We decided to sum up this year with four questions. Piotr and Oskar, board members of Rocksoft, invite you to read their answers.
1. List the 3 biggest challenges we faced last year at Rocksoft and evaluate how we dealt with them.
Piotr: Without a doubt, 2020 was a year full of uncertainty, new challenges and dynamism. For Rocksoft, the crisis that was caused by the pandemic was the first challenge of its kind. In recent years we have experienced fertile years – of economic growth. In our case, the results of recent years and the company’s strategy encouraged us to seek investment – our own office. Starting in the summer of 2019, we were trying on our biggest investment ever so far. The outbreak of the pandemic sowed a hint of uncertainty about the fate of the purchase of the property and, as a young company, we had to learn to react to the market situation with reason. How did we do? I invite you to see the effect with your own eyes.
Another challenge proved to be the unplanned investment in the renovation of the office. The condition of the 1980s property left much to be desired. When performing renovation work, the structure supporting the floor slipped along with the ground. Construction errors by the designers at the time meant that we had to put in two tons of beams to support the ceiling. The financial challenge forced us to trim the scope of the renovation work in favor of maintaining quality. Referring to the constraint triangle – where time was a constant – we managed to finish about 50% of the entire building and put the office into operation.
The last challenge I would like to mention is leadership. From the fact that we are thriving, it is our responsibility as owners of the company to take responsibility for the company and, most importantly, the employees. This was our first exposure to these responsibilities where we had to find ourselves and develop tools to help us run the company. We learned a lot and full of ideas and hope we enter 2021 with gratitude and full of optimism.
Oskar: I would be lying if I wrote that the transition from working stationary in the office to working fully remotely from home was easy and seamless for us. I can’t write that and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Remote work is not for everyone and many factors affect how productive we are when working from home. I wrote about this a bit more extensively back in April, in a post about a sound mind. It has forced us to improve our contact with employees, to be more open, polite, honest. It brought a lot of good that we want to take with us into the next years of working together. I believe that in the end we handled the challenge correctly. Certainly a lot could still be improved – and we will continue to do so in the future, continuing to work on the best possible conditions for our employees – but the quality and pace of work in our projects turned out to be very good.
Another of the challenges, which came somewhat unexpectedly, was a very intensified recruitment period. This was primarily due to the increased needs of our clients. There are more and more jobs. There is also an increasing need for specialists, so we increased our turnover with vigor, looking for ambitious and open-minded people. We handled the challenge brilliantly. Despite the change in the HR position, we managed to meet the main objectives set with clients. We also managed to start working with many fantastic people, with whom we will certainly want to work for as long as possible.
The last of the 3 challenges I wanted to mention was finishing our new office. Times are what they are, so running a renovation is not easy, especially without much experience. There were various obstacles in our way, the biggest of which was the need to strengthen the ceiling on the first floor with special beams, which delayed the work by more than a month. However, in the end we moved in still in 2020, and we are very pleased with the result. Great respect to everyone who was involved in this project.
2. Give 3 initiatives or ideas from other companies in the IT world that you found most inspiring in 2020.
Piotr: I don’t have examples of specific companies that caught my attention or that rose above the ranks. The world of the IT market is quite dynamic and the level is even for everyone…. However, what I did notice were trends that were set by the situation with COVID-19 – going online, going remotely. One tangible example here was the Norwegian organization for which Rocksoft provides its services. An event industry that depends on participants/members for its existence and profitability. Over the course of several weeks, we were tasked with adapting to an online event. It was an extremely inspiring experience where all around us we saw uncertainty, forethought, seeking safety. Unlike others, we accelerated significantly and used this year’s situation to create a new concept – organizing events in a new dimension.
It was also interesting to watch the development of the American company, Zoom. The video calling application has proven to be an important part of remote working. Undoubtedly, such stories are extremely inspiring and show that a good idea for a business is half the battle. Who knows, maybe Rocksoft will also write such a story? We wouldn’t mind at all 😊
Oskar: Zoom deserves the biggest words of praise from me. Even a year ago I often had to explain to my friends what this application is, what it is used for and why I use Zoom and not Skype. Now it doesn’t need to be introduced to anyone, and as a „product” person in the IT industry, I can only bow to how Zoom has handled the huge increase in interest and users this year. Hats off to them.
