Today we have selected Bartosz Pieślak to take his interview. He is CEO of itCraft.
First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
We’re doing great. The first panic mode is definitely behind us, but I have to admit that it was scary for a while last year. We didn’t know what would happen, and some industries had to postpone or cancel their software projects due to sudden lockdown. However, the pandemic sped up the digitalization processes for many companies, opening new doors for us. We are grateful that we could continue our work and support other businesses in those tough times.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?
It all began in high school when I met itCraft’s co-founder, Karol. We went to college together, and after graduation, we’ve been working in the same company in several positions. That gave us versatile experience, but we wanted to create something that we could call our own after a while. We had particular goals in mind – to hire talented people, provide high-quality software and offer a proactive, innovative approach to our customers. I can proudly say we achieved all that.
How does your company innovate?
We constantly learn new things and observe upcoming trends and technologies. This way, we know what is promising and worth introducing to our stack. That was the case with Flutter. We noticed its potential early on, and it became our primary cross-platform solution. The same goes for machine learning, a true future-proof technology we wanted to offer to our clients. Now it’s often an essential part of a digital product. In this rapidly changing world, the software has to provide customized experiences, and there’s no better way to do that than to implement modern features based on AI.
We also do our best to innovate in the processes department. Our specialists always look for ways to optimize their work and implement methodologies that make it more productive and effective. itcraft team works in Agile, which is the industry standard. We always recommend developing an MVP for products, as we think it’s the best way to evaluate any project idea.
How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
As I mentioned, after a short period of uncertainty, we got back on track relatively quickly. Although some clients had to resign from our cooperation, we gained new ones, and right now we can say it’s going steady. We made some adjustments to ensure our services are suitable for the new entrepreneurial needs born during the first months of the pandemic. As a business partner, we support our customers in building their digital products. Still, we also help them find the right product/market fit, prepare marketing strategies, and do all the activities dedicated to success after release.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Fortunately, we didn’t have to let anyone go because of the COVID-19. We did everything to keep our team, mainly since they are excellent specialists and amazing people. Moreover, we grew by 20% employee-wise.
We learned the unpredictability of life, which means that flexibility and openness to changes are crucial to staying on the market. When the crisis happens, fast reactions are required. Thanks to this strategy, we handled the first half of 2020 quite well.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
We pay a lot of attention to our work organization and process. It’s essential to deliver expected results to the clients. Agile Scrum, in particular, is focused on effects and eliminates distractors or unnecessary tasks. We’ve been using it for years, and it proved to be great also during the pandemic. Our management structure is transparent and allows every employee to express their opinion and propose changes. We believe in transparency and honest communication, so we always listen to our team and regularly meet up (even though now we work mostly remotely) to listen to feedback and discuss changes within the company.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
The competition on the market is fierce, and we have many fantastic IT companies in Poland and Eastern Europe in general. Actually, during the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve decided to join forces with a couple of software houses to deliver even better services and support each other in projects with specific requirements. Collaboration is a great way to learn from each other and grow business-wise.
Also, we constantly invest in our growth as a company. We’ve hired more people than ever since the pandemic began, and we still want to grow our team. With so many specialists on board, we can deliver exquisite, high-quality digital products, and that’s our ultimate goal for the upcoming months.
Your final thoughts
Making bold decisions supported by analysis and data is the best way to expand in this uncertain world. Investing time and effort in people is always a good idea, as they are responsible for everything is done. Also, every business that doesn’t have a significant online presence should think about digitalization, as the pandemic revolutionized many consumer habits that won’t change back when it’s all over.