Category Archives: Blog

Ideal candidate? Error 404 Profile not found

Ideal candidate? Error 404 Profile not found 

Can an ideal candidate profile be realistic? Why is it so difficult? One simple reason is that we are all unique. And identifying what to look for in a new hire, is a make or break deal. 

Did you know?

One mismatched hire can cost your business 30 percent of the employee’s first-year earnings according to the US Department of Labor. One bad hire can have a huge effect on productivity, morale, and goal achievement.

Therefore, the success of a company hinges on the success of its people. That is why organizations need to consider various factors during the recruiting and hiring process to ensure that they attract and select top talent. This article explores the importance of the recruiting & hiring process, our approach to candidate selection, the evolving nature of candidate evaluation, traits of an ideal candidate, and the challenges faced during the hiring process.

Focusing solely on putting together this profile can make organizations overlook the unique qualities, experiences, and potential of candidates who may not fit the mold but possess other valuable qualities. Overemphasizing the ideal candidate profile can lead to a lack of diversity in the workforce, limiting the organization’s ability to innovate and adapt.

Importance of the Recruiting & Hiring Process

Hiring is widely recognized as the single most important people activity in any organizationIt was proven to us that the success of an organization is the compound success of its people. At Expert Network, hiring the right candidates contributes to team cohesion, performance, and overall organizational success. Moreover, finding candidates who align with our company’s values and culture enhances team spirit and ensures a positive work environment.

Our Approach to Candidate Selection 

We strongly believe that people are more than just technical skills; they are complex individuals. Therefore, at Expert Network we prioritize not only a candidate’s performance and technical skills but also whether they would bring added value to the company and contribute to a harmonious working environment. Cultural fit and a willingness to collaborate with others play a significant role in the selection process. Here are the steps we take in our recruitment process:

  1. HR-guided discussion We have a discussion based on our goals, our core values and our organizational culture. We want to identify if we culturally fit together and this may as well be a matchmaking exercise. 
  2. PsihoProfile – a product we developed to help with professional support for psychological evaluations and counseling services. We use it in our selection processes to learn more about the candidate’s personality to put together their profiles and get a clearer idea about fit with team and organizational culture.
  3. Technical discussion: When it comes to the must-have hard skills, we do an assessment of tech skills based on a candidate’s experience or how they would tackle a tech scenario.
  4. Meeting with the team: Giving a chance to a potential colleague to meet the team is decisive. It’s an opportunity for both parties to interact and decide if they would like to work together. After all, the selection process is a two-way street.

So all things considered, the structure of our selection process follows this roadmap:

Evolving Nature of Candidate Evaluation Over the years

We have adapted our recruitment process to become more effective and responsive to the dynamic market. The company has gradually placed greater emphasis on assessing cultural fit and personal values, considering them as important as technical skills.

Until 2017, we were recruiting mainly based on hard skills, our experience proved that we can only perform together if we fit together. Expert Network views the hiring process as a matchmaking exercise, understanding that compatibility in values is essential for a successful working relationship.

Traits We Look for in an Ideal Candidate 

While there is no such thing as an ideal candidate, there are key traits that we look for during the recruitment process. A pleasant attitude, willingness to collaborate, open-mindedness to feedback, and a drive to evolve both soft and technical skills are highly valued. Technical proficiency in the company’s specific technologies is also an important consideration.

Determining Fit for a Team

We implement a multi-step selection process that includes a team interview to assess the potential chemistry between the candidate and the team. By involving the team in the hiring decision, we ensure that they have the opportunity to select candidates they believe would be a good fit and contribute positively to team dynamics.

Challenges in the Hiring Process

  • It’s not an exact science. One of the notable challenges in the hiring process is the lack of an exact science to accurately predict a candidate’s performance. No foolproof way to guarantee a candidate’s success has been discovered. With this in mind, we employ reliable selection methods, including behavioral questions and personality tests, adapted to our culture, to generate an overall idea. 

  • It takes time. We like to take our time to ensure a possible candidate is the right fit. And we put focus on quality time because it is a high-stakes decision. We understand that only spending 30’ with someone new is not sufficient to go in-depth about certain topics and to identify that person’s viewpoint, values, and more. This is not always well-received as some candidates like to speed up the process. However, we do our best to be as efficient as possible, but some interviews require allocating the right time for the whole recruitment process. Quality takes time.

  • It’s a laborious task. From an organization’s perspective, this step implies thorough processes and it’s time-consuming when you screen hundreds of applications. Plus, an HR professional considers making the experience a pleasant one, hiring without bias, engaging passive applicants, and so on.

So what motivates us to maintain high standards in the recruitment process?

Firstly, it is the joy and satisfaction when we see a new person seamlessly integrated into the team, making it seem like the perfect choice. When the team evolves and synergizes to achieve more than the sum of its parts (2+2=5), it’s an incredible feeling. With the right fit within our team, where 2+2=5, and witnessing the team’s growth further fuels our motivation to uphold high standards.

Secondly, a misaligned hire can have profound repercussions for clients whose projects may be directly impacted. They expect reliability, competence, and good collaboration. It’s evident that the success of business partnerships is intricately linked to the quality of the hiring process and the suitability of individuals on teams. Therefore, we walk the walk, put in all our knowledge and expertise to ensure a top-notch selection process.

Thirdly, each candidate brings a fresh perspective, introducing new dynamics that broaden our horizons. We want our employees to be unique individuals and remain true to themselves, enriching our culture in the process. 

Additionally, it’s crucial for candidates to feel that we are the right fit for them too. Through our discussions, we aim to ensure a genuine connection and mutual understanding.

Key takeaways for your recruitment process

  • Your values align with the candidate’s. Notice how the candidate would blend in in your organization. This will contribute to a harmonious working environment.
  • Everyone is unique. Aside from the requirements that are relevant for the open position, keep an open mind for other qualities a candidate brings.
  • Quality takes time. Allocate the right time for the whole recruitment process. 
  • Team fit translates to company fit. Make sure team members meet the candidate who will join their team. 
  • Transparency about the company: We like to offer as many details as possible about how we work, and what the potential colleague can expect. It’s important that he/she identifies if we are the right fit for him/her too.

By prioritizing culture fit, collaboration, and personal growth, at Expert Network we continuously strive to achieve both organizational and individual success.

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Nurturing Success: How Culture Drives Expert Network’s Journey

Nurturing Success: How Culture Drives Expert Network’s Journey

We realized from our own experience of almost two decades, how much culture influenced the quality of our delivery, hiring top professionals, retaining our talent, and building a pool of professionals.

Based on all the bumps and successes down the road, we decided that our knowledge and expertise are worth sharing, especially if you’re an organization at the beginning of your journey.

We’re here to guide you through the process. How? By showcasing how we managed to have a solid culture for almost 19 years.

So once you browse the first article to familiarize with the topic, we’ll continue by sharing our approach and what processes have been successful for us. So take a few moments and join us on this journey. Ready?

What steps we take to consistently manifest our culture

Once you establish your company’s culture, just as important is how your employees are aligned with it. Your company’s success will depend on how they embody your values and beliefs. When employees feel that their work is meaningful and tied to a larger purpose, they are more engaged in their work and are more willing to go above and beyond to achieve business goals. 

