“The humidity is killing my hair”, said Pawel with a big smile. They were not as serious as we believed. The interview was conducted among trust, while we laugh and exchange a lot, not leaving out some ironic comments in between. Paweł Jański and Jakub Żurawski were expecting to find a beautiful South American beach in Buenos Aires capital, CABA. They were a little disappointed when they discovered the sea coast was at least 350 km away from our offices. They had even brought their bathing suits with them, and rejected a hotel with a swimming pool, thinking they were not going to need it anyway.
The history of Pawel and Jakub
Jakub is from Varsovia, he’s 29, studied Mechatronics, and has a background of IT Management. He’s currently finishing a Master Degree in Software Engineering and he’s about to become a dad. His first job was at Samsung. He had taken a lot of positions there, started as a tester and finished as a software developer. It was easy for him to get another job right after Samsung, because of the company reputation in the market. His previous best job was at Stepstone (a recruiting firm) when he was working in developing products, helping people to really care about what they create, a belief that continues with him today and that he has brought to intive-FDV.
Pawel is from Kepno, he’s 28, and he’s been interested in a lot of subjects, like Physics, Geology, and Economy, having tried all of them until he decided for Computer Science. He has lived in Cracovia and then moved to Wroclaw, Breslavia. He grew as a .NET developer in a couple of small companies before working with us.
Pawel and Jakub met a while ago, as they are located in different polish offices. But we didn’t know anything about that, nor about them until they visited us a couple of weeks ago. For us, Pawel and Jakub were just avatars in a virtual world, not more than that. And we were kind of the same to them. “This is farther than Australia to us”, they said.
The visit was organized in a rush, but it was worth it. The challenges of working on multicultural teams, with different time zones and so far away from each other, were a lot. Patricia Miguel said “sometimes there was no agreement about how to do the work”. The team was screaming out for integration, for setting some work standards, for a face to face gathering. The original idea was to perform several meetings regarding how to standardized the code review. And that was what we’ve done, arriving at a lot of new positive conventions.
Our achievements with the polish team
Jakub: “Our communication is now better. Previously we would only see an avatar, now we know who we can hit, we know everyone. We can avoid layers of communications if we want to propose something”. “We were also able to explain ourselves to the people in the project. You don’t believe people 14.500 km away from here exists. You need an explanation about their job”.
Sole Mari: “After 10 minutes we realized we were all on the same page”.
Facu Navarro: “We had some interesting human and team dynamics. We agreed in every area of improvement of the project. Our pains were just the same, for both parts of the team. So we work on agreements, regarding continuous integration, user stories, processes, and methodologies. Now we left Kanban and went back to Scrum.”
Not only we discovered we shared our vision related to the project, we even found out they are in a pretty similar situation, as they are receiving a lot of Ukrainians and our family here is growing with a lot of people from Venezuela. We also came to understand in some way the differences between our cultures. While here we mix private and working life a lot, in Poland they don’t. Anyway, Sole Mari told us it was almost as if they were Argentinians speaking in English. “I didn’t find any obstacles or barriers with them”. Ricky told us “we were more aligned than we have thought, the cultural barriers were not as many as they seemed”.
Patricia Miguel: “We used to find their names weird, as it sure happened to them with ours. This was great to humanize both teams, to work on really belonging to the same company”.
Facu Navarro: “There’s a different and better bond now”.
Even if they were not planning South America, Pawel and Jakub encountered here the possibility to express and to share with the rest of the team. Jakub confessed he would like someday to be CTO, and Pawel said he’s willing to gain some skills to be a team leader. “You can learn from me”, answered Jakub joking.