Better than 2020 (and 2021)
We are going to settle quite comfortably into 2022, so let’s take a moment to look back at two last years from some distance. We are truly blessed to have moved through these two years the way we did. Although immensely challenging on many levels this time has made us stronger, better and more aware of who we are and what we are capable of doing.
It wouldn’t be fair to say that Covid 19 pandemic hasn't affected us at all but it also wouldn’t be fair to say that we have suffered from it the way many other businesses have. The immediate effect was obviously a shift from the traditional office work to remote work. Since we had always supported some component of remote work it wasn’t a dramatic overnight change. However, remote mode challenged our culture of working closely together and helping one another. There’s a big difference between seeing a co-worker in person and seeing her/him on screen. Also, the logistics of working from home are quite different from person to person. For some, saving 1.5h commute time was a gift. For others, handling kids also staying at home, meant additional distraction. There’s plenty of lessons that we learnt from that period that we are incorporating into our processes now.
At the beginning of 2020 we were finishing a few projects related to building construction and trade fair industries. Those two areas really did get hit by the pandemic and it was quite expected by us that the projects would have to be put on hold until the situation gets back to normal. On the other hand, our projects related to food delivery, e-commerce and increasing workers mobility started to require way more attention which effectively led to us almost doubling in size.
Across our customer base there was a brief moment of hesitation between March and April of 2020. After that it just became more obvious than ever that the role of software had never been more important. Consequently our role as software developers had never been more responsible.
As much as the transition to remote work was rather easy it started to become more and more clear that a team that was so used to working together in a single office will not magically turn into a well performing remote team. Remote work takes special sets of skills and experience and is generally more difficult.
We have updated and altered our recruiting, onboarding and project management processes to make everything a bit easier. At the same time we learnt that the quality of our work can be still maintained even while working remotely. Everything is based on mutual understanding, responsibility and appropriate teamwork.
As we mentioned before, Bright has been really blessed with not experiencing any direct dramatic effects of the pandemic. On the contrary, we opened a number of new positions and were quite successful with filling them with bright-minded specialists. Obviously, onboarding of new team members was far from ordinary and primarily the most challenging for them. Entering a new company where you don’t get to see all the faces on a daily basis and have limited ways to mingle with others must be tough. We learned as we moved on to listen to each person who joined us and took the lessons to improve onboarding of others. One of the things that worked best was to make ways to meet in person as much as possible.
Before the pandemic breakout in the early 2020 there were about 30 bright people in our team, now we are almost 70 and we are still growing. Despite the challenges and some uncertainties we have made our way in the "new" Covid-19 world while focusing on building and developing strong team culture.
There are team members who come to the office every day. There are some who drop by twice a week or just come over from time to time to meet in person and spend some time together with their project mates. As long as the high quality of communication and work-life balance are sustained we are ok with that. What we approve of at Bright is individualisation and keeping personal approach to each and every member of the team. Of course, the rules and opportunities to take are the same for all, but everyone can choose how they work.
We believe that to achieve real success you have to develop your skills and adjust all the time. Our team can work closely with each other regardless of wherever they are, in the office or at home. Now we know it. The details of location are less significant than people’s responsibility and attitude to teamwork in general.
One of the things that helped us personally stay in mental fitness during the last months was working out. It turned out that many people in our Bright Team enjoy sport and we started to do it together. Out of this an idea was born - sport is an excellent way to balance the stress of handling work, kids and life in general during pandemic times and a good way to socialize. It led to introducing regular sport classes for our team members.
We organise weekly running, biking and swimming classes as well as Friday in-house yoga time. Our coach, Bartosz Banach, is a pro-triathlete so we can not only have fun together but also improve our technique and beat individual records. With his support everything becomes possible.
2021 was also a Blockchain year for us. We have been working very hard on our first product - Bright Treasury which is now finally live. Bright Treasury is a web application that helps you to apply for Polkadot and Kusama Treasury funds in an easy and intuitive way. It's been funded by Web3 Foundation (W3F) grants program.
We believe that by introducing a dedicated app with a user-friendly interface, we will be able to attract more creative blockchain enthusiasts to apply for Treasury funds for their projects. Now you can use Milestone 1 and Milestone 2 features at: treasury.bright.dev . This means that all the operations concerning Ideas and Proposals are ready to use.
We are currently finishing Milestone 3 which is focused on Bounties mechanism. Users will be able to add and browse through bounties, voting results, their curators and check the current status. The curators will be able to accept (or reject) their nominations and manage the bounty’s status.
We can’t wait to show you the ready product soon, so stay tuned.
The effects of the pandemic, quarantines and social isolation were and are still felt acutely. The same as you, we have also been missing our team, networks and community, which are critical to our overall well being. We stay in touch with our closest ones, but our more distant professional ties started to disappear and decline.
Before the pandemic we used to take part in the job fairs, we were organising workshops for students, participating in the conferences and then everything somehow stopped. We needed to shift to an online-first experience. It was not easy.
Almost all of our internal meetings were moved to online reality. Inside the organisation we opened a virtual kitchen and began to do morning coffee meetings together. We started doing tech meetings online and Bright Q&A sessions, but at one moment we realised that “the community part” was still missing. We want to change it and make 2022 a strong community building year for us. We want to share our knowledge with people outside the team and reactivate connectedness from before Covid 19. So, expect invitations for monthly online workshops and live webinars on our Facebook profile regularly. AWS workshops were just the beginning. :)
We want to wish you everything bright in your lives. Brightness may have different shades for different people, so create your own bright story that will last longer than 2022. Be brave, optimistic and open to changes. With this attitude we can really make a difference. And we promise that if you happen to join our Bright Team, we will also support you in your bright growth.