Our culture – the basis for our progress and organizational development

 

Over the years, it was clear to us that we don’t align with a corporate mindset where, generally, people aren’t seen, listened to, or considered in the organization’s decisions. Conversely, we are a people-oriented company and we put our colleagues at the center of everything we do. Our perspective revolves around supporting our Experts’ growth and enabling them to follow their passions.

So, to define what our DNA stands for, we actively involved our colleagues in the decision-making process and in what ways we could foster our culture, to drive results. So we’ve introduced various activities, and created routines, and opportunities for our colleagues to connect with each other, and with the company, having the flexibility to choose the path they wish to expand. 

Ultimately, our recipe for success has been truly caring for our Experts, and consulting with our teams. So from this perspective, here’s what drove meaningful change and growth in our company:

1. Own academy

Why did it make sense to create our own academy? We had the knowledge, the experienced and well-prepared people, plus our growth mindset which enables us to find solutions that can support our development. 

Our academy includes:

  • Career Path: it is based on six core behaviors and four levels of impact. Each of us has our own mentor, who is actually a ‘friend with more experience’, guiding our steps and supporting our evolution. It is how our Experts grow, motivated to positively impact and develop in the workplace. 
  • Internal training sessions on hard and soft skills: Periodically we plan workshops on tech development or training sessions on personal development. The more we understand and learn about how we’re wired, the better versions of ourselves we become. 
  • Annual budget for each Expert’s professional development: To stimulate our colleagues to expand their skill set, we’ve allocated a fixed budget that they can use for their growth. Some can choose to train and obtain certifications or participate in international workshops.

2. Freedom to try new development methods

Even if we are tech-oriented, progress cannot be achieved without the right people who would see eye to eye. When we’re all on board, we have the support and freedom to try new tech, or include novel work practices on a project.

Here’s what Liviu, our Solution Architect and Delivery Lead, who has been with us for more than 13 years, has to say about this:  “Every step of the way I’ve been exposed to new learning and personal development opportunities. And we’ve had the freedom, incentive, and the opportunity to always go for the latest framework or technology that would allow us to grow as technical people and deliver top products to our clients.” 

Our forward-thinking mindset, accompanied by trust and support from our teams, allowed us to advance, creating an environment that fosters self-organizing high-performing teams. Guided by ideologies like lean management, continuous delivery & integration, or DevOps practices, we provide an upgraded work experience to anyone who joins us.

3. Psychological safety and transformational leadership 

In our pursuit of staying at the forefront of workplace trends and innovations, we embarked on a journey to foster psychological safety and embrace transformational leadership throughout our organization. This transformation was driven by our recognition of the potential benefits it could bring.

One significant facet of this transformation is the embrace of a hybrid workplace model. Our organization had already championed flexible scheduling long before the pandemic, laying the foundation for this progressive approach. This approach not only facilitates stronger connections among colleagues but also empowers them to strike a harmonious balance between work and personal life, ultimately enhancing their overall well-being. 

Furthermore, we’ve observed that a positive work culture significantly improves open communication, facilitates healthy conflict resolution, and nurtures a culture of continuous learning and adaptability. It is an environment that cultivates a safe environment where colleagues feel empowered to express their ideas and concerns, subsequently strengthening our problem-solving abilities and driving innovation.

And like our HR Manager, Ruxandra, said: “Along with our top technical skills and expertise, culture has been the “fuel” that helps us be successful and develop sustainably.”

4. Social events

Each year we organize annual team buildings in a wonderful location. We also throw pool parties at our office. Yes, we have built an outdoor pool on our campus. Regularly we get together through our Garden Meetings. A chance for our teams to socialize outside, at the pool, with some cool refreshments and a bite to eat. Every month, we’ve allocated a set budget for each team so they can go out wherever they prefer, to relax, have fun, and spend time together outside the office.

5. Involvement in our community.

We invest and contribute to the future of young learners and to organizations that support our city’s growth. We’ve also put skin in the game and are expanding our campus. The community evolves if we get involved. By sponsoring, or funding educational projects, we meet young people, stimulate our colleagues in various initiatives, and have a better understanding of the existing needs in our area. It keeps us connected and motivated by our common desire to grow and give back to the community. It also allows us to be more visible, and present in our industry.

All things considered, a company’s culture matters because it helps guide decision-making. By embodying values consistently, and with the right mission and vision, companies can drive their success and make a positive impact in their industry and even in their communities.

The third article is related to how our recruitment supports our culture. Hiring the right candidates contributes to team cohesion, performance, and overall organizational success.

So, if you wish to know the impact of bringing in individuals who fit well with the company culture, stay tuned for our next blog post.

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Building a Strong Company Culture: Lessons from Expert Network

Building a Strong Company Culture: Lessons from Expert Network

Culture is not just a buzzword; it is a driving force that can make or break an organization’s future. In the dynamic world of business, success hinges not only on robust strategies and innovative practices but also on fostering a positive and inclusive company culture.

Why does it matter?

It shapes the behavior, attitudes, and actions of individuals within an organization, ultimately influencing long-term plans and progress towards the company’s vision.

We acknowledge the immense significance of culture and its undeniable impact on our success, drawing from our almost 2 decades on the market. Therefore, this article delves into how culture shapes success based on insights from our journey. We explore values, mission, and vision, and how they weave together to form a strong organizational environment.

The Power of Culture

In every organization, culture and strategy are inseparable companions. A strong and well-defined culture aligns everyone towards shared values and goals, driving the successful execution of business strategies. 

Did you know?

According to a Workplace Culture Survey, 77% of employees reported that culture influences much of their performance, efficiency and productivity at work. Prospective employees, too, are increasingly considering an organization’s culture when choosing potential employers, as they seek an environment that fosters growth and belongingness.

The Impact of Company Culture

Culture isn’t just a paradigm – it becomes an engine that steers success and sustainability. Here’s why: 

  • Attracting and Retaining Talent: A compelling culture attracts like-minded individuals who are aligned with the company’s vision, ensuring a committed and motivated workforce.
  • Driving Innovation: A culture that encourages creativity and collaboration fosters an environment contributing to innovation and continuous improvement.
  • Improving Productivity: A positive work culture leads to higher employee satisfaction, boosting productivity and overall performance.
  • Establishing Brand Identity: A strong culture helps carve out a distinct identity for the company, setting it apart from competitors and appealing to customers and investors.
  • Maintaining Focus: Amidst turbulence, culture fortifies purpose and direction. A well-defined one provides a sense of purpose and direction for employees.
  • Gaining a Competitive Edge: A unique and positive culture differentiates the organization, enhancing its reputation and market perception.

Defining Organizational Culture

At its core, culture embodies the fabric and DNA of an organization. It encompasses shared values, mission, attitudes, goals, and practices that shape the workplace environment. It is manifested in how colleagues interact, make decisions, and carry out their work, leaving a profound impact on overall company performance.

1. Values: Guiding Principles

They are the guiding principles and beliefs that underpin an organization’s behavior and decision-making. Even if not explicitly defined, they naturally influence day-to-day activities and relationships with clients, employees, and stakeholders. Expert Network’s values, for example, revolve around collaboration & trust, passion for what we do, reliability, and respect & integrity. 