The second thing I wanted to point out this year is the trajectory of popularity and interest in Bitcoin. It’s not an IT company or anything that specifically happened in 2020, but it was this year that Bitcoin – or colloquially speaking, the „digitized” currency created in 2009 – reached the consciousness of a huge number of people who are beginning to wonder how much sense it makes to build an economy on dollars, euros and zlotys, which are constantly being added to on a massive scale. I don’t want to go into detail in this post, but anyone who is watching the Bitcoin situation will admit that 2020 will be a historic year – regardless of how things go further in the future.
Finally, I wanted to draw attention to the startup „Fast„. It might seem that in the world of payments we already have everything – Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, ApplePay and GooglePay – why another startup in this industry? Take 15 minutes to check it out, you’ll realize that they are almost destined for success. In addition, this brand’s social media activity is a marketing masterpiece. A mega-inspiring team – from founders, to marketers, to developers and designers – whose activity can be followed on Twitter.
3. In what areas has Rocksoft made the most progress in 2020?
Piotr: At Rocksoft, we strongly focus on self-development and look for ambitious people who want to grow with us and have a like-minded attitude in IT. In my opinion, Rocksoft will grow the most in the area of broad professionalism. Whether it is customer solutions, contact with employees and candidates, customer approach, we have made huge progress and we are not the same company as a year ago. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has made a contribution. Without everyone’s contribution, we wouldn’t be where we are and we certainly won’t get where we’re going.
Oskar: This is somewhat due to the challenges we face, but in my opinion we have made the most progress in our approach to and relationship with our employees. We have actively and consciously started working on making employees part of Rocksoft. Respect, talk, care. We try to show these values in our daily work in the way we act and express ourselves, so that everyone at Rocksoft feels comfortable and at ease. This topic is still very up-to-date for us, and we enter 2021 with it as one of the main issues we will work on. We have the first practical steps prepared, and we are aware that improving conditions for employees is first and foremost about working on ourselves. In addition, I wanted to highlight our social media presence. This was not our number one priority, but we have achieved a great deal, thanks to the work of our branding team, namely Karolina and Lida. Regularity is starting to yield results, which in turn inspire and encourage us to keep working, so you can expect to see more of us wherever you look in the next year. Just so you don’t think I didn’t warn you! 😊
4. What Rocksoft achievement in 2020 are you most proud of?
Piotr: One could mention many things I am very proud of. However, I would like to mention two that I think are important elements of the company. In the middle of the year, we created a new team – the Branding Team, which plays a very important role in the communication and well-being of Rocksoft. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with such ambitious and enthusiastic people. The fruits of their work include the growth of our brand recognition in the market, the formulation and development of a recruitment process and a new startup recruitment platform (you’ll hear more about it on our blog). The second thing is the opening of a new office as a symbol of returning to „normalcy” after a hard year in seclusion. I believe that our new place will serve to inspire us together, encourage us to grow, and build bonds between us. I agree with the words of AOL’s CEO: „If you want to go fast, you can go alone. If you want to go far, you must go together.
Oskar: It’s hard to choose one achievement – the two things mentioned above make me very happy. Here, on the other hand, I wanted to cite the fact that we, as Rocksoft, managed to acquire 3 new, very promising clients this year. Such a number is probably not impressive for someone „from the outside”, but for us it is quite surprising due to several factors. First, we are still in the process of shaping our long-term vision for Rocksoft. We are open-minded about this, and we ourselves do not yet know whether we want Rocksoft to grow all the time or not necessarily. That’s why the new customers come as a bit of a surprise to us, because we have not been actively working strictly to find new customers. Throughout the year, our main focus has been on improving the quality of work for existing customers, on providing the best possible conditions for Rocksoft members, and on our social media presence. It seems that hard work is paying off. Who would’ve thought?! 😊
Achievements are best when they are not an end point, but the beginning of challenges and the opening of new opportunities for growth. This is the case here, so at the very thought of the next months of work I am excited and happy to spend so much time with such great people and in such an environment. I wish the best of the year to all my readers!
Piotr: In wrapping-up style, I would like to thank all of Rocksoft for the past year and wish you much success for the next year in your personal and professional lives.