From this conversation, you will learn:
- What is the current situation in the IT market in Vietnam?
- What distinguishes Vietnamese Project Managers from Polish ones?
- Is Vietnam worth considering as a workplace?
Adam Skoneczny connects Asia with Europe. He is the business representative for the European market at Vietnamese NTQ Solution company, which delivers IT services mainly to the Asian market. Adam’s role is to build a bridge between Vietnam and Europe and expand NTQ Solutions services to European countries.
In addition to working in NTQ Solution, Adam develops his business initiatives and engages in charity.
At this moment, Adam is also chairman of European & Vietnamese IT organization EVIT. Provide for all members access to network, tools, and support to deliver value across:
- individual members,
He is also the author of, as he calls it, a travel novel, the title of which I do not dare to say: Chém gió của Tay.
Artur Guła: Hi Adam, thank you for taking the time for this interview.
This blog is about IT Project Management, but in addition, we will talk about similarities and differences between Vietnam and Poland in the IT context.
Let’s start with the overall situation on the market. When I did research, it turned out that I could apply for a Vietnam-based IT Project Manager role even to KFC. Big companies like Microsoft or Intel move their processes to Vietnam. How does the IT world look like in Vietnam?
It was a „hidden gold nugget”, and now when discovered, everyone wants a piece of it ? Many big companies are moving out of China, and they are choosing Vietnam. At the same time, a lot of European companies have noticed the potential of Vietnam and its value so they want to approach the market to develop their business here. I am very happy that I am a witness to this, it is perfect timing to do business here, especially in the IT industry.
AG: How do you see the IT trends in Vietnam comparing them to Poland or Europe? Are there any differences?
AS: Yes, in Vietnam we have a few trends like NFT gaming, blockchain, and AI. They focus on new things and R&D. Another different thing is mobile apps. Less and less is used here and most of them are iOS (you would be surprised but most Vietnamese people are using iPhones), however, in Europe I see that Android is still king.
AG: We all know how hard it is to find a good IT specialist in Poland or even Europe. What is the situation in Vietnam?
AS: Good, IT specialist is a relevant term. In Europe, it means something different, in Japan also and in Vietnam too. In Japan when you ask for a good IT specialist, they mean a “robot” who can follow orders and can not have his/her input in a project. In Poland we appreciate proactivity and creativity, however, Vietnam is a place where developers have a special skill of adopting to work with different cultures. They are very flexible but require specific instructions and management. When you look at statistics, around 20% of devs in Vietnam have 7 years plus experience.
AG: Let’s say I’m going to start working as a PM in Vietnam from next week, and this will be my first contact with this country. What might surprise me?
AS: For sure you will be surprised when at 1:00 PM you will see a lot of people sleeping on the floor ? Another thing is that we walk barefoot in offices.
But the most important is creating relationships with your team.
You will experience many chit-chats and questions about your family. They will ask you for age, hobbies, and they will invite you to go drink coffee together to get to know you better.
Another thing is work ethic. The way we work is a bit different, Vietnamese devs require more specific information and step-by-step instructions. There is also a hierarchical approach to work so they will expect that their boss will lead them.
AG: One of the top values for the NTQ Solution is productivity. I wonder how it reflects in everyday work. Do managers use metrics and put pressure on achieving high results? Or maybe it’s more like self-organization towards productivity?
AS: Yes, that is correct, we want to make sure that the work we do is valuable and we can reach the expectation of the customer, because of that we measure everything that we can by applying “user point” or “story point” and then comparing our performance with expectation, goals, and milestones. We are creating documentation of our work and analyzing it together with customers to make sure we follow their demands.
AG: Another key value is quality. We all know the stories from Toyota and their pursuit for the lowest possible number of defects. Is there a similar mentality in Vietnam regarding quality?
AS: In Vietnam, the Japanese methodology of Kaizen is not popular as in Japan. However, we do apply coding standards and encourage our customers to create one when we begin a project. 70% of NTQ customers are in Japan so when we start a new project with our partners, they do introduce to us all documents, requirements, standards, and instructions we need to make sure we are working according to their demand. When we have those kinds of information we can guarantee that we will reach the quality that customer is expecting
AG: Are there any other significant differences in attitude and general working culture between Poland and Vietnam?
They want to work with foreigners and they are not as motivated by money as other countries. Another thing is “rubber time”, meaning: when we plan to start work at 8:00 AM, you need to expect that they may show up at 8:30 or even 9:00 AM, however, they never leave the office at 5 sharp. For them, staying late at the office without pay is very normal. If they promised to do something they will do it and it does not matter if it takes 8 hours or 13. Very often when I am leaving the office at 8 PM, many devs are still here and working on some projects.
AG: Now I’d like to ask you a general question – why should we consider Vietnam as a place to live?
Photo from Adam’s collection
AS: Here I could write and write and write….. ? The main reason why I have chosen this country is the people. Extremely nice, polite, welcoming, generous, peaceful, and friendly people. They create an amazing environment to live here. Thanks to this you feel very safe and also you feel that you are welcome in their country. Another thing is beautiful nature and amazing food. And last but not least, the living cost is very low. You can rent a beautiful house, near the beach, with cleaner service, eat in restaurants and drive everywhere by taxi for relatively small money.
AG: How does it look from the legal perspective? Are there any special requirements for those who would like to stay longer there?
AS: If you are hired by a Vietnamese company you do not need to worry about anything, they will take care of everything and pay for it. If you are planning to open your business it is a little more complicated and often requires help from a lawyer. At this moment we do not have tourist visas so generally those are only two options, but I hope in near future it will change and we will have back many tourists from Europe and Poland
AG: Thank you for your time, and many interesting information about the IT in Vietnam!
If you are interested in working in Vietnam, feel free to reach Adam on LinkedIn.