How We Developed TYPO3 Competency

Interview with Bohdan Dmytryshyn, AgiliWay CTO:

“We had to jump many hurdles and remove a few barriers before we tapped TYPO3 technology full potential”.

TYPO3 in Ukraine

Ever since TYPO3 has made its strong showing on IT market as a content management system with competitive edge, the hype and debates surrounding its releases don’t end. Among a range of PHP-powered opensource platforms (WordPress, Magento, Joomla, Drupal) TYPO3 takes the lead as a viable solution for information-rich corporate-level large websites.

One of founders and chief technical officer of Agiliway, a USA software development outsourcing company, Bohdan Dmytryshyn* is sharing how his team of specialists went up the road towards TYPO3 competency, sometimes hitting the roadblocks and moving the blind alley before reaching their target destination.

Q.: Let me start not with questions around the specifics of new TYPO3 direction implementation but with one observation. Having spent 20 years working in IT outsourcing industry in USA and Ukraine you have already firmly established your niche and proved your expertise working with web platforms of high usability, worldwide recognition and, let’s face it, high profitability ratio such as WordPress, Magento, Joomla, Drupal. Why would you embark on implementing TYPO3 direction when TYPO3 market share, let alone TYPO3 development outsourcing, doesn’t exceed 2%?

B.D.: Once you’ve been in the IT business for a while working with multiple clients over hundreds of projects you come to realize two crucial things, I’d even say equally as significant as deep technical expertise.

First, over time you start to develop profound understanding of customer needs, expectations and challenges. Even more you are no longer satisfied with providing custom software development by request you aim higher at top-line results, which means digging deep into the project, providing high-end assessment, gap analysis, offering the best strategy. Recently we have received a pipeline of requests from our clients mainly from Europe regarding TYPO3 and found this technology to be a great fit for the needs of a client we have been already working for some time. TYPO3 competency So, we threw down the gauntlet and took a head start on implementing TYPO3 technology.

Second, our core principle is team focus. We truly believe that investment in team professional development pays the best interest. Therefore, we support tech-savvy ambitions of our specialists and encourage every team member to advance in technology.

Q.: That’s a really good set of points you are making here but you know as they say one pound of learning requires ten pounds of common sense to apply. How have you come around preparing a pool of TYPO3 specialists ready for TYPO3 development outsourcing?

B.D.: Well, it didn’t happen overnight. Of course some of our engineers had some narrow experience with TYPO3 or were just dabbling with extension repository, configuration, TYPO3 plugins and modules.

To build a core of TYPO3 team and pull experts of this field our sights were set on hiring experienced TYPO3 specialists. But very soon we were caught up with certain scarcity of competitive TYPO3 developers on IT market. We found it best to confront things head-on and decided to go three ways: employing senior TYPO3 developers, retraining skilled PHP specialists and growing young staff.

Q.: TYPO3 is claimed to be leading-edge technology that is widespread in Europe powering around 30000 sites of large corporations and small businesses yet why does it remain beyond the competence of most software development companies in Ukraine and other Eastern European countries?

B.D.: I guess there is high risk to incur losses instead of experiencing seamless business flow and growth. Implementing TYPO3 technology is rather costly, resource-intensive undertaking that requires advanced server configuring, powerful system resources. Besides, lower market share in comparison with WordPress and a steep learning curve do not brighten it up. Agiliway took up this challenge because it ocurred to us that this might be an excellent opportunity to enter German IT market with viable custom software solution offered by a team of TYPO3 professionals.

Q.: Since the moment you buckled down to developing TYPO3 competence many months have passed. Now when you have first-hand experience growing a team of TYPO3 specialists tell us about main challenges you went through

B.D.: When I look back I can now say that it was learning through trial and error. We had to jump hurdles and remove many barriers to practice, to tap TYPO3 technology full potential. Among most disconcerting are lack of good documentation in English, it is mostly in German; low number of senior TYPO3 developers while other were cautions about starting new technology altogether. We’ve also had a major setback. TYPO3 requires technical proficiency and serious background to customize it, so training junior developers didn’t pan out.

Q: How many hours of back-breaking, challenging mental work does it take to build TYPO3 expertise?

B.D.: Giving you a rough estimate it takes from 4 up to 6 months to retrain mid or senior level of specialists into stable TYPO3 developers

Q.: Are you satisfied with results? Do the ends justify the means?

B.D: No doubt about it. Many months of all-out efforts and sizeable investment and here we go! A strong team of TYPO3 developers, mostly senior or at least mid strong level coupled with an effective TYPO3 retraining program we’ve come up with an invaluable asset to our company. Now we are able to take up TYPO3 project of any complexity.

Q.: A great way to end. Thank you.

B.D.: My pleasure. Thank you.

* About Bohdan Dmytryshyn

Bohdan Dmytryshyn is co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Agiliway Group. Working as Solution Architect, Project Manager, QC Lead and Data Analyst at SoftServe, Bohdan has gained 20 years of experience in the world of data management and software application development as well as all related aspects of software engineering, project management and technology. He helps companies improve decision-making and performance.