2. Mission: Purpose in Action

The mission statement defines why an organization exists and how it serves its stakeholders. It outlines current objectives and the approach to achieving them, emphasizing the commitment to both colleagues and clients. Expert Network’s mission centers on designing and delivering valuable software solutions that drive our partners’ success stories.

3. Vision: Future Aspirations

In sync with the mission, the vision paints a picture of the company’s long-term goals and direction. It inspires and motivates employees to work together toward common objectives. Expert Network’s vision involves becoming the leading tech company where passionate people are empowered to innovate and achieve excellence.

Doable steps to build a meaningful company culture

1. Identify the right people: Select those who will own culture definition through research, aligning core values and principles with the company’s vision and goals.

In our case, we gave ownership to our experienced HR Manager, Ruxandra. She evaluated the needs and requirements of Expert Network to help shape our culture and differentiate ourselves from other IT companies in the industry. Based on the results, our leadership team, and our Belgian business partners from Wildstream, refined the values that define us. 

2. Consider your mission, vision, values, and strategic objectives: With all data in place, carve out what is the fabric of your business and what defines you now and moving forward.

Our core values were carefully crafted through the analysis of internal questionnaires, aligning our perspective with industry trends. Our mission and vision stemmed from collaborative brainstorming sessions led by our Leadership Team. These sessions were supplemented by a final consultation with our partner in Belgium to refine our direction. Additionally, a thorough examination of our competitors’ strategies enabled us to carve out our distinct identity. This groundwork then laid the foundation for setting our strategic objectives for the forthcoming 3-5 years. We adhered to the SMARTER model – ensuring that our goals were Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, Evaluated, and Refined.”

3. Communicate and Reinforce: Leaders must effectively communicate the values and beliefs to employees, clients, and other stakeholders, consistently reinforcing the desired culture through actions and initiatives.

Our next step in our development meant properly communicating our path, what is important to us, and what supports our evolution. Therefore, we developed our six Core Behaviors, connected to our organizational values. They provide a framework for understanding and talking about the expectations from each of us, at different levels of impact. For example, out of the six core behaviors, one is technical and five are non-technical. We discovered that we can always learn a new tool or a new technology, but if our values, attitudes, and behaviors do not align with our colleagues’, we will never truly perform well together.

4. Lead by Example: Leaders play a pivotal role in shaping the culture. By embodying the desired values, they inspire others to follow suit. 

At Expert Network we have a flat hierarchy structure. We don’t care about titles, because everyone puts skin in the game, listens to each other, and looks for solutions, no matter the role. We understand how important it is to connect with each other to work well as a unity, be available to others, and be transparent about what we do.

5. Foster Belongingness: Encourage a welcoming environment that values diverse perspectives and promotes collaboration and mutual respect. It also creates an environment where people are encouraged to bring their unique perspectives and ideas to the table.

In time, we recognized that a lack of diverse and novel perspectives in the workforce limits our organization’s ability to innovate and adapt to constant change in the industry. Imposing only certain rules, and being rigid to other perspectives keeps us solely in our comfort zone. Yet, progress derives from taking calculated risks, staying open-minded, being curious, and being willing to learn. So that is why we do our best to foster belongingness. 

All things considered, organizational culture serves as the backbone of a successful company. Expert Network’s journey exemplifies the significance of cultivating a positive, friendly environment, where people are encouraged and supported to grow. By defining values, mission, and vision, companies can create a thriving work environment that attracts top talent, drives innovation, and ultimately leads to long-term success.

In our next blog post, we’ll dive deeper into Expert Network’s growth journey and the role of culture in embracing innovation and modern practices. Stay tuned for more insights.

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How Cross-Platform Technologies Generate Growth and Success

How Cross-Platform Technologies Generate Growth and Success

Did you know that until a few years ago, native mobile application development was the sole way to build an app? Today, roughly one-third of mobile developers use cross-platform technologies or frameworks.

At Expert Network, we’ve embraced this shift to elevate our clients’ businesses. No fluff, just facts.

So, in today’s blog we delve into three impactful cross-platform frameworks and then, we’ll share our journey with them and the benefits they brought to our projects.

Three Impactful Mobile Frameworks: React Native, Cordova, Flutter

1. React Native is one of the most popular cross-platform app development frameworks today. It was used by 38% of developers worldwide in 2021 and chosen for the development projects of big businesses including Facebook, Microsoft, and Uber. Originally developed by Facebook as part of an internal hackathon project to improve Facebook products, the engineers decided to open-source it when they realized what an interesting framework they had created.

React Native is built on JavaScript and enables the building of complex natively rendered cross-platform apps via a single reusable code. It is known for providing a native-like feel and natural user experience due to its remarkably advanced features and its ability to utilize native features on each platform (Android, iOS, etc.). Since it uses the JavaScript library, React Native has a modest learning curve and anyone with a JavaScript background can easily learn to work with it.

Features:

  •   Open-source cross-platform app framework with a large community to support and improve it by fixing bugs and introducing features.
  •   Reusable code, which reduces development time (developers do not need to code separately for the same app on different platforms) and keeps costs low.
  •   Integrates the benefits of JavaScript and React.JS.
  •   Provides developers with the advantage of writing modules in Objective-C, Swift, or Java languages.
  •   Focuses on UI and uses native UI components, which allows developers to build a highly responsive, customized, and smooth interface.
  •   Uses modules and libraries in the React Native cross-platform apps, so developers can also perform heavy operations such as image editing or video processing.
  •   High compatibility with third-party plug-ins, such as Google Maps.

2. Apache Cordova is an open-source mobile development framework that runs on existing standard web technologies: JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3. Since the majority of developers are already familiar with these coding languages, it is easy to learn and is a great tool for quick prototyping or building simple apps.

Cordova wraps the HTML/JavaScript app you build in a native container that can access the device functions of several platforms. These functions are exposed via a unified JavaScript API, allowing you to use one set of code to target multiple platforms. Cordova also has many free-to-use plug-ins created by its developer community, who have been contributing to the framework for over 13 years since its initial release.

Features:

  •   Runs on existing standard web technologies (JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3), reducing the learning curve and time required to start developing apps.
  •   Web-based UI running in a WebView, so it looks like a website inside an app.
  •   Lots of free-to-use plug-ins and modules created by Cordova’s community.
  •   Supports a single codebase to create apps for different platforms.
  •   Offers a cloud solution to developers, providing them with the choice to share an app in the development process for feedback from other developers.
  •   Entirely supports in-built device features such as GPS, camera, phonebook, storage, etc.
  •   Its architecture has a plug-in nature, which means access to native device APIs can be extended in a modular way.

3. Flutter is an open-source framework introduced by Google in 2017 that has become very popular in recent years. According to Google in April 2020, 500,000 developers used Flutter every month and Statista records 42% of developers worldwide using Flutter in 2022

Flutter allows developers to easily and productively create apps that can run on multiple platforms with uniformity and dynamicity. It uses Dart as a coding language and does not require a JavaScript Bridge, which helps developers to write code in a shorter amount of time. User interfaces are designed specifically for platforms, so Flutter apps can give users the immersive experience they’re looking for.

