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6 things to know about Poles

08.05.2017

Software Mind

6 things to know about Poles... before you start outsourcing software development to them

So you’ve already heard all about how great Polish software developers really are. You realize just how beneficial software development outsourcing to Poland may be. That’s great. But when it comes to working remotely on software projects, far more factors that just programming skills and money need to be accounted for. Are you ready to actually work with Polish people? Read our how-to-Polish guide and you just may get your answer.

Modern software development requires a tremendous amount of adaptability. Projects requirements change, people change, attitudes change, markets change  - that’s precisely the reason why agile and lean methods of product development are so popular. They are merely an answer to what’s inherent about the fast-changing world of software development we live in today.

Using software development outsourcing may at first glance halve your costs, but should you fail to  establish an efficient cooperation with your remote team, those inherent problems will inevitably emerge – lack of mutual understanding of what constitutes deliverables, no team spirit, secrets, delays and so on. Even agile teams aren’t bulletproof. To avoid these problems and make sure that your cooperation with a foreign outsourcing team is tip top, you need to understand their feelings and motivations.

Since you are here, you want to know what Polish people are all about. Well… here we go.

They are hard working… sometimes to the extremes

According to a 2015 study by OCED, Polish people are only second to Greeks when it comes to working hard, putting up a whopping 1918 of working hours each year[1]. A similar study by the  European Committee also classified Poland 2nd in Europe with an average of 42.5 working hours weekly. There is even a stereotype of a hard working, overzealous Polish worker, particularly popular in the UK. “No work, no cake” – as they say in Poland.

Of course, not all Polish people are hard working. But since work ethics in Poland are really strong (an inheritance of the communism, perhaps?), you are likely to find a team that will do their best and even go as far as criticizing themselves should they be not satisfied with their performance.

They are natural-born entrepreneurs… with all the consequences it entails

In early 90-es, when Polish people could finally start doing business freely, it soon turned out that… we are actually a nation full of entrepreneurs. As to why is that – some of the next pieces may give you a clue. The fact of the matter is that many Poles are starting their own small businesses. At the same time, Polish tech companies such as CD Projekt or Techland are proving that a worldwide success and love of millions of fans around the globe are not beyond the reach of Polish entrepreneurs.

When it comes to software development outsourcing, an entrepreneurial mindset may point to independence and creativity. But at times, it may cause them to be overly opinionated and difficult to convince to change their mind about anything.

If things fall apart… they will tell you

“They are straightforward” - it’s one of the most common remarks about Polish people you can find. Is that a good thing? Not always. Some people need a lot of space and don’t appreciate being approached in such a direct fashion. But when it comes to software development, it’s definitely a desirable you should learn to appreciate.

In some countries, companies engaging in outsourcing are often falling victim of overt politeness. Their willingness to please causes them to tell you that “everything is fine” - until you yourself discover otherwise (usually too late to avoid a disaster). You are not likely to experience this problem in Poland. If the project doesn’t proceed smoothly, you will be promptly informed. And after a short burst of anger, you will be glad that you learned about it so quickly.

They know how to kombinować

The word “kombinować” is a unique Polish thing. There isn’t a good alternative to it in the English dictionary. It has become popular back when Poland was a communist country and various shortages of common goods forced Polish to kombinować, that is, to try to find a different way out. Depending on a situation, a problem might have been solved by “knowing the right person” or using similar ingredients to replace a missing one, or any other crazy ad hoc measure.

In practice, it means that Polish software developers tend to be creative and able to find a unique solution to any problem – a priceless trait in the world of agile and iterative product development when the final version of a product is determined as we go. But watch out for those who will try to kombinować with you!

They know how to take care of themselves

Being a student in a Polish high school or university isn’t always a walk in the park. Since Polish schools often provide free education, they do not pamper their students. They want and expect quality from them. If one can’t keep up with the intensity of studying in such a place, they may be simple forced (or even expected) to drop out.

It’s sometimes a cold environment. But it does succeed in producing software developers that know how to adapt to any situation, work hard on their own terms and keep their head cool no matter what the situation is.

They are adaptable and… conservative about it

For economical reasons, a lot of Polish schools have been also known to lack all the equipment necessary for students to study. In theory, it should be especially hurtful for tech students who are often in need of machines and expensive software licenses as they practice to become professional software developers. But at the same, it thought them to work using low levels solutions and focus on actual problems and projects – rather than tools that may (or may not) help deal with them.

This again makes Polish developers extremely self-sufficient, adaptable and project-oriented. But it may at times make them quite confident and conservative about methods that may really be simply outdated. If you are confident that you want to use a certain tool and know for a fact that it may improve the workflow, your best approach is to explain its importance with facts and logic. It should get through… to most of them.

In software development outsourcing, mutual understand of needs and the entire project is the key to success. As cliché as it sounds – it always proves true. Polish software developers have a tremendous potential, but as it’s usually the case, there are also things you need be wary of. We hope that our little guide armed you with knowledge necessary to get the most out of your cooperation with Polish developers. And if you feel you are ready to do it now, you can simply contact us and tell us all about your next project.



[1]  http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/04/21/oecd-greeks-are-hardest-working-people-in-europe/


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