Kamstrup decided that outsourcing should be part of their future strategy back in 2011. Difficulties with finding the right competences, lack of flexibility, high salaries and a need for improved global competetiveness were some of the factors, which initiated Kamstrup’s search for the right outsourcing partner. In coorporation with Conscensia, Kamstrup has succeed in building a development department in Ukraine.
Head of the System Software, Ole Brandt, has several years of experience in managing outsourced development teams. According to Ole Brandt, the big advantage of outsourcing to Ukraine is that Danes and Ukrainians are quite alike, both in terms of culture and mentality: “There is a close connection and immediate understanding between Danish and Ukrainian culture and mentality. Danes and Ukrainians are very similar in the way we communicate, our expectations to each other, and how we make agreements and give feedback.”
Ole Brandt believes that Ukrainians are good at sharing their opinions and also objections to the solution of a task to their teamlead and Kamstrup’s architect. “Communication and feedback are handled efficiently and our Ukraininan colleagues are generally good at sharing their input,” says Ole Brandt.
Kamstrup chose to invest time in ensuring that the Danish and the Ukrainian team understood each other and their culture, and they have focused on getting a good start-up of the entire team and building a sense of shared ownership. “You have to invest time in getting the team to talk and understand each other, so it is not only the company that decided to outsource; the people who work together have to understand each other. The new structure is planned by the management, but for the involved, it is a change of behavior”, states Ole Brandt, and elaborates: “There is often resistance towards change. The management has to be very close to the changes and be 100% certain that all new processes are integrated in the entire organization before they let go.”
There are several reasons to why Kamstrup has succeed with building a successful development department in Ukraine, according to Ole Brandt. Besides implementing clear processes, structures and agreements with the development team, the management needs to focus on cultural understanding: what makes us different and how can we benefit from the differences. “We trust one another, so we spend limited time on daily control, follow-up and dialogue, it is very efficient,” states Ole Brandt and continues: “We have to meet each other as we are. We should not change each other – that will fail. We need to understand each other, understand how we behave and if possible, adjust where we can if it brings value.”
Kamstrup’s Ukrainian team participates equally with Kamstrup’s Danish developers in the entire development process. “Our Danish and Ukrainian team solves the same type of tasks, there is no difference. The two teams are a match both in quality and competences, and our Ukrainian developers can basically solve the same tasks as our Danish developers. Our Ukrainian developers have a long experience with the product,” says Ole Brandt.
Ole Brandt believes that one of Conscensia’s primary strengths is their ability to retain the developers, so domain knowledge stays within the team. Ole Brandt elaborates: “We have a reliable team, so it is important that we do not have a high employee turnover. We can hand over complicated tasks to our Ukrainian team, because they have a clear understanding of the product; they completely understand our customer’s values. It is extremely important that we have a reliable team, no doubt about it.”
Besides having highly skilled developers, it is also important that Kamstrup’s management is visible in Ukraine, according to Ole Brandt. Therefore, Ole Brandt visits his Ukrainian team twice a year. “It is important for our cooperation that the management is visible in Ukraine. It helps us becoming even more integrated,” states Ole Brandt. Conscensia focuses on creating a common bond between the developers, says Ole Brandt: “Conscensia creates a community, which ensures that our developers does not feel that they work as consultants; they are loyal and committed to a company. It is certainly a contributing factor to retention of our developers.”