Become Electronic Project Manager

Electronic Project Manager

Become Electronic Project Manager

Julien is a project manager. From 2008 to 2012, he was an electronic engineer at ELSYS Design, followed his career in another company, and went back “home” in 2017. After discovering his fascinating career path, you will read his impressions about the changes in ELSYS Design.

ELSYS Design is hiring electronic project managers. The job offers can be found on our jobs board, where it is also possible to submit a spontaneous application

“Level 0 trigger decision unit for the LHCb experiment.”

Are you feeling a bit lost? Me too at the beginning, but Julien clarified. “The LHC is the particle accelerator at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

The LHC has 4 detectors at places where collisions between protons occur. During these collisions, the protons burst into even more elementary materials. Detectors are used to study these elementary particles and their interactions. The objective of the LHCb detector was to understand the difference in behavior between a particle and its antiparticle, a phenomenon discovered in 1964 and called “CP violation”.

During my thesis, I designed and produced an electronic board for the trigger system of the LHCb detector, so that it could then be integrated into CERN on the new LHC. A very operational topic.”

ELSYS Design part 1

“After defending my thesis in 2007, I joined ELSYS Design and I stayed for five years. I completed two long projects in the biomedical and energy fields, then two other shorter ones in aeronautics and transportation, and finally a fixed price project in the railway industry.

I then was attracted by a start-up adventure: former colleagues had founded a company in the field of X-ray spectrometric detectors, and they were looking for a board/FPGA engineer. I also stayed there for five years, before “coming back home.”

ELSYS Design part 2: what has changed and not changed inside the company

“I had kept in touch with ELSYS Design, I learned that the company was looking to strengthen the Grenoble design office in order to continue the ramp-up of the work package activity. So I came back in 2017 as an electronic project manager.

I am going to start with what has not changed in the company: it is still very pleasant to live in! This very nice atmosphere, with a good state of mind, you can work in very good conditions, with people you trust and can count on … it’s just great.

And what has changed is going in the right direction: in the meantime, we have structured ourselves a lot at the methodological level, we now fully control the realization of a fixed price project, from the response to the call for tenders until the delivery. We have taken a noticeable step forward.”

What he likes about being a project manager

“Teamwork, because we don’t do anything alone. The relational side is fundamental, I appreciate being a major player in internal team relations but also in customer relations.

Then, my role as project manager extends a little further upstream as a technical referent: this allows me to intervene at the earliest in architectural choices as well as in the mastery and development of methodologies. I like being able to take this step back.”

Some difficulties

“Communication with customers is not always easy. When everything is going well, it is. But when you are faced with difficulties that have an impact on the planning, it gets complicated.

Besides, as part of a fixed price project, it is also sometimes difficult to remind our interlocutor that in the event of an unforeseen change in the specifications, an amendment to the contract must be made. The work package is a less flexible mode of operation than technical assistance, but in return, we are committed to the results. The work package, therefore, requires to be extremely organized, both internally and on the customer side.

Finally, it is sometimes difficult to get the most out of a person on a project. There is no secret: you have to take the time to know him/her, know how to address him, make sure that he understands the stakes of a project and take responsibility of his tasks. This is a critical point in a work package project.”

Any advice to give to somebody willing to become a project manager?

“It depends on the project management you think of. If it is at ELSYS Design, I would say not to be too much in a hurry, to perfect your skills on several projects, in different fields (medical, railway, etc.) to build a technical background; the idea is to discover the problems on many topics in order to be able to anticipate them once becoming a project manager.

In fact, at ELSYS Design, the project teams are generally small, we do not manage a team of a hundred people. So, we also guide young engineers and must, therefore, be able to explain technical points to them in detail. We don’t just do project management, that’s what makes our job particularly rich.”


ELSYS Design often recruits electronic project managers.
Find out employment opportunities on our jobs board, where it is also possible to submit an unsolicited application.

Many thanks to Julien for his testimonial!