Being scrum, the new sign… that all goes well

Being scrum, the new sign… that all goes well

It is easy to see the change of the city if you walk between new buildings, signs of the new economy in Iasi. But the spectacle of change is livelier and more creative inside rather than outside. One might say all’s well on the inside, but inside the leopard is lurking, if we think about how agile the new “production” processes work in the ITO field. And since we’re talking about agility, you should know about scrum, the new standard reaching the fields of Iasi. One mention though – no, it is not about rugby, but the 2.0 game that our outsourcing teams begin to play.

Cristian Stefan- freelancer journalist

A SOFT THING. “We are looking for an enthusiast QA Engineer with an agile mindset and passion to join our cool QA team in Iasi”. You have probably come across such corporate ads in the category “I know all the words separately but I couldn’t tell what they mean together”. We are in full inexorable process of changing… the mindset.

But this is already a global problem. I am coming back to the concrete problem, namely this ad that I found on the website, belonging to the second hosting provider for websites in Europe (with over 7 million domains managed from 1.7 million clients).

What does the ad say? We are looking for a QA engineer (the initials do not stand for questions & answers, but quality assurance) who will work with passion in our cool team in Iasi. I understand that, but what about agile mindset? My buddy Google Translate tells me it’s agile, but I know it’s not agile enough (yet) to make the agreement.

I am reading further… “Among your main duties we mention taking part in the scrum team’s activities and providing substantial feedback on time” …

Right, I got it – scrum, an orderly team where players from competing teams gather as if plotting something, but they’re pushing each other, then they’re jumping to catch a ball that someone threw… wait a minute, this is rugby and it’s pretty hard, what does it have to do with soft? It does. And my buddy Google is right, too.


Agile is already a global term designating a flexible work environment, and scrum is the teamwork method based on interaction, collaboration, quick reactions… The traditional boss, who throws the ball into the pile, is now the product owner, not just the one throwing/ cascading a ball of information and/or documentation based on the principle “now play with it”. It is time for scrum, where the technical part no longer pushes around the business part, and that pile actually plots something this time… Well, this is how they do it today in the higher ranks of the IT world… so in Iasi too.


We have come to a degree of sophistication that the new generation of employees not only understands, but waits for, too. Diana Dumitriu, the young manager of HEG-Iasi, says it is almost a must to offer an agile work environment today, because the young specialist – especially the highly qualified – feels this is how they valorise their work best, they can be more innovative in their work, which means professional satisfaction and eventually a happy employee.

When the net monthly wage of a freshly-graduated programmer reached €800-900, it has become clear that in this industry the psychological threshold has been crossed where you go to work to make the money for the daily groceries. For highly qualified people– and we have colleagues specialised in extremely rare programming languages – we don’t even use the term job interview anymore, says the HEG representative, amused. Instead, let’s talk, let’s see if you like the team, the career perspective… Because in the new environment, the “employee is our business” motto has come to have more substance than in the older time… of waterfalls.

Diana Dumitriu is also the boss of the entire subsidiary – the business, and the HR manager (in Iasi and in the Spain office of the group) – the team. She is not an IT specialist, working in HR until two years ago, in multinational groups with businesses in energy, agriculture, constructions and retail. But remember – in the world of scrums, the business is a collaboration, not a confrontation! Even the black tomcat of the company knows it, walking happily down the corridors (although it’s not really a leopard when it comes to agility) and whose name is… Satanel. Cool!


From Copou – the emblem of historic Iasi – we are getting to the heart of new Iasi, to offices with a view to the Palas shopping mall. This is where NESS has its offices, the well-known SES (Software Engineering Services) global provider. It’s a sort of mall of outsourced teams, which means more than outsourced services. It is an important difference!

Ness has dedicated teams to work for 2-3 years or even more for a certain client, representing up to half of the staff in the soft development departments of those clients. You’re walking along the corridors of NESS-Iasi, with names out of fairy tales (the boss’ office is in Peter Pan), but in fact you’re passing by the offices dedicated to an American giant that manufactures cable TV equipment (their logo is actually on these offices). Or, further on, you learn another multinational company has settled here, which has individualised its space by setting its own security rules with monitored access.

“Our model is to integrate our own teams in our clients’ business problems – at first they tell us what they need and, as the collaboration develops, we take up some of their functions and give them improvement and development suggestions” – says Catalin Cefalan, delivery vice president at Ness Romania. Each team is a separate profit centre inside Ness, acting, of course, in an agile environment, based on scrum rules.

“Our model is to integrate our own teams in our clients’ business problems – at first they tell us what they need and, as the collaboration develops, we take up some of their functions and give them improvement and development suggestions” – says Catalin Cefalan, delivery vice president at Ness Romania. Each team is a separate profit centre inside Ness, acting, of course, in an agile environment, based on scrum rules.


Ness has, at a global lever, delivery centres in Slovakia, in India (4), Romania and the USA. In Romania, it has reached 300 employees, with businesses estimated to 15 million dollars this year, 5 million more than in 2015. “We are on trend inside the group, so when the expansion to a new centre in Eastern Europe was discussed, they accepted our proposal to go to Timisoara, where we can do things just as well as here” – says Daniel Isepciuc, delivery manager. So the ice broke at the beginning of  this year– whereas Iasi used to receive what Timisoara (or Cluj) could no longer take, this time the people along Bahlui River went to open the centre along Bega. To be fair, the dynamics would be greater over there, aiming to reach 100-150 employees soon.

The success of Ness Romania came from that KPO level that means not waiting to receive, but bringing solutions and new approaches. Thus, Iasi introduced to Ness an automated testing service, becoming an excellence centre in the field. Soon, Carrier Path and Performance Management System will be implemented across Ness for all employees, two systems designed in Iasi. Somewhere you can still see here the entrepreneurial seed of Radix, the company of Gabriel Mardarasevici, bought by Ness in 2005 (the first transaction worth millions of dollars between a local entrepreneur and a foreign investor at the time – read more in BDM 3/2014 and on

Romania became too big to be ignored.

IASI is perceived as a successful secondary city with 55k university students, having a pipeline of 1.100 IT-specialists and 1,500 economists, fluent in 1 or 2 foreign languages, with loyal workforce, having an unemployment rate above the national averages and the average salary 20-25% lower than the average in Bucharest.

Source – Extind/

What next for IASI?

  • New companies are opening operations in Iasi (Oracle, Accenture, Cegeka, Fortech etc.);
  • Expansion of the existing companies (area, no. of employees) like Xerox, Continental, UBIS, Amazon, Endava, Centric;
  • Increase of the modern offices stock (to over 300k sq.m. GLA) in the next 5 years;
  • More active Regional Cluster - Euronest ICT Cluster;
  • Airport traffic will increase to more than 20 daily flights and 1 million passengers yearly;
  • Customized up-to-date academic curricula;
  • IT & Outsourcing Community (growth from 8k to 33k by 2030)
  • A shift from the „brainpower outsourcing” to high added value services (R&D, KPO), to genuine own products and innovations protected by patents;
  • €800 net, minimum wage for a beginner programmer.

This article is taken over from the 11th number of Business Days Magazine. 

See more articles in the category: Management & Business Strategy
Articolul anterior