implementation of our solution at companies such as DELL, IBM, & Liberty Global. To be part of a startup was fun, but also very uncertain and hectic. So after a year, it was time to move on with my career.
Making my dream come true
Then it was finally time to make my childhood dream, to work at an advertising agency, come true. I was hired by an advertising agency as an operational director. During that time I worked incredibly hard, but I also had a lot of fun. We won over customers such as Nike, Armada Music (the music label of Armin van Buuren), various festival organizers and Dutch vacancy platform “de Nationale Vacaturebank”, and creating very creative campaigns that hit their target audiences. But I experienced that creative people are very different from IT people. And I found out that I was more of an IT person.
Joining Devoteam as a Senior Project Manager
Exactly when I kind of found that out, I was approached by Ratko Popovski, my former colleague at Liberty Global and current Director of IT Strategy at Devoteam NL. He proposed me to work at Devoteam. That was a good match, after which I was immediately hired as a Senior Project Manager. In my current role, I involve in pre-sales processes among other things, together with the sales team.
Additionally, I lead a product implementation at a healthcare organization that fully develops its own “Electronic Client Dossier” in the cloud. We do this with a multidisciplinary team of business analysts, designers/front-end developers, software architects, integration architects, and full-stack developers, both in the Netherlands and abroad. Working with all these different disciplines and highly skilled people is what makes working at Devoteam so exciting for me.
What does an average working day look like for you?
First of all, there is no average working day – every day is different. I often do several projects at the same time, so I have to divide my time well and focus on what’s important at that moment. One day I sit at the client’s office and the next day I might be working at the Devoteam office. I regularly work with the Serbian Experience Center so I also go to Serbia a few times a year.
My day usually starts between 8 and half past 8. I take an hour to do administration. This is the moment of the day that I am the sharpest and not too distracted.At a quarter past 9 to 10, we usually have daily standups about the status of projects. Engineers and team members indicate what they encounter and what they will do that day. This is often followed by meetings with clients, or colleagues, to do risk analyses, make financial planning reports or work on presentation decks for potential clients. The task of a project manager is to keep track of the project’s progress and to remove potential obstacles so that the team can work as efficiently as possible and the client gets what he has requested on time with the highest possible quality.
Next to my job: hobbies and activities
I cycle three to four times a week, and every Sunday is swimming day. I like to go out for dinner with my friends and my wife. With a group of friends, we have a kind of piggy bank in which we put 25 euros per person per month. And then we go out for dinner every X months in a very expensive restaurant where we say “Yes” to all the food that’s offered. I particularly love Asian food and can cook pretty well, according to my own opinion.Confession: I’m a bit of a foodie
My home is just like a Toko shop, with fresh and dried herbs. 9 out of 10 herbs that I have at home are not used by most people (Galanga Root, to give an example). My favorite dish is the Cambodian Fish Amok. I got this dish somewhere in a village in Cambodia and I liked it so much that I asked the cook for the recipe. The cook was so honored that I was allowed to come into the kitchen with him to see how he made it. He showed me all sorts of things but due to our language barrier, I had no idea what he meant. I took a lot of photos so that when I returned home, I could Google which ingredients he used. I succeeded.
The value “TechforPeople” in my current project
My biggest project currently is for the healthcare organization; we use technology to ensure that care providers can work as efficiently as possible. So that they can spend time on actual healthcare implementation. If something is technical but it is not workable, it still does not add the value that you need. You have to use technology to automate repetitive tasks or to provide people with more insight and bring them together to work together, regardless of them being on-site or not.#TechforPeople: Proactively detecting dog-bite incidents
We recently developed an app for the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Safety that helps municipalities and the police to proactively detect potentially dangerous dogs through records of bite incidents in the past. Our solution enables the local police to intervene faster and in some cases even prevent new dog-bite incidents. In short, a perfect example of “TechforPeople“.
What I am most proud of
What I am most proud of is the fact that, together with the healthcare organization, we have been certified in ISO9001 & NEN7510 since last year, barely a year after the start of the development. ISO9001 & NEN7510 are quality standards in the field of information & security, and process quality, which is made mandatory to obtain for healthcare providers
My advice to new colleagues at Devoteam would be:
Be curious, engage other people. We are all intelligent and enthusiastic people with broad interests, both in tech and non-tech. Work together to form communities within the organization and come up with new ideas. These kinds of new ideas can often lead to new successes (new products and services).