Features:

  •   Promotes portable GPU, which renders UI power, allowing it to work on the latest interfaces.
  •   Single codebase using Dart (80% reusability and does not require a JavaScript Bridge), and the UI itself is also shareable.
  •   Hot-reload makes it possible to see changes in the code instantly, speeding up the process and enabling developers to correct errors at low cost and effort.
  •   High-quality performance, creating apps that look and feel like a native app.
  •   Quick and efficient development process, making it the perfect choice to develop Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
  •   Developers can create customized complex widgets or use built-in widgets in Flutter’s widget library.
  •   Built-in graphic engine, so developers do not need to make separate interfaces for Android and iOS.

Our Journey to Cross-Platform and the Benefits

Cross-platform frameworks can help to save time, money, and convenience. They cost less, have reusable code, and provide greater user exposure. It’s also easier to prototype or test ideas, quicker to implement updates, and possible to achieve a shorter time-to-market and development timeframe. All these factors and benefits fueled our decision to switch from JavaScript to cross-platform technologies. 

Since we started using React Native at its full potential, user feedback and experience have improved significantly and almost instantaneously. As an example, the Workero project’s transition went so well that we have since developed another app for the same ecosystem.

With other projects, we’ve used React Native from the get-go. For instance, with Growzer, we helped the HoReCa users to efficiently and rapidly manage their day-to-day tasks (restocking, purchasing orders, etc).

Learning Opportunities and Business Growth

After fully embracing the use of React Native, TypeScript, and defensive programming, we’ve seen immense improvements in app stability, UI, and user feedback. But we’re not going to stop here. We learn continuously from our projects by addressing errors and transforming them into learning opportunities.

We have internal systems and hold training sessions or tutorials so that each member of a team is ready and able to access the information needed to handle their tasks. With this approach, we have reduced the number of errors on mobile application projects by 99% using fairly well-defined principles as a defensive program. Andrei, our Mobile Tech Lead, spent four months rewriting an entire application to reduce errors and crashes. Doing this helped to increase the quality and robustness of the app.

We have also introduced fast recovery plans and a defensive programming approach to build apps. The fail-proof recovery plans prevent us from failing. Even if the code is more tedious to write, defensive programming allows us to ensure that the apps run without problems at the end of the day.

React Native allows us to create smaller teams that are also extremely well-organized, dynamic, tech proficient, and flexible. These qualities open doors to adopting bigger and more complex projects. With such smaller and well-prepared teams, the whole setup is cost-efficient and delivers work smoothly. This has had an impact on our Mobile department as it has since grown considerably and continues to expand due to the successful management of various projects.

Implementing cross-platform technologies has helped Expert Network reach further growth, improvement, and success. Although we have yet to implement Flutter in our projects, it is a buzzword that has become a must-know topic in conversations. We stay in the know of upcoming trends and continuously explore the best options to help our clients expand their business and reach sustainable growth.

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Expert Network joined Pangea as part of the global software engineering community

Expert Network joined Pangea as part of the global software engineering community

Iasi, Romania, February 2023: We are happy to announce that Expert Network has joined the Pangea.ai community of elite vendors. This partnership will contribute to our mission of designing and delivering software solutions that will drive our partners’ success stories.

This year, we are honored to have made an essential step forward toward belonging to a first-class universe of vendors, through Pangea. We are now part of the top 7% of global software engineering vendors within this organization.

Together with Pangea, we’ll make dreams happen.

Why did we decide to go through the verification process with Pangea?

Pangea.ai felt like a good fit because it is a self-service marketplace that aids with the discovery, comparison, and engagement of a vetted universe of software development vendors, trusted by leading brands and startups. 

We pursue long-lasting partnerships and we were looking for a place that would open doors for us so that we could help organizations with their tech pains, enabling them to achieve their full potential in their business.

Additionally, one of our ideologies is growth, thinking ahead, and looking for long-lasting and strong collaborations, and Pangea seemed like the right fit.

In order to join them, we had to go through an in-depth verification process that aims to render transparency and a clear understanding of what each organization has to offer to the community.

How was the verification process?

To successfully complete the in-depth process that covered various areas of our business, we included input from our leadership team and views and perspectives from our other team members.

We also covered aspects like our company’s culture, vision, and approach to work. We wanted to offer the community a chance to truly get the Experts, what we stand for, and how we work because we believe that the 18+ years of experience have polished our expertise and approach to business.

Bonding and having fun during our pool party at the office in Iasi, Romania.

As a result, we were quite pleased with the scores we got for various segments of our verification process. For example, our team health score was 8.5 instead of 8.2, the average team health score in the Pangea community.

Also, our average customer journey score was 9.0 while the Pangea community client score has been 8.6. These results are a testament to our teams, that we deliver our best together, and we are committed and keen to leave our mark on our projects to progress:

“The impact of change and how to accept and adapt to it quickly is an essential lesson. From business views to transitioning to new tech, I see change as progress. When working on a new product, there are challenges, ups, and downs. However, the commitment and the support of each team member help us thrive and find the ideal solution. Demanding moments become opportunities for growth and for expanding our perspective and knowledge. Every day I feel inspired by my colleagues, their passion, and how by putting our minds together, we come up with innovative ideas.”
Gabriela, Expert Networks’ Product Owner

What did we achieve and learn during the verification process?

Becoming Pangea-approved has meant that our teams came together and reflected on what it means to be an Expert, what drives them, and how important it is to feel you belong in a company that sees and values you. The surveys made us aware of our fortes and where there’s more room for improvement. 

In a way, we believe that this process brought us closer to each other and more confident in our abilities and top-notch skills, which the Pangea community will enjoy alongside us.

After completing the onboarding process, we are convinced that this partnership is a step forward towards attracting the best talent, working with clients who are a cultural fit, and helping upgrade their business to achieve a competitive advantage.

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What 18 years of Expert Network mean to us

What 18 years of Expert Network mean to us

We’re coming of age!

Yes, we’ve reached our 18 years anniversary and all kinds of feelings are surrounding this milestone. From the founders who remember the shy and uncomplicated beginning, with just three people, to the 100+ Experts who shape the identity of Expert Network today.

In this anniversary article, we’ll share some facts from before & now, and also what our birthday means to us. To make things more interesting, we’ve asked some of our colleagues to answer a few questions for our anniversary. If you’re curious to find out what they said, take a few minutes and relax by reading today’s blog. 

Before & now

Do you know where our company first started?

In a three-bedroom apartment, where the 3 founders rented a room and worked while the client sat behind them.

And now?

We have our own modern campus with a pool in the backyard. We have and purchased constructed two buildings and another one is in development.

Did you know we started with 1 small project?

But now:

  • We have more than 120 delivered projects.
  • There are more than 10 teams working in an Agile way, using Scrum.
  • We are organized into 7 disciplines: .NET, PHP, PO, QA, Mobile, Front-End, UI/UX.
  • We’ve organized 9 editions of .NET internships and 6 editions of QA internships.
  • We work Agile following DevOps principles.
  • We also employ a Team-as-a-Service (Taas) business model.

Q&A with our Experts

As you can see, a lot of things have changed. From the physical space, and the technologies used, to the number of people that are part of Expert Network. Furthermore, we’ve asked a few Experts to answer three questions about our company and how they’ve experienced this journey throughout the years.

