Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions




Evgeny Kalabin "Take a look, and you will see: there is a whole Universe around you"


On March 15, 2004, Evgeny Kalabin, a graduate student who had just returned from being a postdoc in Korea, got a job at a small company with 37 employees.
Over the years, Evgeny has come from a software engineer to People Unit Lead in Chapter Facilitator, has worked in a variety of projects and played a variety of roles. We spoke with him to learn more about his 17-year history in T.

About career path

I built my career in an academic environment: I studied in graduate school in modeling and discrete mathematics, was a postdoc in Korea. But after my return fr om Korea, I decided not to continue teaching at the university and to go into business.

Our company just launched a new direction: our German colleagues had completely new technologies - BMC Remedy ARS, but they did not understand what kind of people to hire, because no one in Russia knew how to work with these technologies yet.

Several years later, all specialists who could work with ARS were initially trained by us. These projects are still developing!

I spent only two years in the role of a programmer, then I became a project manager. And then a new direction in programming came along – it was software testing. Imagine, only in 2009 did people discovered that to test programs we need special people!

2005 year. Find familiar faces!

Testing has been developing very actively in the company and in my project. We hired testers and it was a lot of fun to work with them! At the same time, we began to think of how to set a team of testers and developers common goals, to unite them for the sake of quality of the product.

After seven years  in one project, I began to break out of it: it was cool there, I had different roles, but I wanted something new. So I started working on a project with Austrians, and we used Agile. I am grateful to them for what they said: "We hired you, and now you have to say how we will work."

Then there were a couple of tough projects on the transition fr om Germany to Russia, wh ere I greatly improved my skills. People were fighting for jobs, and I had to say: "Sorry guys, it's nothing personal, but now you have to train new specialists and give them your project away."

We were growing and realized that PM can no longer be responsible for everything, and then PMO and Program Manager appeared - a person who is responsible for several projects. I took this step and became the head of the direction.


And at this time, a turning point occurred: the Petersburg climate was extremely unsuitable for my family. I went to my manager, Pavel Strokan, to talk about what I should do: the program manager is an administrative position associated with a huge amount of paperwork that I would not physically be able to do in another city. I almost wanted to quit, but Pasha told me: “Don't worry, we will find what to do for you even without paperwork” and he suggested changing the role. So I began to engage in cross-project activities: I followed the development of projects, consulted, helped - it was fun! And then total Agile came, and other entertainments began.


Now in Telecom we are moving fr om a linear structure to a matrix organization, and I moved to the People Unit Lead position Chapter Facilitator. From April 1st, I start working in this role.

About the community

I have always enjoyed learning myself, and I strove to make people around me do the same. My colleagues and I tried to launch

something many times, and that’s how the Agile Academy appeared. We set ourselves challenges: for example, to get a PMP certificate, and we prepared and passed it together. Also we launched the PM Academy and founded the PM club, wh ere we gathered in an informal atmosphere discussed work, gossiped ... PM Academy is no longer there, since in Telecom, due to Agile transformation, there is no longer such a role as PM. But we have the cozy SPC community to join, wh ere you can talk to someone like-minded.

About languages

My main working language is English. I studied in English, and at work I use it most of the time and I feel quite comfortable.

But when I went to my first business trip and while I was on the plane, my German colleagues decided to transfer me fr om one project to another, to one in which not a single person spoke English - and I did not speak German. As a result, for 4 weeks I had been working with a Russian-German dictionary and communicated with colleagues practically on my fingers - there were no online translators or smartphones. After this business trip, I started learning German! After all these years, I understand everything, but I can only say something after drinking some beer 

How not to get bored

17 years is like a whole life. Every year - new challenges, new roles. Of course, there were several moments when I felt that I was stagnant and needed to change something. But every time I found something new and interesting for myself.

People have different career paths. Someone gets a new position by changing the company, because sometimes it's easier that way. It was always comfortable for me to work in our company: we have a real inner culture, and we develop together with it. Despite the fact that now there are a lot of us - more than two thousand people! - I still feel this homelike atmosphere. I know that no matter what department I go to, there will be people who can help and support me.

At the same time, I constantly regret that there are only 24 hours in a day: we have so many challenges, so many projects and initiatives, communities wh ere you can do something useful and interesting.

If you get bored and realize that there is no fire, that you are losing motivation, do not focus only on your project. Take a look: the whole universe is around you!