We talked to Mykola Pustovoychenko, co-founder of LeanyLabs, about providing web engineering services for startups.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mykola Pustovoychenko: It was a hard time for my family and me. Although I didn’t get sick, almost half of my family contracted COVID. Luckily everyone survived it, but for some, it wasn’t easy. It is a challenging and stressful time for all of us.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded LeanyLabs
Mykola Pustovoychenko: My partners and I decided to establish the company after each of us being in the software development domain for over 10 years. We had a lot of experience working for various service companies and developed a vision of how we could improve software development service delivery. We noticed a lack of customer focus throughout our careers, trying to apply exactly the same approaches for totally different needs, shifting attention to trendy technologies rather than solving actual problems. We believe that our company is a software development partner to our clients rather than one more vendor.
How does LeanyLabs innovate?
Mykola Pustovoychenko: Since we’re a service company, our primary focus is the success of our clients. Therefore, we continuously search and try to improve the quality of the service that we provide. We’re working with different methodologies (Scrum, Kanban, XP, etc.) and always try to adjust those to our partners’ needs. At the discovery stage of every new project, we try to learn as much as possible about client needs, timelines, tactical and strategical goals and propose them the most efficient solution in their unique circumstances. We’re looking for feedback proactively and adjust to ensure that we provide a tailored experience.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Mykola Pustovoychenko: The pandemic affected everybody, and we weren’t an exception. Some of our clients had problems with stability and growth, and it influenced us as well. The pandemic affected the entire software industry. It is a time of enormous uncertainty. Most entrepreneurs try to avoid risky and ambitious projects, and it was significantly harder to find new clients. On the other side, at the beginning of the pandemic, sourcing seasoned professionals were substantially simpler. Big companies had to cut their losses, and many good people were looking for a new job. We were able to hire few great developers who became valuable addition to the team.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Mykola Pustovoychenko: Luckily not. Our company is built by the team, and thus the team is our most important asset. We tried to do our best to ensure that the team stays intact. We supported the team: provided a free possibility to take the COVID test for our employees, assured that everybody is free to decide where to work from, etc.
Since our company was established at the very beginning of the pandemic, we understood the risks and tried to tackle them in advance.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Mykola Pustovoychenko: COVID-related turbulence is a hard time, but it is also high time to support each other. Being supportive of the team and our clients is crucial. Our clients notice it and become even more loyal to us.
In addition, with most of them, we collaborate remotely, so we got used to Zoom, Google Meet, Slack, and all other essential tools for remote collaboration. We also suggest having detailed, precise, and always up-to-date documentation for those who are only starting this progress. It is beneficial for both sides to have a point of reference.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Mykola Pustovoychenko: No, we never received any government grants. LeanyLabs is an entirely bootstrapped company with zero external investments.
Your final thoughts?
Mykola Pustovoychenko: Like any crisis, this one is the time for support, helping, and caring for each other. At LeanyLabs, we take it very seriously.
While it is not the best time for explosive growth, it’s worth refining the company’s processes, culture, vision, and vector. We’re preparing the company for the post-pandemic world. There are plenty of lessons to be learned.
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