The Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri was recently in Bosnia and met our Softhouse colleagues in Sarajevo. After a little more than a year, the business has gained momentum and the seven coworkers work closely with their colleagues in Sweden.
On Wednesday the 9th December, Dagens Industri published their article in which Stefan Johansson, CEO of Softhouse, and Himzo Musić, CEO of Softhouse Bosnia, were interviewed in Sarajevo. They talked about the successful establishment of the company and the collaboration with the Swedish embassy.
– The article reflects well the challenges of establishing in former Yugoslavia, but also how much there is to gain, says Stefan Johansson. We have also learned a lot about how to built distributed development teams that work tight and agile, despite being geographically dispersed.
Professionally, the colleagues in Sarajevo and Scandinavia have no problem finding each other, neither regarding programming skills nor language proficiency. Although Bosnia is a low cost country compared to Sweden, the educational system has been maintained at a very high level, despite the war and the trouble getting the economy back on its feet during early 2000s.
– There is a lot of interesting initiatives going on here that we can learn from and that can work as inspiration for us in Sweden, for example the investments in IoT under the name Sarajevo Smart City, says H Himzo Musić. The Swedish embassy plays an important role, they do everything they can to help us with networking and knowledge sharing.
Engaged in Bosnia Agile
Softhouse has gained a reputation among software developers in Bosnia through their engagements in different support initiatives for the country’s software industry. With support from SIDA, Softhouse has held Scrum Master courses in several cities. Around 100 participants have been certified. A Lean for Managers course was also held, sponsored by USAID. Softhouse are also tied to the local Agile movement through a partnership with Bosnia Agile, sponsorship of the organization’s conferences and participation in programming meetups.
– One Agile course, of the more unusual kind, was held at the Swedish embassy with the theme “How can an embassy become agile”, says Himzo Musić. All the employees – including the ambassador – was there!
Himzo Musić, who came to Sweden at the age of seventeen, is proud to being part of stopping the brain drain that has been troubling Bosnia for years.
– We create good conditions for young Bosnians that enable them to stay in Bosnia and inspire others to improving the society and to pay taxes in the country they grew up in. In my vision we are 35-50 employees in five years and we are the company everybody want to work for in Bosnia. We have the best and coolest office and we care about our employees and in return we get happy and dedicated coworkers.