1. Share an impactful moment with the company.

“In 2010, when I joined Expert Network as a junior, I had little knowledge about how the web worked and how to build apps. Even if ASP.NET Webforms were still the standard at the time, the framework was cumbersome and not intuitive enough. However, my first “aha!” moment came in 2011 when ASP.NET MVC 3.0 was released. We started working on new projects and I finally understood how the web and HTTP truly worked. After that, developing web applications became increasingly intuitive and actually a lot of fun. After all this time, the best part is that this pattern has continued throughout my career as an Expert. Every step of the way I’ve been exposed to new learning and personal development opportunities. And we’ve had the freedom, incentive, and the opportunity to always go for the latest framework or technology that would allow us to grow as technical people and deliver top products to our clients.” Liviu, Solutions Architect & Delivery Lead

There have been many significant moments for me. One of them would be my first discussion with Vlad, our CEO, and Frederic, Wildstream’s Founder. It was an essential conversation because I was asked to build the QA discipline at the time, and we also talked about a long-term plan moving forward, challenges, and more. This conversation was a stepping stone that determined the roles I would later undertake, leading to good choices and prosperity for the company. Alex, Business Development Manager

“It’s been 13 years since I first started working here, and I’ll always be grateful that from a dev position, I had the opportunity to move through several positions, roles, and challenges and work for different customers, in the end, being able to follow my goals. Even more so, I am happy that I was able to leave a mark, contributing to building and continuously improving the discipline together with my PO colleagues.” Vlad, PO & Discipline Lead

2. What do you think makes Expert Network what it is today?

“People x Tech skills x Delivery Process = Success (for us and for our customers).

I believe this to be our success formula. By this, I don’t mean that we are simply nice people that are technically good or that can manage a process in place. We are all of these combined, which determine our unique culture.” Ruxandra, HR Manager.

“Two aspects contribute to who we are today. The first one is our ability to keep a long-term core of people who collaborate, and share the same experiences and hobbies, while also going through pleasant and difficult moments together. And for the new colleagues, we provide the needed support to help them develop and actively be involved in our community, driven by growth. And the second one is that we offer our clients more than outsourcing, or certain technical solutions. We offer them a delivery model that has a major impact on the client’s key activities.” Iulian, Dev Lead

“Expert Network means people and not a company per se. I have access to the latest tech, my colleagues are open to everything new and it makes me feel supported to develop. When each of us is supported to grow personally and professionally, so does the company. This way, our business value grows and we continue to expand.” Catalin, PHP Discipline Lead

The best part about working here is that I have the freedom, incentive, and opportunity to always go for the latest framework or technology because it allows me, us, to grow as technical people and deliver top products to our clients. Developing web applications is increasingly intuitive and actually a lot of fun. And this pattern has extended to development methodologies, processes, and roles that were needed in order to cater to the growth of EXN. And every step of the way brought, for me, new learning and personal development opportunities. That is why I consider myself lucky to be part of Expert Network from its early beginnings, having gone through all of the changes of a growing company.Liviu, Solutions Architect & Delivery Lead 

“Expert Network equals people. The reason we are so connected and committed to the same goals is that we share common values and qualities: we are like-minded, highly skilled, fun, and playful. Additionally, another impactful aspect is our flat organization which opens up opportunities for us to grow and explore our skillset. And when you top everything with the idea that you are listened to, that you have a voice, and you are supported in your initiatives, you begin to grow and have an impact.” Alex, Business Development Manager

3. What does Expert Network’s 18 years anniversary mean to you?

“18 years come packed with an awesome team, many socializing and fun opportunities, as well as growth and an environment that supports you. I am happy that I work in a mature, medium-sized company that has continuity. I think these years have contributed to the fact that it’s easy to be seen and to assert yourself. Good ideas are taken into account and promoted, as long as you commit and take ownership of them. It truly is an enjoyable place to be a part of.” Catalin, PHP Discipline Lead

“A company with 18 years of experience means stability, adaptability, and balance. It’s no walk in the park to consistently evolve in the IT sector, in Iasi. And Expert Network is advancing in the right direction: we have increased the number of employees, we are trying to form a campus with the purchase of the new building, and we are developing our organizational culture.” Iulian, Dev Lead

“Expert Network = 100+ meaning all of us that work here. And I want to talk about what my colleagues mean to me. Since I started working here, my teammates have been my comrades. They are the people I’ve worked with, built a discipline, and disagreed with. Colleagues that became friends or family, with whom I’ve spent nights working on releases, or people I’ve spent time in the attic trying to power up a server on a Sunday afternoon. Colleagues that shared their happiness and defeats, together we are the core of Expert Network and part of the 18 years journey. Vlad, PO & Discipline Lead

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Native vs. Cross-Platform Mobile App Development: Our switch to Cross-Platform

Native vs. Cross-Platform Mobile App Development: Our switch to Cross-Platform

Smartphone usage and ownership has grown rapidly over the years. As of 2022, 6.64 Billion people (approximately 83.72% of the population) across the globe have smartphones. Business owners and entrepreneurs are quickly realizing that, as a result of this growth, mobile touchpoints have increasingly become one of the most effective channels to reach and engage customers.

The global mobile application market has marked its presence in the digital world, achieving an unparalleled CAGR of around 14.3% and is expected to reach $100 Billion by the end of 2022. Although there are currently 4.4 Million mobile applications available on both the iOS App Store and Google Play Store, further growth is expected as more and more businesses focus on developing mobile applications.

Those who are keen to launch their own mobile application will inevitably stumble upon a choice: Should I choose native or cross-platform mobile development?

Native and cross-platform application development has been a popular point of debate amongst developers for many years. How do they differ? What are the reasons behind our switch to cross-platform frameworks?

Native application development

Native applications are built exclusively for a single platform (iOS, Android or Windows). When building a native app, developers use the particular frameworks, tools and programming languages specifically required for the chosen platform. For example, most native iOS apps use Swift as a programming language, but a native Android app would use Kotlin.

Advantages of native applications:

  • High performance and speed – Since native apps are developed with specific platform requirements and have direct access to the hardware installed on a device (such as memory, camera, sensors, GPS, etc.), they deliver better performance and run faster.
  • Seamless UI/UX – Platform specific UI standards and guidelines result in seamless and more creative UX.
  • Broad functionality – Developers have access to every API and tool provided by the platform.
  • Stable maintenance and updates – Better store support as developers have direct access to all the latest features, interface elements, software development kits (SDKs), and other updated development tools.
  • Stronger security – More tailored and robust security features are available, and updating security measures is quick.

Disadvantages of native applications:

  • High cost – If you want to launch the same app for different platforms (e.g. both iOS and Android), you’ll need separate teams working on each platform.
  • Time consuming – The work done for one platform cannot be duplicated for another, so it doubles the work for initial app development and future maintenance if you launch the same app for different platforms.
  • No code reusability – Coding is done independently for separate native applications, so you can’t reuse code from one platform to another.

Cross-platform application development

Cross-platform applications are built to work on multiple platforms. For example, developers can use tools like React Native, Flutter or Apache Cordova to create apps that can be deployed on both iOS and Android.

