Founded in 2017, Warpin Media has a team of VR/AR and Unity developers in Kyiv. Previously, one developer has relocated to Warpin’s main office in Sweden. We talked to the Warpin team about their previous experience with building external teams and outsourcing, to document how Beetroot is helping them.
At Warpin, we help companies integrate VR and AR technologies so that they become a good fit for their clients. We started out quite broadly since it was a new technology (for us, too). Then, we explored it a lot and narrowed it down to two key focus areas: education for VR and commerce for AR.
At some point in developing our business, we faced certain challenges and considered outsourcing as a way to solve them. An outsourcing or outstaffing model could meet our need for flexibility when working with developers since we don’t commit in the same way as we do with our in-house employees. We zeroed in on Ukraine because it’s easier to find qualified engineers in Kyiv than in Stockholm. But then, we needed to choose from the many options available within the Ukrainian IT outsourcing sphere. A sister company of ours, Playpilot, already had at least one co-worker at the Beetroot office and they were very satisfied with the services, so we thought we might give them a try, too. We liked the “Swedish take” on the company and knew that these people are going to be like-minded and somewhat work in similar ways to how we work here.
Previous outsourcing experience
Working with Beetroot actually wasn’t our first experience with “outsourcing”. Our previous partner was located in India. We had a considerable time difference with them, nowhere near the time difference we have with our Ukrainian dedicated software development team, which is only one hour. But it wasn’t the only issue. Back then, we found it hard to get straight answers about how things were going. We were always told that everything’s fine even if there were problems. At Beetroot we don’t face the same problems. Here, people actually tell us if something is wrong, and we can fix it before it’s too late.
Working with a distributed team
There are some special challenges while working with a distributed team. Language does become a source of confusion and misunderstanding, but not very often and it’s not very impactful. Also, self-management becomes crucial. Since we’re not sitting in the same office, we don’t have a lot of comments coming back and forth, so it helps if the people have a structured mindset. And it’s a responsibility for both parties—we can be more demanding when it comes to being structured and organized.
For us, it was also important that we could transfer employees to our Swedish organization if we wanted to. We decided that Misha, one of our Kyiv developers, was a key person to our project. We don’t only look for tech competency but we also look at the experience in the field, and not that many people have it today. Misha had a lot of relevant experience from before, so he was kind of a unicorn for us. We decided to tie him closer to us, and now he’s working here, based out of our Stockholm office.
Beetroot: Did you have any concerns before starting to work with a distributed team?
Patrik Buckau, co-founder and CTO of Warpin: We did have concerns in the beginning since we had a less-than-positive experience with our previous outsourcing partner. So, we were hesitant and wondering if we are going to meet the same problems. The recommendation from Playpilot was a strong point for us. But I think we also learned something from our previous experience of working with outsourcing partners and did enough background checks before starting our cooperation with Beetroot.
Beetroot: What concerns do you think others might have when working with companies like ours?
Patrik Buckau: Working with remote teams is a hassle. And it does, inevitably, introduce a new kind of overhead. But given the right circumstances, finding the right people, it’s worth the overhead. Costs are lower, so that helps to pay for it.
Beetroot: What are you doing to improve your team?
Patrik Buckau: We organize tech talks from time to time. People get to choose a topic and present it to the rest of the team. They are free to choose whatever they want but it is expected to be work-related. For instance, Vadim chose to talk about how the scriptable render pipeline in Unity works and how can you create shaders for it without programming.
Also, we always try to involve our staff in what is happening around the company for them to have a bigger picture. We want everyone to feel that we are doing meaningful work towards the same goals. Friday breakfast is a good example where people can join either in person or through video to hear the latest news on current and upcoming projects.
Beetroot: What would you recommend to other people to look for in development partners?
Patrik Buckau: Focus on having a robust recruitment process. I would also recommend going for a visit. I visited Kyiv, where a part of our team sits and thought that it was a really nice environment to work in – an additional bonus to actually meeting the team.
Beetroot: Would you recommend Beetroot to others, and if yes, why?
Patrik Buckau: I would. I had fairly high expectations and they were met. Our expectations were that Beetroot would deliver solid engineering resources and that the staff would be technically competent and responsible. That was done rather quickly. Also, our team has a one-hour time difference from Stockholm, which is very convenient.