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Project Risk Mitigation During the Russia Ukraine Conflict: JayDevs Case

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A lot of software development companies hire Lithuanian, Belarusian, Russian, Ukrainian, and other Eastern European developers since they deliver high quality work at a reasonably low cost. Especially in comparison with developers from the US and Western Europe. Some clients invest hundreds of millions of dollars to hire a developer or development team for their project.

The escalation of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia has led to the fact that project managers are extremely concerned about cooperation with Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarusian IT vendors. The most conservative companies “cut the strings” and switch to other solutions. Others try to adapt quickly and leverage available resources to impact what yet can be changed. After all, the faster you and your developers manage to get back to normal, the less negative impact on the product development you’ll face.

Regardless of location, war is one of the major force majeure circumstances between a customer and an IT service provider. Below we listed 4 common risks of hiring developers from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine at the moment, as well as how you and your IT vendor can jointly address them. The list is not exhaustive as the context is constantly changing. We hope this article will help you avoid anxiety and minimize risks while working with developers in a country of conflict.

1. Team safety

Your employees are the most valuable asset of the company. They are the reflection of the potential product and how you keep your brand promises. Safety of team members is one of the most important responsibilities of any company. The physical and psychological well-being of employees is the number one priority. Ask your vendor if they’re able to open an office in a country without geopolitical issues or relocate the employees you need from conflict zones.

We at Jaydevs provide qualified programmers who develop products for our clients worldwide. We are located in Lithuania, but some developers of our team live and work in Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Russia, Spain, etc. While there is conflict in the world, we strive to protect our employees. Regardless of the country they were born in or the passport they have, they all strive for peace and care for each other’s well-being. They did not start the war and should not be at risk of discrimination inside or outside their country due to the decisions of a government they do not control.

The C-level of our company quickly implemented a relocation plan for our employees and their families. The company helped employees who wanted to leave Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia to our headquarters in Lithuania, as well as to our branches in Georgia and Montenegro. We have not downsized or laid off a single team member. Developers, managers, marketers – they all still are part of our team. We did our best to make sure our employees are safe. As Jobs said, “Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.”


2. Cybersecurity

Since Russia Ukraine conflict, which triggered occurrences of data hacking, cybersecurity is becoming one of the most pressing issues. You, as a client, must be sure that your data is secure and that no one can hack it. Therefore, you should control the protection approach your remote vendors apply in the current situation.

Our customer data protection policy:

  1. We leverage secure connections: VPN, SSL/HTTPS, etc. to work with internal network resources and transfer confidential data over public networks.
  2. We keep encrypted all the confidential data stored on computers outside the office (laptops, PCs of remote workers).
  3. All sensitive data on hard drives is encrypted.
  4. We observe the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) working with our European clients.
  5. For encryption we use:
    256 bits – minimum allowed key length (symmetric encryption);
    1024 bits – minimum allowed key length (asymmetric encryption).

3. Workflow

Currently, large-scale planning for project development may not work since there is no stability in the conflict countries. No one knows what impact war might have on business tomorrow. Therefore, to keep the business afloat, you and your team should adapt and be flexible.

Jaydevs is for flexibility from the very inception of an initiative. Short sprints allow you to achieve tangible results on a weekly or biweekly basis. This is a win-win strategy for both the client and the IT provider. Customers quickly get small increments of product functionality and can take advantage right away.

When it comes to corporate and client data storage and management, Jaydevs relies on the AWS cloud and its security. Thus, all saved data remains safe and easily recoverable.


4. Remote communication and operational management

Effective communications during any crisis are vital to recovering morale and keeping product development stable.

The first reaction to “military actions” in Ukraine is shock and panic. If the nerves are not made of steel, it is next to impossible to avoid a paralyzed state. Adequate state assessment becomes challenging. Inside the team, employees will demonstrate different behavioral patterns and attitudes to the situation. Some want to escape, some fall into apathy and don’t know what to do. Effective teamwork depends on how quickly people can recover their composure. Psychological resilience to unforeseen circumstances is one of the criteria for a good leader. The leader must be able to control himself and not give in to panic.

Apart from that, you should consider the communication aspects of the current situation in order to minimize disruptions. Arrange calls daily (or even twice a day) to communicate with each other in real time and ensure minimal productivity loss. There are dozens of tools you can use to manage operations within your remote team: Slack, Skype, Jira, etc.

The CEO of Jaydevs spoke with every member of the team to learn about their mental and physical state to cheer them up. Internal company meetings helped to keep abreast of events for each employee and pull themselves together. Everyone understood that being open and honest is essential in these difficult times.


Pay it forward

The hearts of the whole world are turned to the people of Ukraine, who continue to fight for their freedom, despite insurmountable difficulties. Most people feel helpless when facing events of such magnitude. To a large extent, we are all just observers. However, if you wish, there are ways in which you can help the citizens of Ukraine right now.

Like the rest of the world, Jaydevs also wishes for peace and for things to get back to normal. We think and carry about all our employees, clients, and partners. For instance, our staff in Lithuania and Poland provided temporary housing for Ukrainian refugees. All these refugees are forced to leave their homes without warning, with little or no savings and property. We donate money for food, medicine, and other charity to Ukrainian citizens. “This world is like an echo in the mountains: if we throw anger at it, anger returns; if we give love, love returns.” An act of kindness is never wasted, you know that better than anyone. Perhaps, having a hard time, you experienced kindness towards yourself and still remember those people.

“Pay it forward with free compliments. They are returned in due time.”

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