Advantages of cross-platform applications:

  • Lower cost – You only need one team to create a cross-platform app and there’s less expenses when it comes to maintenance.
  • Faster development and time-to-market – Only a single cycle of development is needed to create an app that runs on multiple platforms.
  • Code reusability – Since the app is created with a single cross-platform development tool, only a single code base is created.
  • Greater exposure – Since they can run on multiple platforms, a larger number of users can use it.
  • Easier testing and quicker updating – It’s easier to test an idea or prototype and catch bugs, and quicker to implement updates.

Disadvantages of cross-platform applications:

  • Runs slower – The need for additional abstraction layers and rendering processes makes the cross-platform app slower.
  • Limited functionality and support – Third-party libraries or SDKs may not support all cross-platform app development frameworks and developers may have difficulty accessing smartphone functionalities (like the microphone, camera and GPS) in ways possible for a native app.
  • Limited UX – Some native UX components will be out of reach so it won’t be able to deliver the same UX experience.

Native vs cross-platform application development

When it comes down to deciding between native and cross-platform applications, it does depend on your requirements.

If you aren’t in a rush to launch an application, have the resources, and need to build an application with complex and unique features (VR, Animations, built-in games, etc.) that require superior speed, performance, visuals, and user experience, then go native.

Choose cross-platform if you have a short time-to-market deadline, a smaller budget, are looking to test or prototype an idea, or need to reach a broader customer base.

Our switch to cross-platform frameworks

The brilliant thing about technology is that it advances continuously. Until a few years ago, native application development was the only choice for companies that depended on mobile applications as a business tool.

Although they are not all created equal, several mature and competitive cross-platform frameworks exist in the market today. These superior frameworks are the tools that developers use to easily merge non-native code with platform-specific functionality (for example, developing Android and iOS applications from a single source code), which makes the mobile application development process simple.

At Expert Network, we’ve done our fair share of native development for modules of apps, which could be independently built, tested, and debugged. These were designed for various functionalities (such as reading identity cards or GPS modules) and one such notable project is Rent A Car. However, we’ve made the switch to cross-platform frameworks after extensive research, learning from previous projects, and experiencing benefits.

Cross-platform frameworks such as React Native have a well-established community, offer improved user experience, allow bigger teams, are flexible and safer. At Expert Network, we build applications with a defensive programming approach, which makes our apps robust and enables fast recovery. Although cross-platform apps are generally known to encounter more errors and bugs, our defensive programming approach allows us to implement fast recovery plans and ensures that applications run with no problems even if the code is more tedious to write. Furthermore, despite cross-platform apps’ reputation for inferior UX, we hold internal training sessions and tutorials so each of our developers are skilled enough to deliver user experiences that undoubtedly rival native applications.

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Why We’ve been Focusing on a Growth Mindset

Why We’ve been Focusing on a Growth Mindset

Ever since the lines between work and personal life have been blurred due to the pandemic, we’ve had to meet the challenges ahead and take into account its impact on our colleagues. After all, without our people, their well-being, and happiness, Expert Network wouldn’t be what it is today.

It became certain that navigating global uncertainty, fears, and restrictions wouldn’t be easy for anyone. Without a second thought, we started investigating to identify the matters that were within our power to improve, at least in the professional environment.

Our solutions?

To focus on and draw attention to well-being and personal growth. We began creating a context for our colleagues to connect, discover, and interact with new concepts and approaches, all to enrich their outlook on life.

In today’s blog post, we’ll share how we redefined well-being, focusing on a growth mindset. What actions did we take and what changes have they brought forward? If you’re curious to learn more about our journey, take a few minutes and enjoy the read.

Our research and plan:

At the start of 2021, our HR team began their research to identify an appropriate approach that would help our colleagues to navigate the demands of the new context on top of their regular workload more easily. The first step was to understand our colleagues’ reality: their needs, struggles, and how to come to their aid.

For example, in the IT sector, the nature of tech roles requires deep focus, where a software engineer needs to stay productive and concentrated on a task for long hours. This makes it difficult for them to make time to focus on self-management or self-knowledge methods to maintain their energy levels and overall well-being.

However, even if we were to do the research and identify solutions, we’d still need to provide an action plan and topics that would really benefit our colleagues and spark their interest. As such, we understood the importance of continued support and guidance if we were to trigger their development.

As a result, three initiatives were introduced: internal training sessions on personal development and well-being, nudges, and short weekly presentations during company meetings.

1. Internal training sessions

In the past few years, we’ve been more focused on a growth mindset – which is also the basis of our approach to high-performance software delivery. This meant creating opportunities for learning and development, more precisely, soft skills and personal development. By introducing these internal sessions, we aimed to educate, inform and eliminate misconceptions regarding various concepts. Ultimately, we wanted to equip our teams with useful information and instruments that would enable them to be more balanced, productive, and at ease.

By planning training sessions on time management or how to efficiently deliver feedback, we offered them the chance to explore these approaches. More precisely, how they can help to simplify things, the impact they have, and how to create a context for colleagues to apply the knowledge they learned.

Based on our colleagues’ needs, we put together 7 topics on personal development and well-being, which we organized into 2–3 hour sessions. Additionally, colleagues were given the choice to select training topics that resonated most with them and we adapted the schedules so they could make the most of the experience.

However, after the first sessions, Sabina, our HR Generalist, made an important observation. The sessions alone wouldn’t be enough to enable behavioral change, as information by itself can be easily forgotten. But, inspired by the Nudge Theory developed by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Sabina saw the solution to forgetfulness: nudges.

2. Nudges

The introduction of our Expert Nudges seemed logical and natural. Sabina explains:
“I became curious to delve into the subject and look for the basis, the theory behind this approach. I consulted other books and research to fill in the missing information about nudge theory.”

But what is a nudge?
According to Behavioural Design, “A nudge is any small feature in the environment that attracts our attention and alters our behaviour.” If you understand how people think, you can design choice environments that make it easier for them to select what is best for themselves. In other words, a nudge is created to help people make positive choices in their work and life.

Many theories have revealed that we learn more (and retain it better) when we study in short focused bursts rather than when we’re forced to sit through hour-long classes. So Sabina’s goal was to identify how nudges can be best used for our organization and how to structure the information so that it truly offers real value as well as quick and impactful advice for our colleagues.

Sabina began by prioritizing the things that were easiest to implement either on the spot or on that day based on previously held training sessions. For example, based on the topic of Emotional Intelligence, she created 4 nudges that were sent weekly to refresh everyone’s memory with different actions that could be implemented for healthier behavior.3. Let’s Connect Presentation

The third initiative to support our approach was Sabina’s short presentations during our weekly internal meetings. This initiative was also a request from within our teams, to expand their general knowledge. She introduces a topic on well-being or personal development and she explains the importance, benefits, and how to apply it to our lives.

“These presentations are complementary to our internal training sessions and are easier to digest and implement. This is because I introduce and explain less content, it has a weekly frequency, and it offers colleagues the opportunity to dive deeper into a subject. And if they want, they can access the links provided at the end.”

Sabina creates a slide on our meeting presentation where she explains the novel concept. She then engages colleagues to ask questions and share their opinions, making sure the information discussed is clear.

