A strategic approach to knowledge transfer in IT projects

Maria Kucharczyk

26 Aug 2020.6 minutes read

A strategic approach to knowledge transfer in IT projects webp image

Access to the know-how, higher commitment to the project, and common goals for all parties involved. A recipe for a successful software project delivery.

Knowledge is a driver of innovation and competitive advantage. Embedded in developers’ experiences and know-how it constitutes the “mind” of an organization. This “mind” is responsible for who we are as a company, how we work as a team, and finally for what value our clients get, besides a simple “work done”.

Exactly, is “a job well done” enough in the software development world? Definitely not. The market demands something "extra", which often is the company's secret sauce. This involves building valuable business relationships and keeping clients satisfied after they receive a scalable and working software.

How does knowledge transfer improve IT projects?

In a recent developers debate we were asked what is a better strategy for a software agency: a number of small projects or one big project?

On the one hand, it's good to have a lot of projects, because we minimize the risk. On the other hand, really big and exciting things happen in bigger projects. These are the real battlefields that make us better engineers. But playing a card on just one or a few big projects entails a lot of financial risk when the deal is lost. Ironically, it can happen more often if software companies play fair without unethical vendor lock-in games. So, how to attract, gain and keep happy clients in the IT world?

| Read the full interview with our CEO, Tomasz Szymański (in Polish language)

The competition in tech is strong. To provide value to clients we need to do much more beyond just developing bullet-proof solutions.

The understanding of what clients want, combined with our engineers' know-how is our knowledge base and a part of the secret sauce clients value about the cooperation with us. We found an effective knowledge transfer process to be the essential formula for achieving successful projects outcomes and having satisfied, engaged clients.

| We’ve been recognized among top Software Developers in Poland for 2020 - it couldn’t be possible without the support of our clients!

Here’s how by partnering with us you get access to knowledge and almost 600 years of coding experience gained by more than 40 software engineers.

What does knowledge mean to us

A strategic approach to discovering, collating and sharing knowledge across SoftwareMill and outside, with our clients, is a natural way we operate. It didn’t come out of the blue, from day one we started remote-only, we knew that only by creating an open and trustful, continuous learning environment, we could thrive in a fully distributed model. It also presented the opportunity to go global-first and to focus on hiring amazing people with great skills.

Knowledge is the bedrock of our culture. An interactive exchange of experiences guarantees us continuous improvement over time and creates business benefits for us and the clients alike.

"SoftwareMill is a true partner. We're impressed by their development capabilities and the expertise they share with us. The team is always ready to go and jump into a new aspect of the project or technical challenge, not hesitating to use the collective know-how the whole company has gathered."
Krzysztof Góra, Tech Lead, Primavera Parfum

The need for expanding competences and mastering new technologies is particularly true in the IT industry. As projects become more complex and technologically advanced, we need to adopt collaborative forms of project delivery. Software development has plenty of methods and tools for it.

Here’s the approach to sharing our know-how and creating open and transparent business processes we practice.

How do we make sure that our expertise benefits clients fully

Widening technical horizons

We exchange knowledge freely between projects and all team members. We build our technical excellence by learning from others and sharing our accomplishments and failures. This means we are sincere and technically honest in our blogs and that we aim to teach and contribute and put ourselves out there in the community. Or code, including open-source, is well-engineered and solves real business problems. Majority of our developers are conference speakers and trainers.

Proactive approach to projects

When working with clients, understanding the big picture allows us to give honest feedback, and assist the client in improving their business processes. We found two important ingredients that make the collaboration with a client work: it’s the proper project kick-off and focus on communication.

When starting a project, and later during its course, we engage the client in open discussions about issues that are key to them, proactively advising and sharing our expertise.

Delivering projects remotely for past years taught us a lot about proven plays of remote software development and working in distributed teams. This expertise is valuable to the organisations we are partnering with, by making them sure we know how to work remotely and also by compensating for the distance and detachment.

| Get the Remote Software Development eBook here

What are the example benefits of our approach?

  • We go beyond just executing tasks. When we see that there is some technical challenge on the client’s side, that is not necessarily related to the scope of the project we’re working on, nor the role we’re filling, we make sure to reach out, offer help and ask around for expertise and opinion. There’s a #technical channel on our company’s Slack, where we daily discuss ideas and help each other out. For example, when a client needs help in the DevOps area, but they didn’t hire a DevOps engineer from us, asking for quick advice from our experts is often a no-brainer.
  • In this spirit it is not uncommon that we organize extra consultations for clients on Reactive Programming or Apache Kafka, that are held by our certified developers, after clients heard about our expertise in this area during the time we’ve been working together (check out our eBook about Apache Kafka)
  • Our proactivity and sharp skills in remote communication are also priceless in everyday candid situations that require open communication and developer’s mindset. If we don’t know something, we’re not afraid to ask or come out about things that we think could be improved. Starting from our hiring process, we make sure everyone who joins the team practices such work ethic, because it simplifies the process of software development, and helps avoid bottlenecks.
  • Finally our legacy of tech blogs, conference talks and workshops is often a great way to answer clients’ questions. In SoftwareMill we hold Friday Market meetings - presentations about the new things that someone learned and wants to share with the rest of the team. In some projects we did similar keynotes and fireside chats for developers from a clients’ side.

Gain access to our developers knowledge

Always committed to actionable next steps, we are a trusted partner in digital transformation. Our engineers have skills and experience that are definitely our greatest asset. As developers, we are curious by nature, always ready for brainstorming sessions, trainings, courses and having a discussion with our clients.

Have a project in mind? Our software engineering task force is here to help. Let's talk!

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