Andrzej Chybicki: The use of Artificial Intelligence already constitutes a significant part of the projects carried out by our teamAndrzej Chybicki: The use of Artificial Intelligence already constitutes a significant part of the projects carried out by our team
Andrzej Chybicki: The use of Artificial Intelligence already constitutes a significant part of the projects carried out by our team
Experts predict that the market for software utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and generate content in response to user commands will nearly quadruple by the year 2027. How can you benefit from this growth and prepare your team for new challenges and projects? CEO of Inero Software, Andrzej Chybicki, has shared his extensive experience and observations. In the following interview, he discusses how to manage remote teams in the IT services market and whether he foresees the advent of “teams of the future”.
Marta Kuprasz: I would like to ask you, as an experienced leader of a team of developers, how do you organize the work of distributed teams that are working on several projects? Additionally, I’m curious about your perspective on whether there’s a crisis in the IT services market and whether significant changes are on the horizon. To start from the beginning: For six years, you and Waldemar Korłub have been building Inero Software. During this time, you have refined processes related to managing a team of programmers. How do you approach the topic of implementing a new project and dividing tasks?
Andrzej Chybicki: The pandemic has changed the approach to remote work. What was previously rarely used has become fashionable and acceptable to both sides. Both employees and we – employers have noticed many advantages of this solution, such as lower labor costs, convenience, access to a larger pool of specialists, and time savings. There are also, of course, disadvantages. After a few years of such cooperation, we see that it is definitely more difficult to build interpersonal relationships when there is a lack of a common office, conversations, and meetings. The situation has made it possible for employees to lose the sense that they are part of a team, that they are building something together. We decided to create a process and culture, the combination of which helped us build a good framework for cooperation between the parties. We know that conversations are not only an exchange of information but also relationships, which is why we included regular project meetings in our work schedule. These are sometimes tedious but necessary processes of code quality verification, meetings monitoring progress, planning that takes into account the needs of our clients. During these meetings, we discuss what we expect from the team, while also collecting feedback from our programmers. I believe that a clear definition of responsibilities is more important than ongoing micromanagement. It is key that everyone knows how their actions affect the entire project. Awareness of these issues is extremely important.
“We decided to create a process and culture, the combination of which helped us build a good framework for cooperation between the parties. “
It’s also essential to set clear, realistic goals for a given project, which are delegated to individual teams or people. The team must be aware of how to implement a given idea and who is responsible for each area. Transparency in communication is, in my opinion, very important, especially among young people working remotely. Importantly, it should work both ways, i.e., we make our programmers aware that they also need to clearly communicate problems, delays, and errors, that occur in every project.
MK: What tools do you use for work planning and task assignment?
AC: In this, tools like Jira and GitLab help, but it must be remembered that they do not create the quality of services – that is our task. In long-term cooperation with a client, regularity and a developed action scheme are key. For several years now, methodologies such as Scrum and Agile have been widely used, which give technology teams the ability to work in a structured, yet appropriately flexible formula. They can define business needs and translate them into specific actions that are then implemented at the client’s site. However, I believe that entrusting project management to someone who only knows methodologies is a mistake. At Inero, we assume that managing a technology project is a skill, but knowledge of the domain to which the implementation pertains is also necessary. We know our weaknesses and strengths, so it is natural that we more often undertake projects in which we have the knowledge, in which we have access to industry experts because very often this purely theoretical knowledge is not enough. We focus on solutions whose applications we understand, such as logistics or the digital health industry.
“At Inero, we assume that managing a technology project is a skill, but knowledge of the domain to which the implementation pertains is also necessary.”
MK: So, how do you assemble a team of specialists in such a way that they complement each other at every stage of the project?
AC: Remember that a team consists of people with different skills, experiences, and processes they are already trained in. That’s why it’s so important to set clear, realistic goals for a given project, which are then transferred to individual team members. Everyone must be aware of how to implement a given idea and who is responsible for which area.
And probably most importantly: When we have a balanced team, meaning there are younger people who make mistakes, who may not always be able to handle all tasks, project management plays a crucial role. The team leader must catch these things and assign subsequent tasks that are still on the edge of possibility because they are an opportunity for further learning. However, it is essential not to have a tendency to find fault when something doesn’t work. We don’t forcibly look for problems. We should focus on the solution that will allow us to avoid a similar mistake next time. It is our role to motivate employees. By giving a challenging task, we want to get to know the new employee, his capabilities, and find out how he reacts to being confronted with a problem that may exceed his abilities. It’s better to understand his approach to problem-solving than to solve the problem itself. See if he communicates the difficulties he encounters and how he copes in a situation where he doesn’t know what to do.
