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    What Have We, As Software Outsourcers, Learned From The Pandemic?

    By Michael Manzo
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    COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruptions in the entire world economy, but the outsourcing business has been particularly hard hit.  As soon as clients felt economic instability and an uncertain future, R&D budgets were slashed, transactions were delayed, projects were cut, and prospective clients disappeared.  Consequently, many outsourcers had to downsize, or even go out-of-business. However, some organizations adapted quickly and took advantage of the crisis as an opportunity.

    CodeStringers is one of them. We were able to grow our business significantly despite the challenging environment.  Our success was recognized in the 2020 Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies; Top 20 software development firms of Design Rush; 2020 SVBJ Fast Private List; and most recently we made number 12 on the 2021 Inc. 5000 Regionals California list of fastest growing private companies.

    How did we do it? 

    #1 Never sacrifice integrity, especially in the bidding process

    We discussed this in detail in a prior blog post, however to summarize, it is very common for outsourcers to give prospective clients the budget number that they want to hear rather than giving them an honest answer based on a set of well defined requirements.  This often wins the bidding process since it’s the customer’s magic number, however once the bid is won and requirements are defined, the customer is hit with a change order that tells them the “real” price.

    These dishonest bidding shenanigans become particularly tempting during challenging economic times, however CodeStringers refuses to engage in them.  Our goal is not simply to close a deal, rather our goal is to do such a good job and build such a good relationship with the client that they want to work with us on their next project.  Furthermore, as the clients’ staff move on to other companies, they’ll want to hire us there too.

    Ultimately, this strategy ends up being more profitable, in addition to being more rewarding for clients and staff.

    #2 Keep the focus on our customers…

    Everyone knows that customer satisfaction is of paramount importance to a business, but sometimes they forget this fact when a crisis like COVID-19 strikes. During the crisis, they tend to focus more on the numbers than on the people. 

    CodeStringers is committed to avoiding this trap.  We absolutely keep our promises to our customers. Additionally, we do our best to help our clients through their crises rather than focus on ours. Many strategies and policies have been applied, such as:

    • Product diversification and product adjustment: CodeStringers brings innovation, craftsmanship, and integrity to our customers. We also do the same with ourselves. This allows us to come up with the right solutions for our customers’ unforeseen needs during these times of crisis.
    • Create more value for customers by innovating. We think clients hire us not only to code but also to make their business and products better. Keep updating technology knowledge will give us the ability to offer the best solution for our customers.
    • Leverage technology, respond faster and more flexibly: As a technology company, the transformation of traditional working model to remote working model is quite favorable for us. This does not reduce employees’ productivity but also provides the opportunity to respond more quickly and flexibly to customer requests.

    #3 …and on our staff

    Many businesses have implemented policies such as staff reduction, salary reduction, unpaid leave. Codestringers committed to maintaining our pre-COVID staffing levels so that our employees could feel safe enough to focus on innovation. Here’s what we’ve done:

    • Make our employees feel financially secure: say no to staff cuts, salary reductions, unpaid leave due to pandemic reasons. We maintain the same salaries and financial benefits for all our employees.
    • Make our employees feel secure about the working environment: we allow our employees to work remotely during the pandemic and we provide them with the tools they need such as laptops or desktops.
    • Make our employees feel safe at work: we fully implement prevention measures and provide prevention equipment such as masks, disinfectants, etc.
    • Eliminated hierarchical thinking: or as our CEO always says, “I didn’t hire you just to agree with me.”  We encourage innovation and initiative at all levels of the company.

    Basically, by making our employees feel that “we care about you,” we have found that they’re far more productive and they stick around longer.


    When running a business, you always have to deal with unexpected crises. The best way to prepare is to be flexible, stay innovative, and don’t lose your values. If you can weather a storm like COVID, you will emerge stronger /  better able to face future challenges. 


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    President & Chief Executive Officer

    About the author...

    Michael Manzo has nearly than 30 years of experience managing all aspects of software development including product management, user experience and interface design, engineering, quality assurance and marketing. Michael has served as President and CEO of CodeStringers since September 2014, having served as the company’s founding Chief Product Officer from July 2012.Prior to CodeStringers, Michael was Chief Marketing, Product and Strategy Officer at Openet, a leading global provider of transactional business and operational support system (B/OSS) software for telecom and cable firms, where he led marketing, product management, strategic planning and growth initiatives for the company. Manzo joined Openet as part of a turn-around team and, during his tenure, Openet grew from $15m in annual revenue to more than $150m, became the worldwide market share leader in the company’s primary product category, and developed a widely recognized reputation as the telecom infrastructure industry thought leader.Previously, Michael was Vice President of Products and Marketing for Traverse Networks, a fixed mobile convergence enterprise solution provider, which was acquired by Avaya. Michael has also held executive positions at Voice Access Technologies, Omnisky (acquired by EarthLink), Telocity (acquired by Hughes DirecTV), and Notify Technology Corporation. Michael has a BA in Journalism from the University of New Hampshire. In his spare time, Michael is an amateur woodworker, building indoor and outdoor furniture for friends and family. Until injuries sidelined him, Michael was an accomplished triathlete, having completed six Ironman distance races and numerous shorter distance races. Michael also served nine years in the U.S. Army Reserves and National Guard being honorably discharged as a Sergeant.

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