Anne-Marie Niemeijer: “Every day is a challenge”
“I find it important to be challenged at work every day. Now, this might surprise you, but I wanted to be a pilot once. However, in the end I had serious doubts as to whether it would continue to challenge me. Once you can fly a plane, you can fly a plane, right? As a Product Owner within financial services, I face new challenges every day.” Anne Marie Niemeijer, Senior Manager at ITDS, on what she does at work and the challenges she faces.
A technically minded woman in a man’s world
“I am a woman working in what is essentially a man’s world. The scrum teams I work with, for example, comprise mainly men. As Product Owner Online Services, I currently head a development team, but for me being at the helm – as a women – always works well. It helps, of course, that I am substantively strong in both IT and business. I manage my team in my own way, with good results and deriving pleasure both being very important to me. My motto in this respect is ‘together we’ll just get it done’. My main focus is having a common objective, which must be modest and achievable and scrum methodology is ideal for this. Achieving objectives and celebrating successes create a bond in a team, which helps us all to continue striving to do more.”
Senior manager at ITDS
“In addition to the assignments carried out for our clients, I am also a senior manager at ITDS, heading a unit of more than 20 ITDS employees and assisted by five intermediate line managers. Within this unit, my responsibilities include the deployment of consultants, the headcount and the turnover. The most important thing for me though is the development of my consultants. I really want us to stand as one team. As a manager it’s crucial that you know what is going on with your consultants. I keep up to speed by talking to them personally and with their clients and colleagues. The way I see it, the best way to facilitate a person’s development is to use his or her strengths to the full. People derive energy from doing things well. The trick is to exploit someone’s strengths and thereby improve any possible weaknesses. For example, if someone lacks confidence in his or her presentation skills, it’s best to let them give a presentation, but only about something they know a lot about. What you then see is that presenting becomes easier for them. I get so much energy from seeing the people in my team developing themselves.”
“I am also energised when my scrum team reaches a milestone in a project. The path to this milestone is often stressful, but as far as I’m concerned the more stress, the better I like it. Arriving at the point in a project where something has worked out gives me both energy and satisfaction. Every day, I still find the challenge that I crave in the sector in which I work. We can be honest about the fact that the financial services sector lags behind somewhat in the area of digitisation. But the insurance world is a lot more complex than just buying a book, for example. Insurance is, after all, a difficult product, particularly in this digital world. It’s plain to see that insurers and banks want to catch up, but they don’t always know how to do so in today’s complex IT landscape. Thinking back to when I wanted to become a pilot, I’m glad I didn’t. Doing what I do now, I can be confident that I won’t get bored during the coming years. Anyway, I can always fly when I go on holiday!”