Written by John Einar Sandvand
Communications Manager - product & tech
Published April 16, 2015

Special task force for Schibsted companies

They call themselves SEALs and aspire to be a special task force for Schibsted companies with need for extra coding power. 

With 150 employees Schibsted Tech Polska has grown to be one of the biggest tech companies in Schibsted Media Group. 19 partner companies now have their own teams of developers in either Krakow and Gdansk.

– But we received also requests from Schibsted companies that needed extra programming power for a shorter period without establishing their own permanent team, says Tomasz Zarzeczny, manager for Schibsted Tech Polska´s office in Gdansk.

Internal consultants

And thus the SEALs was born, a team of software developers that could be hired by Schibsted companies for short-term software projects.

– We have tried to put together a highly competent team which can solve as diverse projects as possible and at the same time tap into the massive competence sharing that takes place between teams in Schibsted Tech Polska. Many Schibsted companies use external consultants extensively. We believe the SEALs should be an interesting alternative, both when it comes to quality and a very competitive price level, says Stig A. Waagbø, CEO in Schibsted Tech Polska.

But why the name SEALs? Team leader Karol Sójko explains with a smile:

– We copied it from the US Navy SEALs to illustrate we are a kind of special force. And because we are located by the sea in Gdansk. There are seals here!

Security app for Schibsted

The Schibsted Tech Polska SEALs currently consists of four developers: One UX designer, one front-end developer and two back-end developers. Together they are able to take on quite comprehensive projects.

– Our first project was Schibsted Security, an application ordered by Roy Stranden, Schibsted´s security officer. Later we have helped in developing Stavanger Aftenblad´s Byas.no and also assisted Omni in Sweden with prototypes of their mobile application. Currently we are helping Schibsted Norway Consumer Sales with a new product, explains Karol Sojko.

The SEALs like best projects where all of them can participate. Photo: John Einar Sandvand

The SEALs like best projects where all of them can participate. Photo: John Einar Sandvand

Also internal projects

The developers work on internal Schibsted Tech Polska projects when they are not rented out to other Schibsted companies. One such project is the “Tech Zone”, an application to keep track of all the technical competencies in a development company like Schibsted Tech Polska.

The SEALs have also developed the new version of Schibsted Tech Polska´s own web site, which was launched in April.

No time to get bored

Switching between projects and customers comes with both benefits and challenges.

– The good thing is that we never have time to get bored, says team leader Karol Sojko.

And the team´s UX designer, Arkadiusz Janeczko, adds:

– It gives us the opportunity to work with cutting-edge tools. As we switch between projects, we can also try out different tools and check pros and cons.

Developer Szymon Skórczyński admits it can be a challenge to switch code-base so often. – But it is also good for us. We don´t stick to one thing, but gain experience from very different projects, he says.

Front-end developer Mateusz Derks adds: – Since we always have limited time, we are also forced to prioritize. We need to decide what will have the biggest impact to do with the time we have available, he says.

Sets aside time for personal development

The team uses a set of tools and practices to ensure they are able to deliver high quality in all projects. For instance all team members have set aside some time each week for personal development. This time is used to study or work on a subject that will make them better developers.

Because the team always works with a customer in a different location processes have to be set up to accomodate this.

–  Our mindset is “remote first”, says team leader Karol Sojko.  He says this means that all work processes have to be transparent so that others can take over or review their work at any time. And the code needs to be easy to maintain.

A number of tools are used to make collaboration easy, both within the team and with the customer. This includes for instance:

  • High-quality video conferencing equipment for meetings with the customer
  • Slack for communication and chat
  • Jira for project management
  • Invision for user experience design collaboration
  • And many other tools

Problem solvers

– We like to look at ourselves as engineers who solve problems, says Szymon Skórczyński.  And he adds that the team likes best projects they can solve together as a team, using each other´s compentencies and expertise.

Interested in using SEALs?

Contact department manager Mateusz Jaracz at mateusz.jaracz@schibsted.pl or phone +48-721 812 007.


Here is the team

Karol Sojko

Karol Sojko

Team leader

Started in Schibsted Tech Polska in June 2014.

Long experience as back-end PHP developer. Active in organizing PHP meetups in Gdansk. Eager supporter of behavior-driven development.

Karol has just put the book: To do: Team!

Blog:  http://karolsojko.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/karolsojko


Szymon Skórczyński

Szymon Skórczyński 

Software engineer

Started in Schibsted Tech Polska in July 2014.

He has been coding in PHP since his teens. Big fan of virtualization and automation.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sskorc



seal_portraits-3Arkadiusz Janeczko

UX designer

Started in Schibsted Tech Polska in November 2014.

UX Designer, but by education psychologist. Passionate about rapid prototyping. Uses modern tools to create neat prototypes for mobile and web applications.

Blog: http://prototajpit.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/arekjaneczko

Website:  arkadiuszjaneczko.pl



seal_portraits-4Mateusz Derks

Front-end developer

Started in Schibsted Tech Polska in June 2014.

Enjoy building applications using javascript. Fan of automatization with NodeJS. Open Source enthusiast.

Github: https://github.com/ertrzyiks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ertrzyiks


The SEALs in Gdansk (from left): Karol Sojko, Arkadiusz Janeczko, Szymon Skórczyński and Mateusz Derks. Photo: John Einar Sandvand

The SEALs in Gdansk (from left): Karol Sojko, Arkadiusz Janeczko, Szymon Skórczyński and Mateusz Derks. Photo: John Einar Sandvand

Written by John Einar Sandvand
Communications Manager - product & tech
Published April 16, 2015