An Interview with the BMGH’s Chief Technical Officer Darko Kovač

In a dedicated and far-sighted software development company – which we believe that BrightMarbles Group is – every employee is sacred. If you want your business mechanism to function frictionlessly, it takes the entire entourage of committed professionals to cater to clients’ (and employees’) needs.  

Our Chief Technical Officer Darko Kovač stands in the middle of the Venn diagram, at that soft spot where software engineering and team leadership overlap.  

As 2024 is the year of transformation, both on a global tech scale and on regional levels, he found a slot in his busy schedule to share his thoughts, industry updates, and examples from rich work experience.  

Q: Darko, how are you and how are things on the tech side of life at BrightMarbles this February? 

I’m fine, thanks for asking. And things look as bright as ever. We expect a winning streak this spring and all year long, regarding the continuation of our existing projects and commencement of new ones.  

We’re hiring again, looking for some skilled and cool Node.js and React senior engineers. I’m looking forward to finding the right people for these roles and onboarding them as soon as possible.  

Q: Last year was demanding and a bit tiring for the entire global tech community. How did you cope with this situation and how did your teams operate? 

We had to adapt to the crisis that hit the US tech market and then spread to Europe. We didn’t hire new engineers and restructured our teams, to stay afloat. Luckily, that part is behind us and we’re confidently galloping into 2024.  

At the moment, we’re in the middle of intense communication with some prospects to schedule the first Discovery Workshops this year. 

Q: We can’t resist asking additional questions about the Discovery Workshop. Imagine I’m a client, inquiring about your services and potential collaboration? What steps would I have in front of me? 

The first thing we do when a new client approaches us is listening. We want to hear more about their ideas, concepts, and needs. Our assistance also depends on the type of services the client needs.  

The approach is different if the client wants to develop a digital product from scratch than the one if they want team augmentation.  

Q: For the interview’s sake, let’s say that we have an idea for a certain mobile app. But we don’t have solid proof that this concept would actually bring profits. What would you do to help us detect its potential? 

Based on what you’ve said, I’ll assume that this client would need market research first. If the client hasn’t already done this part on their own, our marketing team is here to help them out. Within our holding, we provide full-fledged digital services. Once we have the necessary data, we bring the decision together with the client.  

From the technical point of view, during the Discovery Workshop we analyze whether the concept is feasible, i.e., whether we can carry it out the project. If we’re familiar with the market or niche the client wants to operate in, we add our two cents. Sometimes we can tell with pretty high accuracy that an idea doesn’t have a bright future (e.g., we’ve recently worked on a similar project, or the market is saturated).  

When we estimate that a project is promising – and when the market research data confirms our opinion – we’re ready to start with the refinement, estimation, and core work.  

Q: And then you keep developing the project until it’s ready for release? 

Not exactly. It’s a simplified view. Once we have enough green lights, we need to come up with proof of concept – it’s a confirmation strategy used at the beginning of the software development lifecycle. The PoC format depends on the stakeholders’ preferences. For instance, if part of a software product pitch, you can create a written document or full-scale PP presentation, with various graphic details.   

Most commonly, a PoC is either a document, a demo, or some sort of presentation. While there’s sometimes no programming in this period, your concept should contain all the necessary documentation and technical specifications.   

When all the relevant stakeholders see, analyze, and perceive the PoC and agree on its further development, we continue to the next stage. If we don’t have a consensus, we don’t move on.  

Ideally, we come up with the MVP as soon as possible. Our goal is to have a viable solution at an early stage so that we deliver the initial version to the client and have the first users. From there on, we build on the users’ feedback and keep developing iterations until everybody is satisfied.  

And that’s not all: once the product is polished and launched, we still work together with clients on tweaks, repairs, and improvements.  

We’re not in it for easy money, but for a long-term gain. Our goal is honest collaboration with all our clients – a composition of mutually connected wagons led by the BMGH locomotive

Q: What about team augmentation? How do you handle such collaborations?  

It’s different from digital product development in the sense that we don’t have the ideation, PoC, and MVP stage. Clients with whom we build software development partnerships are here either for dedicated teams or mixed teams. Such clients are most commonly other tech companies that already have a certain number of in-house engineers. Here, we have two different options.  

The first one is forming a dedicated team – a handpicked crew of our developers who are going to work on a client’s project as a separate unit.  

The second one is a mixed team; it’s a combination of our employees and people already working on the client’s side. Let’s keep in mind that it’s not only software engineers that work on our external projects. We have experienced and certified Scrum masters, project managers, and product owners, as well as QA and DevOps engineers and UI/UX designers. Sometimes all of them are engaged on a project; some other times, we activate only some of these roles. It all depends on the scope and timeframe of the project in question.  

Q: Can we get an exclusive insight from the holding’s CTO: which one do you personally prefer, digital product development or team augmentation? 

Either is good, and each is different. As a company, we always look forward to fresh ideas and innovative digital solutions. We have the necessary know-how and experience to build digital products from scratch. After all, we have several successful collaborations with seed-stage businesses under our belt.  

Team augmentation, on the other hand, is different because we don’t have the product validation and verification stage. Our main task here is to employ exquisite experts in every softdev micro-niche. Once they’ve proven their qualifications and experience, we take them under our wing. It’s our obligation and commitment to always have enough versatile engineers at our disposal because we work on demanding projects that make the world a better place; a hundred times better, dare I say. 

One more thing: in collaboration with our HR specialists, we also look for personal and cultural fits, in addition to tech-proficient professionals, so that our employees align with our company values. This is vital for the internal distribution of roles, as well.  

Q: What can we expect in 2024 in terms of software development? The breakthrough of artificial intelligence, a dynamic global tech market, and altered economic conditions – what do you reckon of all this? 

Well, AI solutions won’t take our jobs, if that’s what you want to know. What we’re already doing as we speak is implementing AI features for faster and more effective delivery. From my experience, whenever we had a hype around a certain tech trend – say, improved content management systems (CMS), innovations in the cloud infrastructure, cross-platform mobile development, and now artificial intelligence – clients gradually require more and more features and functionalities, but the amount of work remains the same or even increases. We should keep embracing AI-tools as our assistants (AIDEs) where they make our work easier.  

As for the dynamic global market and altered economic conditions, that’s the game we accepted, so we can only adapt quickly to ongoing changes and stay on our business track.  

About Darko

Darko Kovač is our Chief Technical Officer and one of the company co-founders. A once-wunderkind, now-veteran software engineer with a demonstrated experience in the computer software industry, he is a difference-making biz-dev professional, specialized in full-stack development in various technology stacks.