It is that time of year again — the time to count the score of another inning. The game in 2020 has been tough for everyone, changing the rules even for tech companies that are no stranger to work from home (WFH).

Rubyroid Labs is no exception. A lot has happened to us throughout the year, though not all was related to the C-word. Read on to learn how we adjusted to the pandemic, kept on going and even helped other companies get through this difficult time.

Adapting to Challenging Circumstances

Remote work has never been too much of a challenge to us, as you can imagine. Even before the pandemic, our team members were known to work from home (as well as our employees in other cities). Long ago we adopted best practices and set up airtight processes for remote team management.

But this time everyone had to go home and stay there — with whatever devices each of us needed for productive work. Certainly, full-time WFH is not the same thing as the mixed-employment mode we have all been used to.

fruit-delivery

To preserve our sense of connection, we introduced the biweekly five o’clock tea, where we connect via Zoom and chat about anything beyond work. We also arranged fruit delivery to team members to support their physical and mental health through these uncertain times.

Finally, we moved our headquarters to a smaller, cozier office. Part of the team is still working from home and dropping by our new premises a couple of times a week.

Team Expansion

You must have heard numerous accounts of massive layoffs, with companies having to choose who classifies as an essential worker and who does not. We are lucky to have been able to avoid all of that.

Moreover, we have been able to expand our team with seven Ruby on Rails developers and two sales and marketing professionals. In addition to Minsk, you can now find us in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tbilisi, Vitebsk and Grodno.

rubyroidlabs-team-expansion

An Initiative for the Hard Times

While we have fared relatively well, businesses that use technology to serve end customers have faced a drop in income. For many, offsetting expenses against income has become a matter of survival. This is when we came up with the idea for Ruby on Rails Aid.

When the pandemic broke out, it ruined six major deals for us. Some put off projects due to the uncertainty ahead, others thought their product idea would no longer stick, and the rest just wanted to save money. Our long-time clients in the automotive and travel industries were hit especially hard as traveling was banned and car sales slumped. 

This threatened our own business, and we began thinking about a giveaway that would get us new connections and, at the same time, help our loyal clientele stay afloat.

What we came up with was free consulting for Ruby on Rails companies. Through infrastructure review, we would help companies spot inefficiencies that caused unnecessary expenses and suggest fixes.

So far eight companies have used our Ruby on Rails Aid. For some of them, we have been able to slash tech-related costs by 20%. We want to believe that this has saved at least a few jobs. Through infrastructure review, we would help companies spot inefficiencies that caused unnecessary expenses and suggest fixes.

So far eight companies have used our Ruby on Rails Aid. For some of them, we have been able to slash tech-related costs by 20%. We want to believe that this has saved at least a few jobs.

Setting a Foot in New Industries

In 2020, we have been able to explore the domains we had previously little or no experience in.

A typical Rubyroid Labs’ client had been a CRM company or a company operating in real estate, automotive, finance and lifestyle. With a 20% increase in client projects this year, our team has been discovering how best to work with the insurance, law, hospitality, the Internet of things (IoT) and mining businesses.

The geography of our clients has also expanded, adding Australia and Norway to our list of countries.

What did not change is our relationship with startups. We have continued helping daring new companies through consulting, reviewing code and advising on improvements.

review-consuting

This year, we completed an interesting Ruby on Rails development project: Newlywords. It is a platform that allows users to compile a memory book of photographs and significant items together with relatives and friends. Once the memory book is ready, users can order a printed copy.

Achievements and Accolades

The competition between software developers has stiffened in 2020, as businesses increasingly turned to digital transformation. Everyone has tried to bite as much of that big pie of new opportunities as they could.

Online catalogs of software development firms have reflected the competition well. These companies have been padding their portfolios and encouraging their clients to leave reviews as never before. However, our status as RoR leader remains unchanged: we did not lose any of our catalog positions and have even climbed higher.

Take Clutch, one of the world’s most visited software developer catalogs. On Clutch, we have stolen the number one spot of top Ruby on Rails development companies based on review ratings. Furthermore, we hit the second position for top web developers in Belarus, regardless of the focus technology.

We have also maintained the third place among the best Ruby on Rails developers on TopDevelopers.co. Finally, we’ve kept the first position on a similar chart on Extract.co since 2017.

Conclusion

2020 will be a year to remember for its unique challenges, new opportunities and achievements.

But it has also made us revisit things that we had taken for granted. A warm handshake. A casual water cooler chat. Those moments of chemistry when, for no obvious reason, you know exactly what your teammate is about to say.

This year taught us all to appreciate the physical sense of comradery. Now, when two colleagues occasionally meet at the office, there is much more excitement than before. Once the pandemic is over, we are going to come out a different team.

Now we are enjoying the holiday season and making plans for 2021. With all that we have learned and gone through in 2020, the new year is going to be a blast.

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CMO at Rubyroid Labs

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