It’s 9am on a sunny winter morning. In a conference room, two monitors are waiting to display the first presentations. On the table, notebooks that will soon be filled with questions and thoughts are awaiting their new owners. Outside, you can hear the first conversations: English is mingling with Spanish and Danish. In no time at all this exchange of pleasantries will turn into a dynamic discussion. Breaks for lunch or dinner won’t stop it. It will last until late at night.

That is how the 3rd edition of the Best Outsourcing Practices Meetup, organized by XSolve and Chilid, started. Each of the previous events, to which XSolve invited CTOs from various companies and sectors, had been packed with hours of substantive discussion. It was no different on the 22nd February 2018, when guests representing 10 companies from eight different countries and industries, including digital media, e-commerce, public services and higher education, arrived at the Gliwice office. All of them came with just one purpose – to talk about outsourcing – but at the same time, everyone brought a different problem and an individual perspective.

During the long meetup day, the guests addressed many topics that arose from their previous experience with outsourcing. There was no holding back and the spectrum of problems was broad: from fluctuation of employees within teams and projects and their job satisfaction, to methods of estimating tasks and measuring progress and results. There were also questions about security and confidentiality, methods of communication between internal and external teams, scrum team structures, and good cooperation practices with companies whose core business is not software development.

Let me give you an example. Our guests were surprised that at XSolve we don’t have project managers. The team structure is devs plus scrum master and a product owner from the client’s side. This approach was entirely new for the CTOs. However, the explanation is simple – this setup eliminates the communication proxy between the PO and a team in the person of the project manager. Without that role, the client’s PO talks directly with every team member or with the whole group at once. That was greatly different from the past experiences of our guests.

Of course, that’s just one example of the many topics discussed during the meetup. We wanted to make sure that no question was left unanswered, therefore participating in the Q&A session (which we called CTO asks) were XSolvers equipped with knowledge from various fields: from the CEOs of XSolve and Chilid to business representatives, scrum masters and developers. Thanks to this, our guests could address their problems to the specific people best-placed to answer them.

Although the questions were detailed and individual, we were able to form some general conclusions. This was possible thanks to the atmosphere of openness and enthusiasm which was almost palpable in the conference room and during the face-to-face talks. A simple Q&A session quickly turned into a multifaceted discussion, in which all participated by offering their unique knowledge and perspectives.

The meetup agenda and formal sessions were just one side of the coin. The most significant value of the meeting lay elsewhere – in personal contacts. As always in such situations, the first conversations are quite timid and revolve around typical themes. A good icebreaker turned out to be our Agile Office, which we encouraged visitors to explore. After a while, when we had all got to know each other better and started to understand each other’s needs, the networking really kicked off. Our guests often mentioned that it was essential for them not only to solve their problems but also to meet and talk to other CTOs who are in similar situations. The networking was encouraged by the relaxed but professional ambience and joint outings for lunch and dinner. It was during such breaks that the most interesting discussions took place as the exchange of knowledge and experiences continued. And the food was delicious too!

You can’t sit in one place for a whole day, so of course, as well as the outings, there were also various activities during which participants could get to know the company and its culture better. Our guests had the opportunity to take part in event storming workshops, talk to the teams, or participate in a feedback session by the design team. All these elements were combined in a long but fruitful meetup day.

The CTOs came to Gliwice with some concerns about the nature of the meeting. Most of them openly admitted that they had had somewhat negative experiences with outsourcing. And yet, they received an invitation from an outsourcing company. An interesting coincidence, isn’t it? Many of them were wondering if this meeting wasn’t just some crazy scam or a selling session. Nevertheless, they came, and with each subsequent hour, these concerns were dispelled. Thanks to the openness and professionalism of the participants, we managed to build an atmosphere of mutual trust and commitment in which we shared our experiences and know-how.

“Impressive, convinced”, “informative, useful meeting”, “I think it could work,” “loving the atmosphere, an international way of thinking”, and “not pitching but sharing knowledge” were just some of the words of feedback that we received from the CTOs after the meeting. We hope that our guests left Gliwice richer in knowledge and personal contacts and maybe, just maybe, they’ve changed their opinion about outsourcing.

Have you been inspired by this article? We want to meet with you in person instead of hiding behind our screens. Get in touch with us via email at hello@xsolve.pl and find out more about the next gathering of CTOs.

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