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How to aim for the stars, from Ukraine, with love

Dnipro, February 24th, 2017

When Evgeniy Altynpara finished his Computer Science Masters degree in 2010, he had big dreams. He wanted to put its passion for sustainable development and technological entrepreneurship into practice.

Evgeniy felt the need of creating a technology company five years ago. At that time, the Ukrainian tech market was developing rapidly, and companies that could offer top quality products were scarce.

“We saw new IT outsourcing companies appearing almost monthly,” recalls Evgeniy “These were, in general, small, with poor management and unfortunately not very good results. I thought: ‘I just have to gather the best minds around me, who are already working as freelancers, and jointly concentrate on the quality of products that we delivered.’ And so I did. Steadily, we developed from a start-up to a fully-fledged development company. That’s how Cleveroad was born. Today we have around 100 people working at Cleveroad, around the world. ”

Cleveroad was founded in 2011 and since then has delivered a number of software solutions for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Wearable platforms. The company focuses on mobile and web development services working mostly with startups and medium-sized companies.

“Working with our clients, we try to contribute in the project not only by building an app, but also by adding value to our client’s business idea. In general, we offer marketing research services, planning, wireframing, UI/UX design, MVP creation, testing, release and post-release support,” says Evgeniy.

Can you describe your agency in three words?

Passionate, concerned, professional.

In your opinion, what ingredients are key to create a successful team?

We might be just five years old, but at Cleveroad, we understand that the key to success is transparent collaboration and communication. That’s why we create a working atmosphere where everyone’s contribution is valued and every team member’s opinion is considered.

When hiring, which qualities of creativity are you most sensitive to?

As a founder I’ve personally interviewed and hired our core staff. So I know how important it is to hire the right people in order to achieve success.

When hiring our HRs we look for intelligent candidates with good problem-solving and communicational skills. Besides that, the key thing we look at when hiring is passion, which includes self-motivation and initiative.

How do you distribute responsibilities?

I believe that a smart organizational structure is crucial to achieve project success. However, it all depends on the kind and complexity of project we are working on. At Cleveroad, the Project Manager takes on the responsibility of establishing a smooth development workflow. He or she will be responsible or the development, from planning the design, to the deployment. they will also specify the team’s structure for each individual project.

How would you describe the creativity culture at your agency?

The creative culture that thrives at Cleveroad, is a culture of innovations. We create an environment that welcomes innovations and new approaches. This is how we move forward. Everyone is involved in the process finding the better solution or just a better way to do something with the focus on outcomes and results. The combination of experience and innovation is what we call our competitive advantage.

How is that culture cultivated and maintained?

Maintaining a culture of innovations is not a simple task. However, there are some tried and true methods that we apply.

First of all, we draw up and make sure everyone understands the outcome we are moving towards. The process of work is based on mutual trust — we encourage it inside the team and create the conditions where everyone knows that there is someone to “cover their backs”.

Secondly, we believe that it’s important to expand horizons, not just in expertise but also in self-development. Besides, we admit that anyone needs to be handled certain responsibilities and granted the chance to take risks and make their own decisions. Initiative in our company is gold.

Digital Team

What tools do you use as a manager to plan your activities as well as that of your team?

We use lots of tools that make our workflow smoother. From project and task management software, such as JIRA, Confluence, GreenHopper, Basecamp, Asana, or Wunderlist; to document collaboration and file-sharing systems, like Google Docs, Slack, and Dropbox. We also like video conferencing and screen-capture videos.

You can read more about our efficient techniques and tools in our recent e-book How to Hire and Manage a Remote Team.

Can you share an example where you have had to resolve an issue between a creative team and a client?

Issues may occur in literally any working process, especially when certain services are provided and interpersonal relationships are built. That’s why we sometimes face some issues we have to resolve with the minimum negative consequences on the total project flow.

One of the problems we often face, is changing requirements during the execution of the project. The only solution we see is communication ­— open and transparent, which helps us complete the project to its fullest potential.

How would you deal with an angry customer? How do you communicate bad news?

The first thing, is to stay calm. That’s basic. Being calm we are ready to listen and understand the reason of client’s anger. Understanding is the key to seizing the conflict and finding solution.

What is the most interesting project you have worked on?

Every project we have dealt with is unforgettable experience for us. Every client that comes to us with a new idea in mind, gets our creative juices flowing.

That’s why Cleveroad creates software solutions. Sometimes we get excited about challenging tech tasks, sometimes we deepen into designs opportunities or see the potential practical benefits of what we are going to co-create with our clients — that’s our passion.

Name a challenge your team is currently facing.

Cleveroad is currently experiencing the expansion and staff growing with some of its natural difficulties, which we overcome with strategic planning and management.

How did you get started in the industry?

I’ve been always interested in technology and wanted to work in this area. I studied to be a software developer, and in fact, my first job was as a freelance developer. When I started the company, I only had a few very talented developers and one trusted client.

What inspires you in your work?

The joint work and achievements. Two years after our first project, our company grew from a small start-up to a full-stack development company with two offices in two cities. Five years have passed and those people who I started with, are still working at Cleveroad.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Currently, I strive to develop in my own profession. Being CEO of a growing and developing company is a constant work on my own management and strategic skills.

By Geny Caloisi.

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