As a team of techies created their company, season 3 (finally flew!)
Death Valley passed. We have grown an outsourcing team, got cool cases in the portfolio and have come out with a stable profit. I will tell you what we learned from this experience, why it flew, and what tasks we face now.
Our previous articles about the sentimental history of brave techies on free breads, which left comfortable companies, a stable salary, soc. Packages and all sorts of buns looked under 80K times, more than a hundred votes, a few hundred in favorites:
- As a team of techies created his studio. The experience of the first months. Achievements, feil, inference ...
- How a team of techies created their company, season 2 (life in crisis)
Recently, a lot has changed
First of all, we finally confirmed the hypothesis that our technical expertise is needed! We began to contact the company for this, in some tenders it was directly the main criterion. Here we, of course, broke away, this is a game in our field, and we won against top companies in almost every such tender.
What is the most basic conclusion for us: no matter how cool the developers you are, once you become independent, you need to prove your expertise again. It was not easy for us, in the first 3 years we had to do different projects. Somewhere these were mediocre online stores (our achievement is first in the ranking of developers of adult stores), somewhere automation in small business, simple mobile devices for startups ... Budgets were very mundane. A number of sooo hemorrhoids projects, where they crawled out on moral-volitional ones. I look at the stat for those years and only now I realize what it was ... experience)
So somewhere in the third year the percentage of projects in our skills began to grow smoothly.In 2016, banks and large product histories appeared, medium-sized businesses with adequate requests. All this began to grow; just this year, good interesting projects have moved from the category “sometimes it happens” to “we are basically doing this”. Already in 2017 we made only high-tech products, our download was 100% almost the whole year. Very many were refused, many were told right away that we were not taking budgets less than 800K, that the average project was 1.5-4 million. Sales were no longer a problem, there were always more projects than we could digest. We only run into the team.
Honestly, I don’t know if we were lucky or it should have been, but many projects went up sharply. Startups of customers who, even according to our estimates, had little chance of surviving, began to grow seriously and bring profit to customers. One of our clients hit 500 startups (VCV.ai) and rushed through the media. Shot some grocery stories with trending businesses (Dodo Pizza, YouDo). Most likely, even without us everything would have fired, but it is wildly pleasant to be a part of such a move)) we tried to do well, and, I think, did not disappoint. We were advised not only personally, the CEO of Dodo - Fedor Ovchinnikov - wrote about us in his Facebook, and he has a huge audience of subscribers.
Team loading has grown at times. We hired to ourselves, hired to the client in the state, the flow of tasks still only grew and was more than we could reach.
Very often, we now work with the products (Product Owners) of our customers, many now want to leave the product expertise inside and take on the outstaff of those. examination. It is clear why, just in these post-crisis years, it is very difficult to find normal developers, and steep ones - more often than never.
It is a working option was when we strengthen the current tech. team to storm the new release of the product, release of new products. For example, the client has his own competence in the backend, but there are no fronts (a very frequent combination), or there are no competences in mobile phones. It happens that we are included to enhance existing competencies. Well, there are not enough resources, even companies with dozens of developers and a built-in hiring process with hunters. Why, there are some thousands in the state (we will not give names =), and still can’t close all needs at the right time and with the right quality.
In 2017, we have seriously grown, doubled. It is not easy to recruit new children, it is even more difficult to train them to our level, because there are simply no ready-made for our criteria, this is a rare exception to the rules, and the system cannot be made on this. Very seriously puzzled by this question, how to teach, what to teach, and what it means "our level."
At this point, we realized that we need to reorganize and systematize the processes in the team. I came across a book by David Meister “Management of a firm providing professional services” (very credible, I advise). A lot of important things are described there, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, because IT outsourcing in global terms is not much different from the consulting business.
First of all, we introduced a partnership topic. The main idea here is this: the team consists of junior, senior, managing partners. So far we have thrown out such a division, we decided to focus on younger partners, there are only 18 of us, why should we bother so much for now. At first, we just discussed what it means and how we will act, just recently rolled out the mind map, where we analyzed the partner’s criteria in more detail.
So, what is the most important thing in partners, for which we fight:
The main tasks of a partner are employee training. We need to grow the team at least in good specialists, even better in partners, we mark here.
Participate in key, complex projects. Not just to be in some role, but to decide with the team as in the project to give the maximum value (business value) for the minimum time. Such a problem from game theory plus the Pareto principle, YAGNI, KISS. Further will be more about this, we have highlighted this approach in a separate direction.
