VAIVA GmbH - Safe Mobility


In a DeLorean between nanoradar and the customer – Viktor in portrait

Theresa Ley,

Experiencing how customers perceive functions is important for project manager Viktor: When he gets into the car, he transforms into a customer. When he sits in front of the laptop or in a meeting, he becomes a negotiator between the project team and the customer. Not an easy job, but an activity that is so much fun that it feels like a hobby for Viktor. About a young man who has no golden thread running through his CV, but a straightforwardness that leads him to his goals.

He looks edgy, yet elegant. Kind of rough, but still stylish. Clean lines define and shape him. He is flat, crouching on the asphalt, ready to sprint. He seems like a mixture between a bizarre flying machine and a weirdo with tires. Marty and Doc Brown experience what he is capable of when the gullwing doors open upwards – the DeLorean DMC-12 effortlessly transports the two protagonists of “Back to the Future” to another time. For Viktor, project manager for the “Nanoradar” project at VAIVA, cars are not time machines, but vehicles that transport him to the customer in the blink of an eye. When he sits in a car, his focus is immediately on the functions: he wants to understand what the customer experiences when he uses the lane departure warning system in his new Seat Leon on the motorway in rush hour traffic. He wants to see at what moment the small orange LED light of the lane departure warning system lights up, when it goes out.

No, it’s not the leather seats of the DeLorean that Viktor sits on now. The project manager finds himself on a seat in VAIVA’s workshop room, which seems as if it cannot decide to be an uncomfortable chair or wobbly standing aid. The only similarity between the cult car and the new VAIVA workshop room is the matt grey car paint of the Hollywood star and the ordinarily grey of the carpet. Why is the customer’s view so important for the project manager? Viktor explains: He sees his role as a bit of a negotiator between the project team and the customer – he needs to know both perspectives. “For this, it is important to sit in the vehicle a lot – we don’t just do desk development. It’s about understanding how the customer experiences a car journey and, above all, a function,” explains the young man, who was born in Kazakhstan and has lived in Ingolstadt since he was nine years old. His fascination for functions in vehicles has “grown” with his professional stations.

The 39-year-old has also grown with his career path and all the challenges he has encountered. On his first day at work, Viktor was not standing in front of the doors of a software company, but in front of the halls of a car dealer who mainly sold Renaults. “Actually, I always wanted to be a car mechanic,” explains the dark-haired colleague. However, Viktor decided to become a warehouse logistics specialist. In the end, with a hint of fate – or his brother-in-law – Viktor ended up in the testing sector at an engineering service provider after his apprenticeship at the car dealer, in the middle of the real estate crisis. “It was a bit like moving from the Kreisliga to the Bundesliga,” Viktor laughs. A particularly important step in his career for him before his time at VAIVA was testing features. “When I was on the testing ground for the first time and we looked at certain functions, I was asked how the function looks to me. My short answer: ‘Yes, looks good.'” Since then, Viktor has intensively familiarized himself with  functions in order to be able to give more detailed answers. Above all, however, the omnipresent question “How does the customer experience the function?” has become a second nature to him.

“Looking back, I wouldn’t do anything differently,” Viktor explains. There seems to be a period behind every word. In the large workshop room there is otherwise silence. Viktor’s softly spoken words appear intensively. Every professional station created valuable experience that he can use today as a project manager: testing, evaluating functions from the customer’s point of view, function development, working with SEAT or Audi, his first steps as a sub-project manager. And always within sight of VAIVA. He would have had the opportunity to switch to VAIVA years ago – but he didn’t want to. Viktor wants to complete his tasks – and do it really well – before he takes on new challenges. VAIVA had to wait a little longer. Viktor sits in the middle of the workshop room and talks about his professional life. He wears grey sneakers, a dark VAIVA sweater. His glasses emphasize clear lines, have an angular frame. You won’t find a golden thread running through Viktor’s CV. But his straightforwardness is nevertheless reflected in his career: He is tough and has drive – which he must be and have both as someone who just changed the direction of his career and also in private life, for example when he runs a half marathon again. Viktor appears straightforward and confident in his entire way – although and perhaps precisely because Viktor is rather a quiet, reserved person, he fills the large workshop room with presence. He doesn’t have to wear flashy clothes or crack loud jokes. Viktor knows exactly where he wants to go, has principles, ideas and many requirements that he sets himself: “Ideally, project managers should not be so deeply involved in the technical projects,” he explains. But knowledge is too valuable to simply not use any of it.  “How do you pursue a hobby? With a lot of interest and joy. And that’s exactly how I want to do my job. I follow my career path in such a way that I can continue to look left and right – so that I can also take a look at our technologies. Of course, this sometimes leads to a stressful time, but otherwise it gets too boring,” Viktor explains. “I always want to keep up with the technology” – whether in technology of the DeLorean “customer machine” or when talking to the project team about the latest VAIVA product.

by Céline