One of the world's leading developers of browser-based multiplayer games shares their experience of using effectively extra IT resources nearshore in Ukraine.
Intersog has interviewed Wesley Scott, Director of IT Engineering at Travian Games, and Jörg Strathaus, CTO at Travian Games, about their experience building and managing dedicated development teams with Intersog in Ukraine.
Q: What was the main reason why Travian Games chose to use additional technical resources nearshore?
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Jörg Strathaus (JS): Cost effectiveness.
Wesley Scott (WS): In addition, we’ve had a challenge finding qualified PHP resources. Now we’re able to find these resources quite quickly with Intersog.
Q: And why did you choose Intersog as your provider of nearshore IT resources?
WS: Our former colleague responsible for managing the outstaffing effort had pretty good experience with Intersog through SAM Learning, so it was a referral.
Q: Your development functions are currently distributed among several teams in Germany (Munich) and Ukraine (Kyiv and Odessa). How do you manage your distributed development environment?
JS: For us it’s very important to keep domain expertise and business knowledge in-house, so we only use nearshore resources as a subsidiary of the Munich-run operations. That said, our team in Munich is responsible for the project and works together with our Ukraine-based software development team to get it done. I know some outsourcing projects from the past in which domain expertise went out of the domestic control and all of these projects eventually failed.
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To manage the relationships between teams, we use Agile Scrum methodology.
WS: We have a few project managers on our side to oversee cross-border communication, usage of tools, and other aspects of the software development process.
Q: Now when you have extensive experience cooperating with offshore programmers, do you see a difference between the Ukrainian and German software engineering cultures?
WS: Yes, there’re some cultural differences. Even though we started off acting as if that wouldn’t be the case and tried to view our German and Ukrainian teams as a whole, the reality is that they’re two different teams with two different backgrounds. At the beginning, a true challenge was figuring out how to manage a day-to-day relationship between these teams. I think we’ve been quite successful at it. Overall, our teams in Ukraine are very flexible and are always willing to meet our expectations.
Q: In the Western world, an IT specialist usually considers him or herself as senior after having 6 or 7 plus years of experience. In Ukraine, the seniority levels are defined differently and a developer is regarded as senior after spending 3 years in the industry. Do you think the claimed seniority levels really match the expert knowledge they possess?
WS: In my experience I’ve seen folks that think seniority is all about the knowledge of a programming language or technology. For me, however, it’s more about a maturity level. Senior is someone you can consult with, whose opinion seems to be authoritative and credible and who’s able to help technical and business management to move the company forward.
Q: How would you assess your recruitment process with Intersog?
JS: I’ve always been satisfied with what Intersog recruitment team did for us.
WS: It’s impressive how fast we can get required people here in Ukraine.
Q: To your mind, what’s the most important factor for successful client – provider relationship?
WS: Trust! It’s important that a client trusts a supplier and their ability to provide trustworthy people for a long-term cooperation.
JS: I’d definitely recommend Intersog as a reliable business partner.
To learn more about our Travian Games project, please take a look here.
ABOUT TRAVIAN GAMES
Based in Munich, Travian Games is one of the leading browser game companies worldwide with over 130 million registered players, publications in over 200 countries and countless awards from independent media.