<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://dc.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=614121&amp;fmt=gif">
Contact us

Post written by Tom Handegård | 24.06.2024

Team Exchange: – An Investment in Quality Time for Future Success

Promineo brought their three developers from Dhaka to Norway to get to know each other better and create a deeper understanding of what the company is working on. CEO Leif Arild Åsheim has no doubt that it is an investment in future success.

At Cefalo, we have been providing external developers to numerous skilled companies for over ten years. Many have been surprised at how well our form of offshore development works. It’s no secret that some are a bit skeptical about «offshoring», often due to previous experiences with varying degrees of success.

Hiring external developers is a significant step for many, despite the large shortage of developers in Norway. We think that’s a shame because with the right methods, you are very likely to succeed with outsourcing.

Making Everyone Feel at Home

One of the cornerstones of the Cefalo model is that the external team should become an integrated part of your company, just like your own employees in Norway. It’s hard to achieve that if you haven’t met face-to-face, something that was not been possible during the pandemic.

We strongly recommend that customers invite the offshore team to Norway to get to know each other and spend time together – both in and out of the office. And no, you don’t need to go rappelling, rafting, or go-karting. The most important thing is to spend time together, get to know each other on a more personal level, and ideally visit some of the clients the team works for.

We recommend setting aside a week for this, preferably annually. We know that you will be repaid with greater understanding, better communication, increased motivation and ownership, and a more efficient collaboration later.


Physical meetings build relationships

Much can be done via video, but you clearly miss out on the personal aspect in digital meetings. Team lead in Dhaka, Asif Kamal, visited Promineo in Norway a little while back. He has this to say about the importance of team exchanges:

Group 2

– There are undoubtedly cultural differences between Norway and Bangladesh, and these are easier to bridge by meeting in person. Personal meetings make it easier to communicate and bridge cultural barriers. You notice small details in communication that quickly get lost in digital meetings. For me, the most positive thing about such a visit is that communication flows more easily and better afterwards, he explains.

Cefalo’s experience is that your team will succeed best when the developers feel like they are your own employees – this comes down to relationships and psychology. Normally, it is natural and sensible to meet in person on major occasions, such as during significant strategic processes or the start of large projects. Our advice is to try to time the team exchange with such events, as it makes it easier to integrate the team closely with the company from the start.

A Great Advantage for the Team!

Promineo is one of our clients who recently had their team from Dhaka visit. Before the summer of 2022, three developers from Dhaka came to Stavanger to build relationships with their other colleagues in the company. Leif Arild Åsheim, the CEO of Promineo, has no doubt that the visit was both useful and valuable for everyone involved.

– It was a great advantage for our team here, and for the team in Dhaka. Such a visit builds relationships, which in turn ensures better communication. If we had five developers in Dhaka, we would have brought all five over. It’s a shared experience for everyone, says Åsheim.

Through the visit, the developers from Dhaka gained context and references that help them understand Promineo better. This has already resulted in better collaboration in the ongoing production.

– Our goal was to give them these references to hang things on, for example around «What is a process plant» and «What do our customers need». Understanding each other beyond what we write in C# adds value! Åsheim elaborates.

Promineo brought the team to Norway for two full weeks in May ‘22. It was definitely not a vacation for the team, CEO Åsheim explains.

– The reason we took two full weeks now was because it had been three years since we last met them, so that bill was long overdue. Normally, we would take a week once a year, but that hasn’t been possible during the pandemic. Although the main focus was not pure production, it was far from a vacation for our team. We wanted to spend time together to get to know each other and had many exciting discussions together; about work processes, technology, and other things that are easier to discuss when you are together physically, he explains.

An Investment in Future Results

Bringing a team from Dhaka to Norway clearly has a cost. You should probably budget at least 30,000 kroner per person who travels, but Åsheim is clear that the price should not be a barrier to getting such a visit done. He calls it an investment in quality time.

– It obviously costs, but there is an acceptance and recognition in the business world that you have to invest in people and collaboration. We would have spent this money on our employees if they were in Norway, so why not spend it on our employees from Dhaka? We see it as getting repaid in higher and better production going forward, says Åsheim.

Company Visits Provided Depth and Understanding

One of the things both the team in Dhaka and the organization in Stavanger appreciated the most was the company visit to Equinor at Kårstø. It gave a further understanding of what they actually work with, especially for the developers from Bangladesh who had never seen a process plant before.

Group 3

– Seeing the Kårstø plant made their tasks more tangible, says Åsheim. He is supported by Promineo’s team lead in Dhaka, Asif Kamal.

– For us, it is important to understand the company and the area they work in. It makes our work easier. With Promineo, we work in the oil industry, an industry we don’t have in Bangladesh. Visiting Equinor, Kårstø, and the oil museum had great value for the whole team. It gave us a lot when it comes to visualizing and understanding the industry, and has given us more depth in the work we do as developers for Promineo, he explains.

Something that was also crucial to getting the feeling of being one team, as opposed to an A and B team with an «us and them» mentality, was home visits to colleagues in Stavanger. This gave faces to friends and family members who are often mentioned in daily digital team meetings.

– Seeing each other quickly eliminates the typical «us and them» mentality, explains Kamal. – We did several team-building activities, but the most important thing was to spend time together. Visiting colleagues at home probably meant the most, meeting the children and spouses we’ve heard so much about added a lot of understanding for each other that we previously missed.

You Have to Open Up

If you’re going to bring a team of three to five developers from Dhaka to Norway, there’s no point in holding back when you finally have time together. You have to dare to open up, is the clear advice from Leif Arild Åsheim in Promineo. How can we use this time best and do something we can’t otherwise do when we’re on opposite sides of the globe? Those were the questions he asked himself before the plan was laid out.

– Mainly, the value lies in spending time together. You have to «open up» and share. For us, it was a visit to my family farm in Skånevik, where we also got to see Norwegian fjords and snow on Folgefonna – to great cheer from those who had never seen such things before. We achieved a cultural exchange that was invaluable to us, colleagues who didn’t grow up by the same fjord, he smiles.


Are you curious about external development? We would be happy to have a pleasant chat with you by phone, meeting or video.

Talk to us about developers

Tom Handegård

Post written by Tom Handegård

CTO and Co-founder, Cefalo.