Taras Tymoshchuk, founder of Geniusee tells us about effective product management during the Covid-19 pandemic.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Taras Tymoshchuk: Thanks, Covid-19 has not badly affected both my personal family and my working family. Of course, Covid 19 has put restrictions on our travel, the time spent with the family, and during this time I spent fewer holidays with my family. Concerning Geniusee, we are expanding – our family grew from 75 to 110 people during this time. Our Geniusee family has started to take care of each other more, support, and mutually assist each other.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Geniusee.
Taras Tymoshchuk: Oh, it’s not prosaic enough. At first, I worked as a management consultant at Deloitte and as a product manager at several other companies. My 4 friends and I decided to organize a company that could develop high-quality technical products. This happened in 2016. We started by developing projects by ourselves.
Rapid growth began in 2017. That is why we consider this year to be the date of the company’s foundation. Since then the company develops products and services, provides consultancy and support for various clients. Among them, there are both startups from YCombinator & TechStars as well as dynamic small to medium businesses.
How does Geniusee innovate?
Taras Tymoshchuk: Well, here we need to start with our mission – ”Innovate. Accelerate. Thrive.” We follow it absolutely in every process and every decision we make. I want to divide the answer to the different areas in our business where we innovate.
- Network (communications). We approach this area with great attention since the team is our main value. We create a reliable network of people and companies with whom we cooperate, exchange experience and knowledge. Our company has different groups of employees – mobile development engineers, web development engineers, designers, business analysts, project managers, HR department, marketing department. Each of these groups has weekly streams where reports are made, industry innovations are discussed, extraordinary cases and problems faced by employees are solved.
- Everyday processes. We are continuously researching and analyzing our market to implant better and more productive daily processes. Our C-Level and HR departments are responsible for developing the best processes. At this stage, we are preparing for the introduction of ISO standards into our processes, and as a result, obtaining quality certificates.
- Interaction with clients. Every customer loves great service, and one of the ways we innovate in an organization is by offering a variety of support and development methods. Most people don’t associate service with innovation, but great service can go a long way in creating an impressive customer experience.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Taras Tymoshchuk: The coronavirus, as I said above, brought additional development to our company and opened up new business opportunities for our developers. The main challenge was the transfer by employees to a remote work format. In this matter, I had a lot of fears and worries. Due to the change in the format of work, we had to very quickly improve all work processes – from communication within the team to organizational issues. But to my surprise, this transition was not only not a big deal, but also brought some improvements to the productivity of our team.
Also, during this period, a large number of businesses in various industries began to think about creating IT solutions that would help them make a profit in the pandemic. During this period, we began to receive more requests with delivery projects, online training, and neo-banking.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Taras Tymoshchuk: As I said above, the most difficult decision was the transfer of employees to a completely different form of work. Before that, we had the opportunity to work for the company remotely several days a month. But thanks to our managers and the HR department, we quickly transferred employees home, provided them with all the necessary equipment, as well as the programs necessary to monitor the quality of work. We took out insurance for each employee, which made it possible to reimburse them for expenses in case of coronavirus disease. The main lesson learned was that you need to constantly try some innovative solutions and not be afraid to introduce new changes. All difficulties and obstacles were overcome with the participation of each of our employees, for which I am very grateful to them.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Taras Tymoshchuk: Basically, our tools for workflow management have hardly changed. We continue to use Slack to communicate within the team and with clients and Jira to monitor the work progress of each participant in the process. The only change happened in the way stand-ups and meetings were held. To do this, we began to use Google Meets, meetings in Zoom, and Skype calls with the client.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Taras Tymoshchuk: I think everyone knows that there is a lot of competition in the field of IT outsourcing. This industry is getting larger and larger every month as well as there are more and more requests for software development. In this regard, there is a big problem with professionals in the labor market. In this situation, it is very important to develop HR branding so that really cool developers would like to work in our company, and not in the competitors’ one.
Also, to stay in the game, we try to concentrate on certain areas of our services. So lately we have started to focus more on the FinTech and EdTech industries. In these industries, we already have quite a lot of experience and successfully implemented projects. We also reinforce our values within the company, create a conducive environment for work and professional exchange, and take care of each team member like our own family.
Your final thoughts?
Taras Tymoshchuk: I want to tell everyone that you should be brave when you face challenges that come your way. Develop your team, invest in building team spirit, and don’t forget to constantly innovate your business processes. Good Luck!