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Roman Petryk

VP of product

"We always boldly make changes to internal processes.For example, even last year, in order to increase their own efficiency, all product teams switched to kanban (from the Japanese method of managing software development).In times of full-scale war, this decision turned out to be a lifesaver for us."

My name is Roman Petryk.I am the VP of Product at Uklon.The Uklon company provides services in the areas of ride-hailing and delivery.We help users make trips from point A to point B, both within the same city and in intercity trips, for example, from Kyiv to Chernivtsi.We also provide delivery services, thanks to which our users can order fast transportation of shipments.

Uklon - Ukrainian product IT company, developer of the ride-hailing service of the same name.

Behind the development of products under the Uklon brand is a powerful team that works every day to improve and support one of the largest infrastructures in the country's market, ensuring the interaction of drivers and riders. Uklon's products are apps and websites that allow users to order cars and drivers to pick them up; we create our own internal process management system (CRM), our own mapping service and our own solution responsible for integration with payment providers.

Our team always uses the latest technological solutions and methodologies, has a microservice architecture and cloud computing, implements intelligent tools and tries to always be the most technological leader in its field.

The situation with the company before the war.How would the participant himself describe the state of the field and the company before the war?

Let's put it this way, the state of development of our field was quite active, it developed dynamically.Before the war, we had a lot of ambitious plans related to entering new markets and introducing new functionality into our application.

Was the company preparing for a possible war? How exactly?

On February 21 or 22, the company held an All hands meeting, where the question of a possible full-scale war with the founders was raised.Then partial preparation began, taking into account what the impact on the company would be.There was no such thing as everyone pretending that nothing was happening.That is, everyone had their own opinion, whether there would be a war or not, this topic was discussed.

What business and team (personnel) decisions did the company make in the first hours and first weeks of the war?

On February 24, after our country was raised at 5 in the morning, we were informed in the corporate messenger that the company is giving everyone a paid vacation until the end of the working week. During this time, our colleagues could move, say, from the northern or eastern part of Ukraine to the west.

I would like to note that on this day we were fully paid the remuneration for February, that is, the company financially supported everyone. Those who had the opportunity, from the following Monday began to perform work tasks little by little.

The HR department quickly launched the project, within which it actively helped colleagues to find housing, transport and covered other needs for moving between cities. This greatly helped our team members quickly find a new place for themselves and their families.

How did the company's product change or adapt because of the war?

Our company had 12 product teams. After the start of active hostilities, the Uklon Share team, which was engaged in a separate product, was disbanded. We distributed the resources of this team between other product projects. At Uklon, there were no layoffs in the IT sector at all.

After February 24, we launched 2 new products to help Ukrainians. The first is "Volunteer", where we promptly organize the necessary car for the transportation of cargo or the transfer of people. They ensured the delivery of water, food, fuel, and food when it was needed by the Armed Forces or TRO. The second product we launched is an "Evacuation" class car. Today it is called "Intercity" - a service for intercity transportation. With the help of our data science team, we saw that many users would like to order a long-distance ride, but Uklon did not provide such a service before. The development of this service was in our plans, but let's say, a little later, not in March. We realized that it is necessary to be flexible, to understand the primary needs of users, so the team quickly regrouped and provided users with the opportunity to use "Intercity".

Uklon App has recently changed its name to Uklon SuperApp. Uklon SuperApp is not an ordinary application, but an urban multitool that provides more than one service. On February 24, we were forced to put its development on hold. We solved the problems for which our users and the market needed solutions at that moment. We returned to the implementation of this project a little later and successfully released it in the summer. During June and July, the team was actively engaged in the implementation of SuperApp. At first, the new version of the application appeared in small cities, then millionaires connected, and the last - Kyiv.

What has changed in approaches to company management because of the war?(eg planning horizon, planning approaches, management methods and tools, etc.)?

We had clearly planned the first and second quarters of the year. Tasks from the end of the first quarter had to be done faster. I believe that in the second quarter, which began in April, we managed to achieve 70-90% of the indicators we set for ourselves. Not the business of indicators, but the technical functionality that we planned to release.

We always boldly make changes to internal processes. For example, even last year, in order to increase their own efficiency, all product teams switched to kanban (from the Japanese method of managing software development). In times of full-scale war, this decision turned out to be a lifesaver for us. Already after the first week of work, we managed to reach 80% of the productivity of our teams. Some were online, some were offline. Our IT division also had quarterly planning and it hasn't changed, we still use it.

What is the state of the company after half a year of war.What are your plans for the future?

Within a week of the start of full-scale war, we had recovered 80% of productivity. Uklon is one of the few companies in the country that did not stop its work even in the most difficult cities, and now we are the leaders in our category in the Monobank dashboard. If you compare July 2022 with July 2021, the number of trips has decreased by 20%. According to the number of completed orders for July 2022 to January-February 2022, our indicators fell by 40%. In March, the company had a sevenfold drop.

The market is influenced by the situation at the front. We are grateful to the Armed Forces, because if tension had remained in Kyiv, we would not have reached these indicators at all. Of course, the indicators are not as we expected, because in 2021 we grew at a fairly high rate, but now I would like to say that from month to month there is a positive trend in the recovery of trips. During the war, we started in a new city, in Kamianets-Podilskyi. They also expanded the coverage in 10 regions and, at the moment, Uklon is available in 29 settlements.

We plan to expand our business to new countries. The company has enough technical expertise and developed modern solutions that can be used for the infrastructure of cities and they can be useful not only for business, but also for the state. We plan to work with social projects.

What are the main lessons you learned as a manager through the war?

The company clearly understands that the greatest value of any business was and remains the team. This is the main driver, both for life and for product development. We have had no layoffs in the IT division, which is very commendable.

As a manager, I realized that it is necessary to be able to adapt very quickly to the market and needs. If the team and you, as a manager, do not have flexibility, the ability to make quick decisions, then you can fall into an abyss. If it is, it will help keep the business stable and see room for growth even in times like these.

I am sincerely impressed by the enthusiasm in the eyes and the focus on the result with which the team members returned to work. We perform work tasks for the country, we know that we are needed and this motivates each of us to do more and better.


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