The results

Since these initiatives have been implemented, changes have started to happen:

  • By communicating online (and soon face-to-face), we had the chance to interact with and get to know each other better, which has sparked beautiful conversations.
  • Many colleagues began using certain techniques to increase their productivity.
  • Other colleagues discovered new concepts, explored them in-depth, and then shared useful information with others.
  • Other colleagues voiced the need to continue internal training sessions with other topics, demonstrating their openness to exploring new ideas and approaches.
  • Nudges have been considered for technical training as well, and are currently part of a work-in-progress project at the discipline level.
  • Many colleagues reported that they enjoyed the initiatives. They did their best to implement the recommended actions and mentioned that it’s “good to have nuggets of knowledge” presented weekly.

At Expert Network, the well-being and personal growth of our people have become important. The introduction of internal training sessions, nudges, and short weekly presentations has successfully drawn more attention towards these aspects. As of now, our colleagues have begun experiencing better relations amongst colleagues, open mindsets and further interest in new approaches. We aim to continuously provide our people with the support and guidance they need to enrich their well-being and growth.

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17 Questions for 17 Years of Expert Network

17 Questions for 17 Years of Expert Network

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.” (Socrates)

For our anniversary this year, we’ve decided to ask Vlad, our CEO, how Expert Network has changed over the years. We thought it would be best for you to hear about our transformation, right from the main source.

And what better way to do it if not through a Q&A, where Vlad answered 17 questions, asked by our colleagues, about the company’s beginning, his vision then and now, plus other interesting facts.

So sit down, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, and read through Expert Network’s history.

 

1. How did you come up with the idea for Expert Network?

I have always been a curious person that enjoys exploring new opportunities and connecting with people that I can learn from, to expand my perspective. And the idea for the company was rather spontaneous because I didn’t plan it. An opportunity arose, to work on an ERP for an Italian client, and from there, things evolved naturally.

2. How did EXN look like in 2004 when it all started?

The beginning was very modest, like all startups. Myself, Andrei (our current InfoSec Manager), and Traian (a developer friend) rented a plain room in an apartment. We’ve put three desks for us to work from, and in the other room of the apartment, a Java company also had its ‘headquarters’. So it was nothing sophisticated or polished. Our focus was just to deliver the tech solutions for our client.

3. What were your biggest fears back then?

Back then we didn’t think in terms of fear, but in terms of productivity – Let’s build something worthy and useful that will actually help our client. What made me worry was not to fail the only client we had. We needed to make his business work, and meet his needs, because this way, it showed our capabilities and the added value we were able to bring.

4. How did you stay motivated to expand the business?

Back then, I was not inclined towards thinking strategically about the future. The focus was on delivering quality, achieving the client’s requirements. This came naturally because I knew the quality I wanted to have and maintain. Once I would achieve the set goals, I would have immense personal satisfaction. So it has to do with the right mindset – to keep going and look for value.

Also, I believe I have had this point of view ever since I was little. My family would tell the story of when I was two, riding the tram with my grandfather and as I was looking at the window, I would notice the screws around it that weren’t put in the right order. This realization upset me because I wanted the screws to look aligned. So I believe that from an early age I was inclined towards symmetry, and being orderly.

5. How did you think Expert Network would look like in 10-20 years?

This wasn’t a point of view I considered back then. Everything was in fast-forward, firefighting mode. Together with Andrei and Traian, we would be in daily calls with the client and then we would discuss how to deal with the tasks ahead. We didn’t have a plan, we didn’t follow guidelines or specific good practices. We would brainstorm ideas, someone would write them down and we learned step by step how to be better and optimize our work. It was all based on trial and error and we would learn the ropes as we moved forward.

6. What have been the challenges over time?

There have been two crucial moments. In 2005, the only Italian client we had, came to the conclusion that he could no longer support our 3-person team. So he gave us a 3-month notice that we had managed to extend into a 6-month part-time, giving us enough time to get in touch with the second client (from the UK) and with Wildstream.

Another challenging time was in 2020, with the pandemic. The main concern was related to the potential difficulties of our customers that had the risk to be transmitted back to us. Through steady leadership and everyone’s dedication, we’ve managed the entire process smoothly.

7. What were the most important moments of Expert Network?

  • Taking over the second room for rent.
  • The proposal we made to Wildstream to evolve the customer-supplier relationship into a complete partnership.
  • Moving to an office building and then moving to our current location.
  • Creating and working on the campus, adding the second building and the swimming pool.
  • Putting together our leadership team.
  • Perfecting our processes through Bamboo, our internal change management system, until we transitioned to the company’s maturity model, company values, DevOps, career path, and more.
 

8. How was the transition from 3 employees in 2004 to 100 employees at the end of 2021?

It was an incredible journey that seems to have passed in a flash. Getting 100 employees was possible because of the people that I am so grateful for. We’ve managed to attract amazing, highly skilled people and each of them has come with a complementary skillset and mindset. So now we are like-minded people that share common values, a mutual mission, all committed and passionate about what we do. I couldn’t have asked for more.

9. Does the company still resemble what it was in 2004?

Certainly not. Only the name has stayed the same.

10. What are the ingredients to maintain a successful business?

Everything is done with people. So definitely a passionate team gathered around common values ​​and ideals can move mountains.

11. How hard was it for you to move from developer to manager?

Looking back, I realize that from the beginning I had to do more than development. From the start, I had to be an account manager and soon a planning coordinator, a technical coach, a QA (without a defined structure), even a recruiter. So I’ve learned to adapt along the way.

12. How did you decide to build Expert Network’s pool?

Together with Frederic Apers (CEO Carflow / Executive Board Member Wildstream), we thought about how we could make the work environment special, warm and welcoming, where colleagues would enjoy coming here, bonding with each other, and even create long-term friendships. That’s how the idea was born, and from there to execution was only a step.

13. How many frogs have you found in the pool over the years?

At first, I remember frogs were a problem but I can’t remember how many exactly. What’s been unusual are the cats. They’re somehow attracted to the water and some even jumped in the pool and we had to take them out.

14. How many grey hairs has the third building given you?

Not too many. In life, there are things we can control and others we can’t. All we can do in the second case is give our best to find solutions and unblock things. Energy consumption about things we can’t control only takes us away from our goals, so it’s not worth it. I’d rather think about how I could have moved forward with the building instead of looking back to complain about how I’ve been stuck.

15. What do you like the most about what you do?

I like creating value, which manifests itself in several ways: from colleagues who grow in expertise to products that are born again in the company.

16. What would you have done differently if you were to start all over again?

From the beginning, I would have taken the path towards strategic thinking. I would visualize things from a long-term perspective to set them in motion. So, I would start by quitting the firefighting mode to be able to see the bigger picture and plan ahead.

17. How do you manage to organize yourself with work and family life?

What’s important in life is to do things with passion. When you do them with pleasure, you find time for everything. Time is an excuse to postpone things we don’t like, that we don’t enjoy. You will always find time for something that excites and stimulates you and you’ll somehow make room for that in your life.

Regarding my family, I’m very lucky that I can separate work from my personal time. With three young children, managing a business and communicating with clients would have been quite difficult. Even the time I spend while driving to work gives me a valuable context to be with myself and let my thoughts settle. What is certain is that I never have too much time, quite the opposite.

