Andrei Pirvulescu of QTeam tells us how they deliver complex digital solutions in web-related industries like e-learning, e-commerce, and social media marketing.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Andrei Pirvulescu: Like many other professionals, we’ve had to balance kids and work and try to find a way to tackle both successfully. At times it has been challenging because working from home tends to blur the lines between personal and professional, but overall, I think we managed to keep our wits and handle it in a healthy way.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded QTeam.
Andrei Pirvulescu: I have been working in the IT&C industry for more than 13 years, mainly in the software testing field. 5 years ago, together with my friend Cristina we decided to start our own company. Her experience is in HR and building software development teams, so our skills completed each other.
We wanted to work on something where we could use our expertise and what we had learned up to that point but at the same time make sure we brought our own philosophy to the mix. So, our own software development company seemed like the next logical step.
How does QTeam innovate?
Andrei Pirvulescu: We always strive to find and work with customers with different needs and from different industries. It’s the best incentive to keep learning and developing.
At the same time, we approach our current customers as software development consultants, not just providers. This means that, apart from developing software, we also look at their software ecosystem as a whole and try to offer advice and support about implementation, potential upgrades, troubleshooting, etc.
Since its inception, QTeam’s main focus has been on bespoke software development, so innovation pretty much comes with the territory.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Andrei Pirvulescu: The beginning of 2020 was the most challenging period. Clients became more cautious, which meant that some of our new projects were put on hold, and the ones we were already working on didn’t have any growth perspectives.
But as things started to become a bit clearer towards the end of last year and the economy picked up, our business also started to pick up the pace.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Andrei Pirvulescu: We work on a flexible engagement framework with our team, which allows us to tackle these situations more effectively. Many great IT professionals out there are looking for a flexible way of working, and we wanted to take advantage of this.
The lesson we got from the pandemic was that our business model was the right one, and we plan on keeping it even after this period is over.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Andrei Pirvulescu: We continued to stay close to our customers and quickly adapt to their requests. As I said in the beginning, we always view our role in any project from a consulting point of view as well, which means that we proactively try to help and support our clients.
Regarding the tools we use, we mostly focus on Slack, Atlassian, and Harvest, as the basis of the overall project execution so that our clients know exactly what we’re working on and what the progress of the project is.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Andrei Pirvulescu: No.
Your final thoughts?
Andrei Pirvulescu: The past year has been a challenging period, to say the least. But I view it optimistically. It forced us to look at how we work and the tools we work with from a different perspective.
What does this mean in practice? We will most likely see a more positive outlook from companies, big and small, towards implementing AI and digital solutions to be better prepared to tackle these types of situations in the future.
And a more open approach towards work flexibility because, as 2020 has shown, you don’t need to be at the office all the time to do great work. But at the same time, we also discovered how much it matters to spend time with your colleagues. Hence, as business owners, we need to make sure that we are as flexible as possible with our team while also providing them with opportunities or a place to come together.
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