In the Heat of Sauna – Ville Wettenhovi

Ville Wettenhovi, CTO of Analyste Ltd (new name Nomentia), is the very first guest in Software Sauna‘s new blog post series “In the Heat of Sauna”. The blog will be featuring interesting stories from IT managers who are sharing their personal experiences and different perspectives on working with distributed software development teams.

Ville has been the CTO of Analyste since the spring 2019 and he is responsible for their multinational product development team. Analyste is a Finnish software company specializing in cash management and treasury solutions. Their agile team is divided into several locations in Finland and India. Analyste has also cooperated with an external development team from Croatia as Software Sauna helped them revamp their product’s interface and improve its functionality. 

Ville himself has a solid technical background and more than 20 years of experience with a variety of responsibilities in the IT sector. He has worked for about 15 years in various positions responsible for e.g. global subcontracting management. Therefore distributed software development teams have been part of his daily routine for a decade. Along the way he has been working with development and testing teams, both in-house and outsourced, located in Canada, India, Ukraine, Russia, Norway, Estonia, Croatia, and of course Finland.

When you hear discussion about near- and offshoring, both the main benefits and challenges are often brought up. According to Ville’s experience the biggest benefits are:

  • With an external team the ramp-up time is fast compared to your own recruitment process (possible to set up the team / get a new developer productive only in couple of weeks)
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Flexibility
  • External perspective on your own processes

Challenges Ville has had on the way:

  • Maintaining continuous communication (Depending also on how the parties involved prefer to communicate).
  • Integration into the parent organization / team, e.g. whether external consultants are only involved in certain meetings, or fully integrated as a part of the team.
  • Language issues to a small extent. However, today English is often the default language in most companies, but it may still present challenges in some cases.
  • Cultural differences may be huge and the hierarchy is reflected in the culture. This is particularly evident when we are heading further east from Europe. Some people require more guidance and others may not ask for help at all.

Members of distributed teams may be located in more than one country and time zone. What are the biggest differences in daily management of remote and on-site teams?

  • Everyday communication suffers a bit with remote teams, but with the tools available today it’s not a big deal. Also the remote culture of our own organization helps to adjust with different situations.
  • The lack of some kind of team spirit is something you notice every now and then. It would be good to try to maintain this by various means, e.g. onsite kick offs and arranging physical meetings with your remote team from time to time. 

What kind of advice would you give to a company considering to start nearshoring or using distributed teams?

  • Try it at first with a separate part of your product e.g. new feature, or take 1-2 consultants as a close part of your own team.
  • A couple of external developers is not a huge investment, so go ahead, try and learn. Be open minded.
  • An external team can bring strong expertise quickly into your organization, e.g. technologies which are new to your own team.

If you are interested in reading more real life stories about how Software Sauna has helped companies by assembling remote software development teams, please check this.

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