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The Role and Impact of a Technical Discipline Lead

The Role and Impact of a Technical Discipline Lead 

Although the tech world evolves rapidly with new technologies emerging constantly, IT and software development is actually a long and complex process. The creation of technological solutions requires the efforts, skills and communication of innumerable people all layered together. This is why the list of members and roles involved in software development teams are actually quite long. Each member on a development team serves a crucial purpose, but this article will delve into the role and impact of a technical discipline leader.

To find out more, we went straight to a source: our technical lead, Andrei. Throughout this article, Andrei shares useful information about his duties and responsibilities as a Mobile Discipline Leader and the impact it has on the way we do business. How does his role help us to keep our high standards while delivering top solutions tailored to our customers’ needs? What is our advice for those who want to tackle similar roles?

What is a technical discipline leader?

A technical discipline leader, or Tech Lead, is the main contact and person responsible for leading development teams and aligning them towards a common technical vision or goal. In other words, they are experienced and knowledgeable developers that take on a management role.

Tech Leads are good communicators that guide teams, help to resolve conflicts or issues that arise, and have an in-depth understanding of product and customer needs. Their role is important to tech companies as they mediate technical or critical decisions, lead and empower team members, and ensure that successful products are delivered to meet customer needs.

What does the role of a technical discipline leader at Expert Network encompass?

The specific duties and responsibilities of Tech Leads can vary according to company needs. As a Tech Lead at Expert Network, Andrei’s duties and responsibilities fall into four main categories: internal management, mentorship, supporting others, and keeping up with tech updates.

1. Internal management
A part of Andrei’s responsibility as a Tech Lead is to conduct training sessions and align with other disciplines. He’s in charge of training front-end teams about React and also holds training sessions for our Full Stack .NET internship. For the latter, he presents interns with basic information related to front-end operations and introduces them to React so they can familiarize themselves with these concepts, their impact, importance, and more.

Andrei takes on a support and advisor role for most of our projects and remains constantly available to his teams. His impact as a Tech Lead is crucial here as he ensures that any arising issues are resolved quickly and products are delivered on time.

Another aspect of Andrei’s duties is to communicate closely with the company’s stakeholders. He ensures that we receive positive feedback from them and that he has a thorough understanding of their needs and requirements every step of the way. Besides this, he is also close to our teams. He supervises their activity, oversees their needs, and provides support when necessary. Through Andrei’s approach and guidance, his teammates are empowered to solve certain issues with their own abilities and he helps them to learn from mistakes so they can become autonomous.

Andrei isn’t limited to a tech role and he teaches others to do the same. Our line of work requires people skills, empathy, a global mindset and perspective on a project. In order to make improvements, we need to give business advice and provide solutions from beyond a technical standpoint. Ultimately, thinking outside the box and considering the needs of a project from multiple different angles is what separates Expert Network from other businesses. In this respect, one of Andrei’s duties is to single out key people within our teams that are capable of handling and providing both technical and soft business skills. As these members gain confidence and perfect their capabilities, they become autonomous, powerful, and efficient at what they do.

2. Mentorship
Andrei constantly interacts with his peers, observing their tech and soft skills. This enables him to conduct accurate and pertinent evaluations that help him to establish which projects, roles, and tasks are suitable to a particular person.

According to him, the greatest challenge here lies in identifying the right mentoring or teaching style to suit each individual. Everybody learns differently, so it’s essential to empathize with them and view things from their perspective in order to create a mentoring style that suits them. Although these aspects require time, they are incredibly rewarding. Andrei has been able to achieve incredible progress and results with individuals by dedicating himself to such tasks. Individuals open up more as he builds trust with them, allowing him to use the right method, style and approach to help them grow and progress rapidly. It has become a personal drive for Andrei and he dedicates himself 100% to bringing all his team members to a high level.

3. Supporting others
Our colleague emphasizes the importance of working together, being a team player, and learning from each other – working towards a collective well-being rather than for individual gain. We’ve seen the difference in how efficiently and effectively we work when we leverage the work of others because we have an impact through our shared effort.

By tapping into the knowledge and skills of our teams, we work together towards a common goal, drawing out the commitment to achieve clear results.

4. Keeping up with tech updates
Staying informed and updated on new technologies in the appMobile sector (such as React-Native, React, JavaScript, etc.) is crucial. This also applies to adjacent technologies as they provide a broader understanding and perspective. Andrei also makes sure that he has a thorough understanding of back-end technologies and databases as they allow him to achieve greater depth in his activities.

Additionally, our environment encourages progressive and efficient automation, innovation with an emphasis on metrics and high-performance delivery. And DevOps incorporates them all.
But making the transition is no walk in the park, and it is an ongoing operation that delivers benefits and real value to us. Through its implementation, we save time, reduce human error, and ultimately, we bring more value to the customer.

From Andrei’s side, he is hands-on involved in planning DevOps pipelines and helping out with project automation on various projects. Even during our tech training sessions, various DevOps solutions are presented and explained so that everyone is enabled to broaden their perspective, becoming well-equipped to deal with various tasks.

Key challenges, rewards, and activities of a technical discipline leader

Based on Andrei’s experience, the key challenges, rewards, and activities of a Tech Lead at Expert Network can be summarized as such.

Challenges:
  • Adapting to and identifying what works best for colleagues under his mentorship
  • Being flexible and working on multiple projects at the same time
  • Managing the Mobile Applications Discipline
  • Awakening the talents and possibilities within individuals to deliver extraordinary results
Rewards:
  • Watching others grow as they become masters in their craft
  • Having his voice heard and a company-wide impact
  • Helping businesses to succeed
Activities:
  • Mentoring, training, and workshops
  • Building the front-end discipline
  • Providing guidance on multiple projects
  • Taking on a support and advisory role

Seven tips from the Experts

For those who want to tackle the role of a Tech Lead, here are seven tips of advice:

  1. Do your best to understand a client’s business so that you can grasp the needs and decisions behind a project. Sometimes the business decisions weigh heavier than the tech ones, so it’s important to be aware of them.
  2. Work on diverse projects. Gaining experience by tackling various new situations will help you to grow as you are forced out of your comfort zone. It’s the only way to improve and adapt. You will also identify best practices that you can apply to each future project and team.
  3. See the bigger picture. Being flexible is essential as you need to be able to zoom out and identify the best course of action on a project. This is necessary because the end goal is to advance the business and get the most out of a collaboration.
  4. Avoid getting too immersed in your point of view, or getting irritated when things don’t go your way. Communicate with management when you wish to voice your ideas or concerns, but be mindful of other points of view.
  5. Be patient and understanding, and learn to separate personal aspects of your life from business. This will enable you to help others fully since you will be able to actively listen to them, analyze their key strengths, discuss what is not acceptable openly and how to improve a situation. By doing so, you will know how to approach them to stimulate improvement on all levels.
  6. Focus on a core skill set. Rather than knowing a little about everything, be proficient at a core skill set before diversifying your tech knowledge. When you decide to expand your knowledge, focus on a basic understanding of new tech.
  7. Integrate with large existing codebases. Have a support system for your teammates so they can share their experiences with different integrations in projects. This way, they can learn from each other.

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