This will not help small IT businesses in Zeleny Lug

Why good business books do not work in Belarus

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There are no problems with access to interesting books somehow related to business processes in Belarus. We are referring to both translated texts and reflections by business analysts in the original. What to start with, how to communicate with clients, what to do to motivate the team, what to be afraid of and what to prepare for - they talk about it a lot, thoroughly and effectively. Why is it often useless? Mikalaj Tamaszevicz, PRAS CEO, discusses this in his column.

Simple Belarusian guys with wide-open eyes, which reflect storks, not Midtown skyscrapers, take everything into service, put everything into practice and all together does not help to become a slumdog millionaire. Why?

There are two main problems: almost all good business texts are designed for large companies and American, Western European or Scandinavian interaction mechanisms. What should a brave you do if you do not plan to emigrate to Copenhagen or San Jose but want to create and promote useful content? Read or not read Ford, Hill, Rexham and Fryde? Or is it better to immediately switch to photos of fjords, Benny Hill shows, Beckham and Freud? And if you do read it, how can you apply it to a vigorous start and efficient operation of a small IT business in Zeleny Lug?

Let's share our personal experience.

Chapter one. Self-presentation

There were four of us. When we decided to start a company, we first opened a book. And we read: "To successfully work with a client, you need to present yourself successfully. Rent a successfully rented office with a successfully opening door and successfully holding wallpaper. Find successful looking receptionists. Successfully meet the client. Convincingly offer him or her a price higher than what you expect. In the process of communication, lower the price and successfully please the customer. Anything you can do for free, do it for free. And with time, you will definitely pay off the investments".

We read, counted - and decided instead to invest in self-development and building up a portfolio. Because this, in our opinion, is the basis of success.

Now we look back and realize that we have not made a mistake. Things are going several times better than that of a friend who lived beyond his means: he paid for expensive meters with a mirrored elevator and delayed salaries for employees for months, and then he himself came to an interview for one of our vacancies.

Summary: shift the focus and do not inflate show-offs.

Chapter two. Project management

There were still four of us working.

We learned from another smart book about scrum and kanban. We find that these are excellent methodologies for organizing a flexible workflow, and try to introduce them to our small team responsibly and rigorously. We define sprints for 2-3 weeks at a time. Set tasks for 3 weeks in advance. Every morning we meet at the Daily Scrum board and talk about what we did yesterday, what we plan to do today, what we might stumble over tomorrow.

But here's the problem: instead of increasing productivity, we thereby increase the degree of formalization. In our friendly four, every problem is something that is immediately solved together; everyone knows who is working on what; the answer to every question is known before the scrum even begins. And sprints of a set duration are inconvenient for us with our tasks and approach to work. 

Why waste valuable time and energy when you work in the same space and discuss each task throughout the day as you go?

Mistake of scale: clever texts about Agile have been written for companies that are several times larger than we are.

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