We worked for ourselves as we understand that a person is ready to become a partner. Just analyze yourself and those qualities that allow you to achieve results by working in a comfortable atmosphere of like-minded people:
- We always strive to understand in our projects the goal, “what are we fighting for,” why it is exactly that, what is most important in a project, and why. This is the most important infa, which is often considered either obvious, or unnecessary, or “in short it is not clear now, you just need to do this ...”. Understanding is not enough, it is important to bring this understanding to the team, to the customer, and in the course of the project not to lose this thread. All decisions (and purely technical too!) Are passed through the prism of understanding the objectives of the project. We do this feature for what? How does this help to achieve the objectives of the project, and how it will hurt Is it possible to give a similar result on the value, changing some input data features? And often you can, often we drive ourselves into frames! There is a huge potential here. If your whole team can think like that, at least one person in the team, you are many times more likely to make a really cool project on time, with the necessary budget, quality. It’s not easy to teach this, that few people have experienced it; you can’t find such guys from the current market, you have to try, you have to learn.
- We also singled out another important criterion as “ME DOESN'T LOOK” In essence, this is a responsibility, both personal and team. You see the risks, think through, highlight, do well, because you do not care. You can not do carelessly something, it is important for you personally.
- The ability to interact with the team. Partners train people, often they are team leaders in projects. You need to be able to appreciate people, listen to their opinions, find good things and help them grow. It is even more important to have the desire to do it, the skill will come with time. There is also an understanding of what a constructive dialogue is, what is more important to listen and understand, and not to push through your decision. And then you can come up with something better than yours or his. Another important point is to give feedback, both positive and negative.
- The desire to interact with the customer team. It is no secret that we, techies, often appreciate the formal description above live communication, almost all of us are introverts. And here it is important to understand that the partner is the face of the team. We need to communicate, and we should strive to do this effectively, we are not afraid to substantiate expert opinion. People come to us for this.
- Independence. We realized that we are brewing a lot of things ourselves, not because someone has set the task for us, but simply we understand what is needed, the time has come. We find problems, resources, ask questions, offer options. We don’t have to put everything on the shelves, we don’t wait for us to chew everything and put it in our mouths.
- The ability to give a quality result in a short time. This is related to all previous points and extensive programming experience. Just about anything can make a product. Make it with good quality - many. But to do well and at the right time - this is a challenge, this is directly interesting, here you have to turn your head on, understand how and where to catch the balance.
- Honesty and openness. This is a mega important point. It seems clear, it seems banal, but not immediately we found the answer, why it is important to us. The key is trust. We are pleased to trust people and to be trusted, to work so comfortably and efficiently, so there are no fears, as a result - micromanagement. This is important not only to partners, there can be no trust in you if you yourself are dishonest. People see on a live example that it is quite ok to say about the problems, you will not be called “on the carpet”, they will not be fined, blamed ... You will be understood and you will come up with a way out. Just to say about honesty does not work, we must show by our own example that everyone has the right to make mistakes, the main thing is to make mistakes quickly and draw conclusions.
Discussing all this with the team, I realized that now we are doing the most important thing. What are we? Who do we want to work with? What is important to us? Where are we going and why?
In a fever of 100% load on clients' tasks, we simply did not have time for anything. We didn’t ask ourselves these questions, drifted with the flow, laid out, and didn’t see any other options, just didn’t have the strength to think about something else.
This year we are catching up and this is a real buzz)) We started to say what we really want to do, what people we want to hire, what projects to do. All this is very interesting and useful for the team.
We set a goal for 2018 - to pump efficiency without loss of quality, the ability to give the maximum value to the project for a minimum of time. In terms of hard skills, we were already quite OK, but in terms of software skills and product thinking, we saw great potential for growth.
We offered the most experienced guys in the team to share this goal, assigned each mentor from a number of partners, worked through the program, what exactly and how we will teach, selected teams and partners for this time.
Now we regularly meet together, sort out cases on current projects, share experiences. It is too early to draw conclusions, in the next article I will tell you what happened and what did not.
- It took us 3 years to confirm the concept of RentaTeam - there is a stable demand on the market for renting a team of developers for technological products in mobile & web.
- There is a demand for quality developers in the market, and there are companies to whom this is important and which can adequately assess your level.
- The main factor limiting our current growth is that there are almost no specialists in the market, we need to grow them inside.
- From a certain level of sales have ceased to be a major problem. Even a sundress is enough for 80-100% of the load.
- Much has long been invented, do not reinvent the wheel. In the beginning, I didn’t even have a thought that the consulting business was somehow similar to ours.
- The most important thing is the people with whom you work: team, clients, partners. Super important to create the right atmosphere in the team. We have chosen the path of trust, broad opportunities for growth, involvement, independence, support. We burn out, with terrible force F, any manifestations of meanness, indifference, stupidity, deception. It is not so important what you do, how important it is with whom you do it. Cool ideas do not give rise to cool products; teams do that.