Building Offshore Development Teams in Ukraine
To stay ahead of the game, global business owners are constantly searching for new and innovative ways to maximize their profits and automate production while minimizing expenses. Often the biggest struggle is finding the necessary talent locally.
This is where building an offshore development team can become a clear strategic alternative in terms of cost-effectiveness, availability of IT resources and excellent tech expertise. The current growth of tech talent in Ukraine is one place to start looking. As the CTO of an experienced software development and tech consulting company operating in Ukraine, I know the local IT business from the inside and can advise on the best practices for successful remote collaboration.
Here’s what CTOs need to know about choosing a reliable offshore partner and building scalable development teams in Ukraine.
Ukrainian’s Promising Infrastructure
In 2017, Global Sourcing Association named Ukraine the Offshoring Destination of the Year due to its thriving tech ecosystem and reasonable price-to-quality ratio. Each year, over 36,000 specialists graduate from local universities with degrees in IT-related disciplines. Additionally, regional tech communities regularly launch educational programs in emerging disciplines such as AI, data science, blockchain, IoT and computer science. By 2020, the Ukrainian IT industry is expected to reach $5.7 billion in value.
As of 2016, it encompasses over 1,000 software development companies and 2,000 startups. A number of these startups are on their way to becoming the country’s first unicorns, including Grammarly, Petcube, Gitlab, Jooble, Readdle and our friends at Chanty.
The country has also improved its standing in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking in terms of overall business environment, growth of local business activity, and direct foreign investments. Yet another ranking, the Global Innovation Index, featured Ukraine among its top 50 innovation hubs. No wonder the country has attracted more than 100 global tech giants including Microsoft, IBM, Samsung and Wargaming to set up their R&D centers.
Choose The Right Partner
In determining the software development partner right for your business, evaluate each of the following:
- Market reputation: Look through the company’s social media profiles and client reviews on Glassdoor and Clutch to make sure it has a positive image and a decent track record.
- Technical expertise and portfolio: Examine the tech stack and case studies to determine whether your partner’s expertise matches your project requirements.
- Customer retention strategy: Discover the company’s strategy for maintaining long-lasting relationships with clients and keeping its standards high.
- Business values: Learn about the mission, culture and values of your potential partner to make sure you are on the same wavelength.
- Management structure: Find out if the company has a customer satisfaction or delivery manager and a well-defined strategy for continuous improvement.
- Professionalism: Present your business case to determine whether the company’s management knows the business well and is able to advise on the best practices and team composition for your project.
- Negative experience: Ask the company about their previous negative experiences to better understand their openness, authenticity and ability to deal with any challenges that may arise.
- Educational initiatives: Find out if the company organizes any educational initiatives for its employees such as knowledge-sharing meetups, hackathons, conferences or workshops.
Build High-Performance Development Teams In Ukraine
The first step toward building a well-oiled team in Ukraine is negotiating the recruitment process with your offshore partner. I suggest using the efficient three-step interview scheme we use, which includes an initial interview, a test assignment (should take no longer than four hours) and a technical interview before the final decision.
During interview sessions, make sure the candidate agrees with your company’s values and understands the business domain you operate in. Try to illustrate situations where your candidate should deal with urgent and high-priority requests to see whether he/she would be able to prioritize and react quickly to changing environments.
Ultimately, make sure you hire flexible and tech-savvy people who share your values.
Acquiring Top Talent
The Ukrainian software development market is quite saturated, and the competition for tech talent is high. To win the best candidates, you’ll need to think about unique selling points that might attract a highly skilled developer from Ukraine.
In my experience, Ukrainian developers are more inclined to accept a job offer when they receive an opportunity to deal with challenging tasks, work with a fresh technology stack, earn a competitive salary and have an adequate workload level.
In general, the onboarding process normally takes three to five days. All you need to do is make sure everything is ready for your Ukrainian team to start fresh, from infrastructure setup to outlined responsibilities for the following weeks. Describe your vision and end goals to ensure you and your team are on the same page when it comes to project requirements and workflow culture. Set KPIs for your team during the trial period to measure their performance and maintain a sustainable workflow.
Retention and Stability
A key element of managing offshore teams is maintaining a sense of integrity. Arrange regular meetings and annual business trips to stay in tune with your offshore developers. Ask for their opinion on product development, and get them involved in the decision-making process. Make them feel like an integral part of your company’s success.
How can you guarantee that your remote development team keeps their standards high? Effective and coherent communication is the solution. Regular scrum ceremonies and occasional on-site trips will help you develop a clear vision of what has been done, generate new ideas and plan action points for further enhancement.
To facilitate the interaction with your team, use a minimal number of software metrics and separate tools for task tracking, communication, video conferencing and continuous integration.
With the right partner and execution, building development teams in Ukraine can end up being even more cost-effective and productive than developing software locally. The country has everything it takes to become a global tech powerhouse — strong tech education, an extensive talent pool, open-minded people and a booming tech ecosystem.
Igor Tkach- Forbes Technology Council
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