Working with Russian Software Development Teams


It’s no secret that European and American clients opt to outsource their software development work to eastern European countries, with Russia being a popular choice.  After all, Russian software development teams are known to be some of the best in the world.  But has the current political climate made it more challenging for Russian software development teams to work with Western clients? 

In order to shed lights on how Russian software development teams feel about working with American and Western European clients, we conducted a survey of dozens of the top Russian software development teams. Below are our findings and tips for working with Russian teams.


  • Only 27% of the participants say they have had any issues working with American and Eastern European clients. Given the nature of outsourced software development, this number seems quite low.  Of those who had issues, the most common issue (18%) was a lack of transparency in the development processes. This issue was largely attributed to the work being remote. 
  • To handle the issue noted above, 91% of the respondents rely on software solution  — project management software (Jira, Mantis, OnTime now, etc.), communication tools (Slack, Skype, etc.), and time tracking systems (Toggl, Timecamp, Time Doctor, etc.) were the most common. 
  • 55% of companies report that employees maintain non-project relationships with customers. In particular, 55% of them interact with customers in social networks, and 36% meet with customers personally in an informal setting. This finding seems to indicate that cultural differences between Russian software development teams and their western clients are not preventing personal relationships from being formed. 
  • 36% of respondents report a situation when a client did not pay. As 27% of them said, they forgave this, and only 9% of them stopped working with these clients.
  • As for political factors, only 9% of the participants report that sanctions imposed on Russia affect their relations with foreign clients. That is, some clients refused to work with them, and some of them restricted the collaboration conditions. Yet overall, the sanctions have not had a large impact on relations between Russian software development teams and their clients. 

Cultural Tips

In addition to the survey results, we’d like to share some cultural specifics of our people (or a so-called “Russian soul”). Understanding a few quick points about Russian culture will help ensure work goes smoothly. 

  • Russian guys often look reserved at first, and don’t smile too much. In our country, it is common to think that a certain amount of time should pass before personal relationships and trust are built. That’s why it may take time for Russian developers to get comfortable and behave more casually around their clients. Our American partners, however, often apply informal communication style from the very beginning, which is unusual for we Russians. 
  • What American clients sometimes perceive as stoicism, is often the simple fact that our developers  do not communicate in a foreign language frequently. Although they all speak, right, and read English, it can be intimidating to conduct business in another language. 
  • Russians prefer not to discuss family and personal life a lot — they’d rather keep it to themselves. Unlike Russians, our American partners enjoy telling about their families and often show their kids’ pics.

So, remember these tips when working with a Russian software development team. And remember, mastery of these cultural differences comes only with years of experience.   

To sum up: hiring a Russian provider is a great way to get the job done efficiently. Just be sure to take cultural differences into account to ensure the optimal outcome. 


Is it Safe To Outsource to Ukraine? 

Insider’s Guide to Software Outsourcing

Olga Rekovskaya

Marketing Manager at ISS Art
Olga's role at ISS Art company is the promotion of software development services in the international market. Being passionate about technology, she enjoys generating useful content and sharing tips with others.

Latest posts by Olga Rekovskaya (see all)