Lebara is one of Europe's fastest growing telecoms with five million active customers, 1,400 employees globally and operations in nine countries. For us, Lebara is one of our biggest clients and one of the most exciting projects. It is a family of over 100 teammates on our side and a lot of like-minded professionals in London.
For people who join our Lebara teams in Lviv, Kyiv and Minsk, it is an excellent chance to work with the latest technologies, grow, contribute to product development, and travel to the UK.
How the story began...
We started to work with Lebara in 2014. Since then, we’ve achieved a lot thanks to the shared effort, and many things have changed.
Everything began from a small team. With time, the client started delegating more responsibilities to us, and the project has grown into a development center that builds multiple products serving millions of migrant workers globally.
We are now responsible for most aspects of the product development. They range from development, QA, and BI to operations application support, DB administration, and infrastructure support. Most tech leads, project managers, and prevailing tech expertise and tech-related decision making are now on our side.
People: Our team is friendly and supportive
Lebara is a dynamic project. It calls for an intelligent, ambitious, and agile team. We know how to embrace challenges, learn fast, push forward our ideas, and cooperate.
“We’ve got a truly friendly team. They can support you at any moment, stay up late to help each other out.”
O. Kononchuk, Scrum Master
Also, we like to keep transparency in the team, and it removes the barriers between us. We are a mature team, and we speak openly about problems. It lets us grow both in terms of our work and as a team, and it builds trust.
Communication: We hear each other and share knowledge
To ensure good and effective communication, the customer hires teams so that they are co-located with each other if it’s possible. For example, our teams that work with Lebara are located in such territorial proportions:
65% – in the Lviv office
25% – in the Kyiv office
3 teams – in the Minsk office
Several people – in the Netherlands
Our teams communicate with a multinational team on the customer’s side, who are located in London, UK.
“ That was a real challenge for me. I was used to communicating with the British and Americans. And here I needed to understand English of Indians, the French, Spaniards, Pakistani, and the Dutch. When I succeeded, it was a huge boost to my self-confidence.”
O. Kononchuk, Scrum Master
Lebara’s subject matter experts conduct frequent tech talks. We’ve adopted such practice within our own teams. And now, once a week, there are half-an-hour long tech talks where everyone can speak about the area they know. And that allows the team to be a cross-functional one.
“Learning to explain your point is an essential skill that can be used in many aspects of life. That’s also a good check whether you know something yourself. Therefore each time you share knowledge - you both teach others and learn something new yourselves.”
O. Kononchuk, Scrum Master
Impact: One team with the client
"The customer challenges our engineers to think out of the box and not only identify a problem, but also propose the solution.”
O. Pirus, Delivery Director
The client trusts us to choose new technologies and involves us in the decision-making. For example, when some Microsoft technologies were only in Beta, our .Net team was actively using them in production simply because we convinced the client that they were better and more effective for solving tasks.
Also, our tech leads, PMs regularly visit London when a new product or a new direction is launched. They spend 1-2 weeks there communicating directly with top management and the marketing department. In 2018, there were 32 business trips to the UK, which is more than on any other project at N-iX.
Working as part of a Lebara team is not simply about tasks, sprints, etc. It’s about seeing a full cycle of the product, from how requirements are born to the moment when, for example, an immigrant from Mexico uses the service you developed to call his mom.
When several newcomers come to the Lebara project, an HR manager helps them understand how everything is working here. Also, a tech lead is assigned to teach and mentor each newcomer and we set up a meeting with key stakeholders to share knowledge about the project.
There is a variety of products the teams are working on, so you never get stuck on one thing. For example, the .Net team is working in parallel on 6-7 sub-projects, and they change each six-seven months, as there are often new integrations with payment providers and other new features introduced. The Hybris team has plenty of various projects too, and they last on average for three-four months.
A sea of opportunities
Working with Lebara, you get a chance to try your hand at plenty of cutting-edge technologies and contribute to innovative products. Our engineers polish up their skills, and as a result, get an opportunity to be promoted from trainees to middle developers or from senior developers to tech leads and architects in less than two years.
“One of the key things I like about working on Lebara is a fast pace of work. That’s great for time-management skills. Also, it helps to develop self-discipline and a focused pattern of thinking and doing things. Working here for 6 months, I’ve learned more than I did on my previous job for more than a year”
O.Kononchuk, Scrum Master
You can participate in cutting-edge projects that are very rare on the market if they exist at all. For example, we started making a configuration app to create a customizable price plan that fits a specific user’s needs. Also, our Big Data engineers started making a Data Lake to enable real-time data streaming. That allows generating actionable reports on the fly and taking timely business decisions, without 3-4 week delays. Also, we use data science for fraud analytics.
Taking pride in small victories
When a team completes an important project, the client arrives on site and hangs out with the team to celebrate this small victory together.
Also, both Lebara and our team leads and PMs take the effort to recognize employees in many ways and introduce gamification in the working process.
For example, in one of the teams, there is a monthly ritual. There is anonymous voting, and the team members decide who made the largest contribution during the month. The winner is named the champ of the month. In another team, a person who made most support work, which is not very pleasant, receives a Quadcopter paid by the client.
To measure recognition and track feedback, we use Peakon (an anonymous survey poll of employees to measure and improve employees’ satisfaction ). The tool is customizable and its results are measurable, so you can check if something improves or gets worse. The teams have been using it for more than a year. The results showed that we lagged in ‘caring’, so our HR manager looked into the problem. To fix it, we introduced one-to-one meetings, different pieces of training, follow-ups, and now we are one point above the general benchmark. As a side effect, attrition has improved as well.
Working with Lebara, we can participate in innovative projects, push forward our initiatives, choose the technology, take on responsibility for new ideas, see the results of our work, and feel recognized for them. And we get to understand the business process of everything and are a part of the product that is used by millions of people all across the globe.