“By giving a challenging task, we want to get to know the new employee, his capabilities, and find out how he reacts to being confronted with a problem that may exceed his abilities. “
I would like to add one more note here. There is something that can be called cognitive bias. Young programmers often want to prove themselves in projects, they are ambitious, they want to achieve success as quickly as possible. This is understandable. However, I sometimes see that they take on too many tasks and, as a result, find it hard to meet deadlines. We must take this into account when planning. In summary, when planning a team’s work, we must look at it as a whole, being aware that this is something that is supposed to function for a long time, without forgetting about the employees.
MK: Do you take employee turnover into account when planning a project?
AC: As a technology company, Inero provides value by offering structured and comprehensive software development services. When we establish a collaboration, we always think of it as a long-term relationship. In such a time frame, team turnover is natural, both on our side and on the client’s side. When we start a project, we assume that turnover will occur, so from the beginning, we strive to build a knowledge base for the project – a collection of experiences, facts, documents, multimedia, procedures, and information. We often use tools like GitLab (Wiki section) or Jira for this purpose. We record important data there, which will be necessary for a new team member to smoothly transition into the project.
“We have learned to automate repeatable procedures, and this applies to integrating new employees into the team.”
We have learned to automate repeatable procedures, and this applies to integrating new employees into the team, whether it’s front-end developers, back-end developers, cybersecurity matters, or others. For example, it includes a database of ready-made software solutions such as project templates or sample solutions. When integrating new team members, we assign them the task of analyzing and modifying these solutions in their first weeks of work. This is not so much to bring business value, but to teach them how we design solutions, how we solve specific technological problems, and how we approach problem analysis. We care about having an efficient way of transferring knowledge within the team. This translates into the quality and cost of our services.
MK: Recently, we have seen a growing interest in the topic of artificial intelligence. It influences many fields. Is this also visible in the industry in which Inero operates? Will “teams of the future” emerge soon?
AC: Undoubtedly, what has happened in the field of AI over the last 2-3 years, especially when OpenAI launched its new product, followed by Google’s Palm system and solutions available at HuggingFace, carries immense potential and can change the way new solutions are developed. We are closely monitoring how Copilot works. We use it in selected internal projects where we have no doubts related to SLA (Service Level Agreement), copyright, and code analysis.
” We are closely monitoring how Copilot works. We use it in selected internal projects where we have no doubts related to SLA, copyright, and code analysis.”
For sure, tasks related to the use of artificial intelligence already constitute a significant part of the projects carried out by our team – I would even say that currently, it’s more than half of all our work. The biggest challenge associated with AI is the ability to quickly adapt to changes and understand trends in this highly dynamic market. Those who adapt quickly will undoubtedly gain a lot, especially in areas supporting routine tasks, such as back-office operations, data analysis, predictive analysis, the use of conversational bots, and knowledge analysis (documents, contracts, emails, etc.). These are the areas of business activities that, in our opinion, have the greatest potential for transformation in the coming years. In the context of these projects, we see Inero not only as a team of developers but also as advisors. We try to identify trends, present conclusions, and communicate them to our clients and partners, indicating what deserves special attention in the coming months and years in the context of their business needs or development plans. We share our insights, which we believe will be applicable in a year, two, or five years.
MK: Have you noticed that there’s a crisis in the IT services market? How do you perceive what’s happening?
AC: For those who have recently become interested in software development, the situation where developers are not in high demand and don’t have a queue of orders may seem shocking. However, the years 2010-2015 were similar. Back then, the main advantage of programmers from our region was relatively low rates (compared to those in the USA or DACH countries). As a result of market changes post-COVID, the globalization of IT, and the convergence of salaries, the rates of our programmers are no longer as attractive to partners from the West. Therefore, we need to think differently about the value we want to deliver. For example, at Inero, we offer a product-service bundle where, on one hand, we provide services for our programmers, but on the other, we also offer ready-made logistics products that are part of a comprehensive IT offer. Additionally, we offer the entire process of creating IT solutions in the BOT model, not just our programmers on an hourly basis. In other words, the market is seeking balance after the turbulent years of 2021-2023 – it’s necessary to create new values and offer them.
Should you have any proposals or concepts you’d like to discuss, please feel free to reach out to me at your earliest convenience. I am very interested in exploring potential opportunities together.
Andrzej Chybicki, PhD Eng.
CEO, Inero Software Sp. z o. o.