Tanja has been part of the Cologne Avenga team since October 2004. Starting as a developer, she later took over the management of our PS team until she took up the challenge of “setting up sales engineering” in 2014. Tanja has remained true to this area ‘till this very day. Time for a short interview – time for seven questions to our Avenga colleague!
Tanja, you have been with Avenga for quite a long time. Tell us about it.
When I finished my media informatics studies in 2004, there was quite a void in the internet industry. I was very lucky to find a job in Cologne, my desired location. Back then, I started as a developer at Avenga and did a lot of mobile projects. After a while, I took over the team management of some developers – and later the complete developer team in PS Cologne. In 2014, I changed to sales engineering.
As team leader and also as head of our developers, I spent a lot of time at customers’ sites, and at some point, the balancing act between “I’m on the road and advising customers on technical issues” and “I’m on-site and looking after my team of 17 developers” was simply huge. At the same time, with my development glasses on, I was always shouting for technical support for our sales team, as when for instance, I was sitting across from the CTO at a customer meeting. The decision to leave the developer side and help set up the sales engineering was then totally easy for me. I love new challenges. I was often enough at appointments with sales, so I had already done many of the tasks which are part of sales engineering – and I just wanted to do it properly and completely, 100%. It was also a great opportunity for me to develop myself personally.
Sure, in over 13 years you look to the right or left on the job market. But I couldn’t imagine working in a corporation, for example. I feel comfortable in the Avenga world; everything is fine here. I always have new, varying tasks. We have very personal interactions as well as many advantages and benefits. Avenga is simply my second family.
How has Avenga changed over the years – and what has remained the same?
There have always been changes, as in our core business, for example. We have always been very flexible, never rigid. Sure, things change when you grow from 20 employees to over 170. But the mentality is the same: At Avenga Germany, there’s no standstill and everyone knows each other. We have always supported each other in delivering the best solution for our customers – together as a team. This has definitely been one of the constants over the years.
What does your daily routine as a Senior Sales Engineer look like?
There are many appointments and tasks which can be planned and which I have on my agenda. But in sales, particularly, we often have to act spontaneously. Though this makes my job exciting, it also means there is often a change of plans during the day. What is part of everyday life in sales engineering? Topics such as processing RFIs and RFPs, requirement analyses, providing technical input for quotations, technical feasibility studies, project calculations, NDAs, SLAs, … and of course the exchange with colleagues. As a sales engineer, I usually not only support the sales process, but I also accompany the project teams, at the start of the project as well.
What motivates you to go to work on a Monday morning?
The fact that my job is so varied motivates me every day. This is why I still enjoy working here after so many years. And then our sales team motivates me. We often spend the breaks together or we do something together in the evening. It is simply fun working together!
What totally annoys you at work?
Unpunctuality, I don’t like it. Apart from that, if you discuss a topic with someone and three weeks later, they’ve forgotten all about it because maybe it wasn’t that important to them. That’s kind of human, but I don’t like it. Or when someone does their job by the book instead of thinking entrepreneurially. But I must say: I’m quite happy in my team, this doesn’t happen here.
What was the last book you read?
“User Story Mapping” by Jeff Patton. It’s pretty good and I can certainly recommend it. In it, Scrum is not downplayed as a paradigm, but you’re handed good tooling, with which you can get a lot of results from the user’s point of view.
Mountains or the sea?
Oh, that’s hard. I like hiking and skiing. And I love the water, too. Do I really have to choose? Then it’s the mountains.