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Ciklum Interview - August 2022

This is a subpage containing additional details for its parent page: Background -> Ciklum.

In Aug 2022 CN Group officially merged with Ciklum. So after rebranding us as Ciklum, I answered a set of questions from the new Marketing Department I was working with. 

Here is the interview:

We are designing and implementing a software framework that transforms a massive amount of data into valuable information and knowledge for the aerospace and defence industries. I find it fascinating that the code we write contributes to making daily thousands of flights possible, around the world.

We are working Agile, building software mostly based on the Java stack, following modern cloud-based architectural approaches and using up-to-date techniques and tools for CI/CD, version control, automation and infrastructure as code.

This is a project planned to take about 18 months and has high complexity. There is no way you can see it as a monolith. Technically and contextually speaking, there are a lot of variables. In this time span, a lot of things are changing – people are coming and leaving, international politics and economics are changing, other projects – our dependencies are changing and sometimes even requirements and acceptance criteria are changing, because of the previously mentioned changes.

But the final goal and the time and budget are the statics. So, you have to figure out how to use at maximum efficiency the resources you have, what the needed structure of the team is, and how to prioritize activities in a matter that everyone in the team is not only busy but also efficient. Whenever someone in the team is being replaced, you have to find ways to accommodate the new team member, to prepare good training for them, based on their experience and skill set. It’s like you have to make a big multi-dimensional puzzle: on one side there are the technical requirements of the project, on the other side, there is the member’s set of skills and the structure of the team, on the other side there is the overall timeline and budget and so on.

Another major challenge is that we are working in parallel with two clients of our customers. This means the same team have to deal actually with 2 timelines and customised requirements at the same time. So, sometimes, preparing efficiently the sprint planning becomes really interesting.

But these challenges make us better, and stronger and help us grow. 

Throughout my entire life, I have been involved in projects and organisations that enabled me to do what I love, but this project is among the few where I was able to combine three major interests of my life: technical expertise, leadership and multiculturality. And I am proud and grateful that I have the chance to work on a project where all of them converge.

Another thing that I am proud of is that in the past 3 years, we managed to grow our team from 4 members to 19 and nowadays we are even allowed to represent our customers in front of their clients.  This is proof of the trust we got, after a long and fruitful collaboration.

We are working on this team for one year and to this date, we still did not meet each other in person. I think this kind of collaboration creates new types of connections between colleagues that probably were not even known to so many of us until recently.

Besides the technical knowledge we have in common, there are also a lot of differences between team members, as most of us are living in different cultures. So we have the privilege to be able to discuss about so many things we have different and to always learn new things from others.

Our current project is not a regular software development project. We have a team split into 3 sub-teams (DevOps, Dev, QA), so we coagulated ourselves into a small unit.

Shortly, I would describe the atmosphere in the team as friendly, relaxed, respectful and meaningful. I believe that if every organization would have collaborated as respectful as we do, the world would have been a more peaceful place.

Our team is as multicultural as you can get: we are working across 7 time zones (India, Romania + Ukraine, Czech Republic + Slovakia, UK, US Eastern, Central and Mountain) and 5 companies. This has so many advantages and comes with a lot of opportunities.

For example, almost anytime someone in the team is awake, because of the time zones. So it does not matter so much if you are a late or morning person. This provides us with a lot of program flexibility and I think this is actually a privilege even for our industry.

Also, we have the opportunity to constantly learn from other cultures, understand others better and make friends across the Globe.