Interview with Fadi Sukkarieh, Junior Project Lead at WebCreek
The construction industry and software development have more in common than we may see at first sight. Raising a building is similar to making a code clean, solid, and understandable enough for an application or program to be useful and beneficial for the end user. This and more is what I learned in my most recent interview with one of the dots that WebCreek connects for the good of the IT and personalized software industry. Over 20 years, the company has converted into one of the leaders of nearshoring strategy. I invite you to meet Fadi Sukkarieh, Junior Project Lead at WebCreek.
Rafa: What made you decide to study civil engineering?
Fadi: Okay, there’s a story behind this. Let’s see, in my family and extended family— between my uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings, and parents— we are more than 10 engineers of all different disciplines. We have civil engineers, mechanical engineers, programmers, electrical engineers, biomedical engineers— anyway, all kinds. And my dad is a civil engineer and senior project manager. So, when I was young, he taught me a lot. He used to tell me details about the projects he was working on, and he taught me some things about how to administrate and plan. So, I guess that this is what determined my choice to study civil engineering.
Rafa: So, basically, it’s like a family business, right?
Fadi: For sure, exactly. (Laughs)
Rafa: What was your experience like building houses in Edmonton, Canada. What did you decide to work there?
Fadi: Edmonton is very similar to the rest of Canada; it’s a growing city, and there is a lot of construction, specifically in housing. Edmonton has a center area with enormous buildings, and there are residential zones in the suburbs. So, there’s a lot of real estate there. Specifically in construction, I specialized in concrete and landscaping. It was fun because I worked in practically the whole city. I had to see areas and neighborhoods before we constructed, and it was really interesting to then see the change. But really, why did I choose to work there? Well, because there was infinite work. And it was stimulating to me— to be building homes.
Rafa: Let’s see, something has occured to me: Is building houses in any way similar to software development?
Fadi: In a way, all projects are similar. They may have differences in the details, but all projects must have a plan for how they are done. You have the responsibility of knowing costs; and then when you carry out the projects, you have to be able to administer it and take into account any changes. No matter what the project is about— whether it’s building a house, mapping highways, or designing software— yes, in this sense they are related. You have to take charge of the unforeseen turns.
Rafa: Okay, the next question is related to this. How do you apply your knowledge of construction in the energy sector to the digital solutions you create with WebCreek?
Fadi: Yes, it’s somewhat similar to what we’ve already mentioned, but in this particular case it has to do with the final user’s needs— even more if we’re talking about personalized software. In my case, in the energy sector, I’ve also been the user of many of these programs. I know many of our future clients’ mentality.
Like I told you, many changes occur during a construction project. You can spend a lot of time planning and budgeting, but when you start, everything changes. So I learned in construction to manage administrative changes across diverse areas: in contracts, agendas, and budgets. I think that this has helped me in software development.
Rafa: What is your main focus when you administer a project related to the oil and gas industry?
Fadi: I notice that most of my attention is directed to estimating costs and programming the calendar. In the construction industry, your professional title doesn’t guarantee that this is the only task you’ll do, you know? I filled a number of roles during my career: making estimates, field engineer, coordination, planning control, budgeting and investment, and also supervising in various areas. I concentrated on budgeting, contracts, and planning. I also maintained client communication, and have a lot of experience in that area.
Rafa: That makes me think, how many people do you coordinate in a normal project?
Fadi: It depends on the size of the project. One of the first projects that I managed was small— something like $12 million. Over the course of the year, it was a small team of 80 or 90 people. The next one I had was part of a team of around 2,700 people. It was a bigger project dealing with a hydroelectric plant in Canada. We’re talking about an investment of 8-point-something billion dollars. So, yes… bigger.
Rafa: Okay, now I’ve got the idea. Let’s see, can you tell me a little more about the focus called, “Work Structure Breakdown”?
Fadi: Knows as the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) focus, it’s basically a way to simplify a complex work structure into thousands of small pieces. It allows you to plan in hopes of better results. The focus divides projects into areas that are easy to manage: we put immediate tasks on the first level, for example, the first floor of a building. Then, you put the second floor, which would be the next step in the project. And you continue like this until placing all the levels and arriving at the final product. You have specific tasks to solve until you get everything done. This is very valuable when you have a set amount of time to complete a project. It makes it easier. It allows you to see the exact moment that you make a change, and how that will influence the whole project. It also shows which areas will be affected, in order to identify how you can easily resolve it.
Rafa: Thanks. Very good. Now, in your opinion, how can Primavera P6 help the routine tasks you do at WebCreek?
Fadi: Let’s see, P6 is basically a tool. It’s like Excel, or Word, or PowerPoint, and what it does is help you plan. So, I’m not sure; P6 helps with complex construction jobs. I wouldn’t say that it’s something used at WebCreek. But in project terminology and planning, I’d say that you could use P6 to give the plan a good presentation.
Rafa: Okay. Changing topics slightly: what do you believe, or what would you say, is the most useful tool that you use for your work here in WebCreek?
Fadi: I love Excel. It’s something that you can use in many diverse areas; you can manipulate Excel for many different projects. It helps you a lot in managing budgets.
Rafa: It seems like you’re a physical guy. What is your favorite sport and how does it relate to your professional activities?
Fadi: (Laughs) Well, I used to be a physical guy. That profile picture is from a few years ago, and I’ve gained a few pounds since then. But I try to go to the gym a few hours each day. horas al día. Let’s say that my favorite sport is soccer, but I don’t practice. I enjoy it on TV from time to time. I used to like hockey when I was in Canada; I would watch some games but it didn’t interest me any further than that.
Rafa: And what soccer league do you like? The European?
Fadi: I’m a fan of Barcelona.
Rafa: Aaaahhh, how great. And what a surprise.
Fadi: Yes, I know. I haven’t followed them closely for years and years, because I’ve been busy working. (Laughs)
Rafa: Very good. Finally, share with our readers some of the projects that you are currently involved with at WebCreek.
Fadi: Okay. I’m currently assigned to two projects. One of them is related to registering activities, and serves to coordinate inspections in various industries. It generates reports that inspectors should follow. The other is a fulfillment software for the construction industry. We’re rewriting what is related to these conventions, in a way that the work plan can align with the job done and what is being monitored. I’m doing both projects with Yulia Payul, who is a project leader. She has an incredible attention to detail, and has been with WebCreek for a few years. She has taught me things and has lead me on projects. Although each company has different processes, I think that she knows really well what WebCreek needs.
Rafa: Very good. Those are all the questions that I had prepared, but I have one extra question: What do you think about the Nearshoring model, and the possibility of working with remote, multicultural clients and teams, but in the same time zone?
Fadi: Well, this idea surprises me. I don’t know how long it’s been around compared to offshoring, and how many businesses have adopted it in the United States. But Nearshoring seems like a spot-on strategy, since it is very economical, at the same time that you have a balance of diverse talents. You also don’t have to worry about your colleagues across the world sleeping while you are working. So I think that it’s a fantastic form to give services in the IT industry.
That’s how I ended my interview with Fadi, who also stands out as one of the best members of this that shows us that closeness isn’t in geographical limits nor in time zones, but rather, in the good will to carry a project forward and create digital solutions. These solutions cover continuously larger areas, which WebCreek, leader of the nearshoring strategy, designs, creates, and innovates.