Dmitry Chekalin of Codica shares with us his focus on the lean startup approach.
Please tell us your name and a little more about yourself.
Dmitry Chekalin: I am the CEO of the Codica software development company. I have 15+ years of experience in software development.
I have been involved in implementing and developing many projects in my career. At various times, I held the positions of a developer, technical lead, project manager, and chief technical officer. All this gave me invaluable experience, based on which I started my own company.
What is Codica’s vision, and what inspired you to start this business?
Dmitry Chekalin: We established Codica seven years ago, and many software development firms were already on the market. However, most of them focused on providing simple website development or design services such as WordPress.
Codica was different from the very beginning. A completely different concept ruled us. Our goal was to create products for our clients that would fully adapt to their needs and business objectives. So, to build such complex, large systems, we offered custom software development services to our customers. Such a development makes sense from the point of view of rationality when customers have serious requests for the site’s functionality.
Undoubtedly, working on complex solutions is much more challenging than creating regular websites. Therefore, many web development companies can not manage these processes because such projects require extensive expertise and relevant tech skills.
At Codica, we offer our clients the following services: custom marketplace development, MVP development, and SaaS product development.
With the experience we have accumulated, the Codica team is not only a web development partner to our clients but an expert consultancy team. We have developed many successful projects from scratch and helped many businesses grow.
Could you tell us about Codica, what specific services you provide, what industries you cover, and what makes you unique?
Dmitry Chekalin: As I said before, the main services we provide are custom marketplace development, MVP development, and SaaS product development. When creating projects, we use a systematic approach, a way to handle complex systems.
The initial stage of development is the product discovery phase, when we talk to the client and distinguish the project goals. We prepare specifications, create prototypes, discuss challenges and suggest high-level solutions.
After successfully completing the product discovery phase, we can move to the development and implementation stages. These are such phases when our development team starts working on the project, using the most efficient practices and tools that have been accumulated in the course of our activity. Among them are development under standards, code verification, CI/CD implementation, and so on.
The next stage is support and maintenance. We assume responsibility for our work, so our quality assurance experts monitor and fix all the issues that may appear and check server stability. We check and track the state of each project we develop.
In a word, our clients get full-cycle product development and support services, and we operate as a reliable technical partner that delivers complex web projects.
Based on your experience, can you name some challenges your team had to overcome to stay ahead of the competition?
Dmitry Chekalin: I consider there are three main challenges.
The first point is specialization. It is a crucial challenge and uptrend for our company and all other software agencies as well. Choosing a niche is very important for a development firm. This is the only way to gain expertise and be able to deliver high-quality web products.
The second challenge is developing and implementing marketing as a system process. Web development agencies often neglect this type of activity. They focus merely on the development process. However, marketing enables the company’s development. Also, without the right marketing strategy, regular sales are impossible.
The third and key challenge is involving, integrating, and training new staff members. Nowadays, each firm establishes its own strategies and approaches to successful project implementation. No professional, even the most experienced one, can integrate and implement these approaches right then and there. Therefore, specialists, and juniors, in particular, need dedicated engagement and training programs.
Please share how much of your development process is based on adapting to the main IT market trends and customer feedback?
Dmitry Chekalin: Our team is constantly improving the web development process and offering the most needed services to our clients. Definitely, we keep up on current technologies and track all the latest business and tech trends. Meanwhile, we use our experience, vision, and client feedback that we collect regularly.
Before offering a new service, we thoroughly analyze market demand and our capacity to deliver such services. For instance, we detected that a discovery stage is essential to a product’s successful implementation. We conducted research and made internal documentation and recommendations for this product development phase. Also, we extended and trained our employees accordingly. Now we begin all our projects with discovery sessions, and our customers have highly appreciated this practice.
Bright ideas like this can come from our team and the customer side. They can relate to our work process, technical stack, or other aspects of project development.
This is how Codica’s specialists work with client feedback. After launching a product, we hold a retrospective meeting with the team. Here we discuss what was done right and what could be refined in the future. It can be virtually anything. In the meantime, we talk to the customer and seek their feedback. Of course, we review the best ideas and implement them.
As for the latest technological trends and their implementation in practice on our projects, we keep a close eye on them. However, we don’t follow the hype but use the solutions, be they new or old, that have proved their efficiency in our customers’ products.
What’s coming up in the 2022 year for the Codica team?
Dmitry Chekalin: On February 24, a war started in Ukraine, which the Russian dictator Putin unleashed. Our team had to adapt to such circumstances.
Our development center is located in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Almost all our team members left Kharkiv with their families and relatives and now settled down in the western part of Ukraine and European countries.
In view of this situation, we have completely switched to a remote work mode and continue to operate with excellent efficiency.
Indeed, these tragic events have completely changed our lives. 2022 will be a year of dramatic changes for us, other companies, and all other citizens of Ukraine.
The main challenge for our company will be to adapt effectively and continue to grow even in these difficult conditions.
CEO @ Codica. Software Entrepreneur with 15+ years of experience. I am focused on the lean startup approach. I write about startups, marketplaces and SaaS products, and custom software development.