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Employer Branding
09.03.2023 | 4 min

ExtraORDERnary Paweł Zieliński

Skilled programmers who thrive as leaders and organizers are a rare breed. Luckily, we have one of them at our side. As one of the co-founders, Paweł explains his unique role in the development of Order Group and shares his views on the company’s values and motivations.

ExtraORDERnary Paweł Zieliński - 2023 15
Table of Contents
  • From student council to the company board
  • The blessing of limited corporate experience
  • Finding the best position to succeed for everyone
  • Zero-guilt policy
  • OG Shots by Paweł

From student council to the company board

A developer moving to management after a few years of experience is a pretty common scenario. That’s how many c-level positions in the industry are filled, and that’s the natural order of things. Compared to it, Paweł’s origin story is pretty fascinating.

Before working in software development, he already had significant experience as an organizer, dating back to his high school days.

The student council at XIV Staszica High School in Warsaw that I attended has always been a pretty serious organ. We had a lot to say regarding many aspects of school life. Looking at it now, it was a wonderful experience that showed me what a group of people is capable of if they work together well. Still, it was all fun, more or less.

Then, it went to a completely different level at the Warsaw University of Technology. As a council, we organized the yearly student carnival, for which we got a budget of over $300K. What’s more, we had to manage it all from the ground up, including all the logistics, finances, technicalities, and arts. Most importantly, that’s how I met other co-founders, Karol and Filip, who were also on the team of organizers.

At the same time, our work on the council directly translated into getting our first commercial client, and the rest is history.

The blessing of limited corporate experience

When Order Group was started, none of the co-founders had extensive experience working for larger companies. After 10 years and hundreds of projects delivered, Paweł considers it more a blessing than a curse.

Before we decided to start the company together, I worked for about a year in IBM. Other guys also didn’t have too much corporate experience. Of course, that resulted in some issues, and maybe once or twice, it led us to the “inventing the wheel” scenario. In the end, though, I think it helped us avoid many mistakes and find a unique way that worked for our team.

One of the most significant parts of that success was the culture of caring and sharing in the community of polish software houses. Many of them were started just like ours, we had similar problems, and we would often help each other find the best ways to solve them.

The other crucial part was that there were five of us from the very beginning. We had the same goals, and the team spirit was there right from the get-go.

Finding the best position to succeed for everyone

The challenge of finding the best and most comfortable role for everyone in OG was always the top priority. Due to a unique set of skills, Paweł’s part is quite difficult to describe in a few words. Here’s how he describes his role and the OG’s view on the subject of positions in general.

In the beginning, it’s fair to say that we didn’t clearly defined roles. Everyone was doing everything to move the project forward. At the time, I think my ratio was about 60% for software development and 40% for acquiring clients and management. However, year by year, my involvement in the actual programming was getting lower and lower. I was getting more into the operational side of the business, such as financial and analytics, which somewhere on the way got me a badge called - Maharaja of Excel ;)

It became clear that it was the best spot for me, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do for everyone who joins our team. For example, some of the developers become team leaders and utilize more of their soft skills that way.

Zero-guilt policy

A company is not a non-profit organization. It must earn and grow. However, the team firmly believes there’s a way to do it on its own terms. Paweł minces no words in this one:

Order Group was always a company founded by a group of friends that started working together. We want to keep that vibe, so one of our priorities was always to stay true to who we are and be fair to each other and everyone we work with or for. We must feel good about what we’re doing, which means working in a healthy way and environment.

Of course, that also means working on exciting and meaningful projects. We want to be challenged and work on things that we believe in. That’s why, for example, so many of our recent projects are linked to renewable energy sources. Being a part of such projects makes us proud and motivates us to be the best at what we do.

Then, there’s a purely human aspect. After a good work day, we want to be proud of what we did and feel good during that time. We want to work with people that share a similar view on life and work. It makes the entire journey a fun and interesting experience.

OG Shots by Paweł

Favourite series → Narcos

Favourite band → RHCP

Android or iOS → iOS

Windows, Mac, or Linux → Mac

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