Managing a Software Team in Sri Lanka with Dirk Jan — Conxillium

Managing a Software Team in Sri Lanka with Dirk Jan — Conxillium

Winning practices for managing a successful software offshore team.

Dirk Jan van Kessel, Software Development Manager for Conxillium

Relocating across the world to build a team, develop software and travel. We spoke with Dirk Jan van Kessel, Software Development Manager for Conxillium, to discuss why Sri Lanka is the perfect place for him, how he manages his team and what he finds interesting about running a software team that is remote.

Q: Could you start by telling us about Conxillium and about your role?

At Conxillium, our goal is to develop, commercialize and support a broad range of software for the local government in The Netherlands. The applications pool is diverse, from developing software for election systems, civil affairs to tax applications and workflow management systems etc.

We partnered with Gapstars in 2016 to scale up and build an extended team of software developers with varied expertise. Today, our team consists of 12 Senior Engineers working at the Gapstars tech centre in Sri Lanka.

My role mainly revolves around building bridges between our teams in The Netherlands and Sri Lanka. I travelled to Sri Lanka 4 years back as an in-house Software Manager to lead the development team. I’m more involved in team management, developing a high-performance environment, and keeping the team motivated.

It’s my job to extend the Netherlands teams with Developers from Sri Lanka and make sure the distributed teams serve the product managers to the best of their abilities.

Q: With even more companies looking to set up an offshore development team. Could you share the management practices needed to lead a successful offshore team?

When it comes to managing distributed teams, especially if team members hail from different cultures, mutual understanding doesn’t always come naturally. Hence investing in some real face-time at the start of your cooperation is essential. Build trust from the start.

Personally spend some quality time in selecting your offshore developer team. We practice agile methods within our team. The Agile framework provides teams with the freedom to organize themselves and manage their own work. Which cuts out unnecessary micromanagement.

Another practice is to have a clear communication discipline. Incorporate a reporting structure, meeting schedules, communication tools, and team roles at the start. Do: face calls. Don’t: chat and email.

Select the right tools to work with. The Target process is a good tool when it comes to tracking and reporting. Microsoft teams for collaboration.

Q: What type of skills do you need to thrive in this role?

First, I believe you need to be a leader more than a manager. Leading remote teams requires managers to develop unique leadership skills to engage remote workers and maintain effective collaboration.

Listen to your team. Provide team members with the space to express. Creating a “bottom-up” culture within the team. This is only possible if a strong layer of trust is developed.

We are allowed to make mistakes and we learn from them. Communicate openly and honestly. Share what’s really going on. Provide support whenever required but empower them to be responsible for the result.

Q: What are your favourite things about Sri Lanka? Culture, conversation, and community?

Believe it or not, I consider myself a Sri Lankan now. Sri Lanka is definitely a very interesting place to live and work. When I first came here, I was surprised at the level of hospitality and friendliness of the people in Sri Lanka. Everyone treats you with respect and you’re made to have this sense of belonging.

Why Dutch Tech Companies Find Sri Lanka Attractive for Software Offshoring

The Conxillium group is recognized by Gapstars as a “Star Partner” for achieving the highest standards of innovation and performance in remote development. One of its keys for success is its adoption and practice of agile to build engagement.

How Gapstars help companies build a successful SaaS business

At Gapstars, we are firm believers in the Agile philosophy when it comes to building dedicated scrum teams and SaaS software.

On a daily basis, we enable our teams to deliver SaaS products with the best time-to-market and the highest possible quality. As a result, our clients benefit from a competitive business advantage, which in turn enhances their customer’s satisfaction.

Temper’s CTO on Operating a Successful Remote Development Team

Originally published at on November 13, 2020.

Managing a Software Team in Sri Lanka with Dirk Jan — Conxillium was originally published in Gapstars on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


If you have had COVID-19, your plasma contains antibodies that can help people currently sick with COVID-19.

You can donate convalescent plasma if you

  • Are 18 or over (you may be able to donate at 16 with parental consent – check with your local center)
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Have had COVID-19 in the past 6 months (as documented by a laboratory test, antibody test, or clinical diagnosis).
  • Have been symptom-free for at least 28 days

If you’ve received the vaccine, you can still donate. However check with your local blood center regarding the time between receiving your vaccine and eligibility to donate.

Generally, you can donate blood if you are at least 18 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and are in good health. You can also still donate if you..

  • Have tattoos, unless you were recently tattooed in DC, GA, ID, MD, MA, NH, NY, PA, UT, or WY. In this case, wait 3 months.
  • If you have diabetes, as long as you are well controlled on insulin or oral medications.
  • Recently got pierced, if it was done using single-use, disposable equipment. Otherwise, wait 3 months.

You, unfortunately, cannot donate if you..

  • Are pregnant
  • Have had a blood transfusion within the past 3 months
  • Have HIV (or Hepatitis B or C)

If you are part of the LGBTQ+ community, eligibility, as determined by the FDA guidelines, will depend on your identified sex and sexual activity. Please find the separate FAQ below for more details.

Every blood center has a different booking system. It can be tricky to navigate. Just send us an email at with subject line ‘Help me book my appointment’ and we’ll help you out asap!

Yes you can. Thousands of people safely donate plasma every day. The collection process uses sterile tubing and supplies for each donation, which are discarded after each collection and are never reused. Blood does not come in contact with the collection machine. Blood centers take safety seriously and have taken the necessary precautions to allow safe donations during the pandemic. Appointments are encouraged, and masks are required. If you are still unsure or have more questions, please feel free to contact us at .

This depends on multiple factors. Blood donation in the US is regulated by the FDA and we have to abide by their standards for this campaign also. This mainly has an impact on MSM.


  • The FDA states that men who have sex with men can donate 3 months after their most recent sexual contact.
  • There is no deferral for women who have sex with women.
  • Transgender and intersex donors can register as the sex in which they identify, and eligibility will be based upon the criteria associated with the sex the donor has reported.
  • The FDA requires donors to select either male or female as their biological sex. If you identify as non-conforming, genderqueer, gender fluid, agender, or non-binary, we ask you to select the sex you feel most comfortable with. Eligibility will be then be based upon the criteria associated with the sex you have reported.


We understand this may mean you are unable to donate during this campaign – or at all. If you are able to donate after April 30th 2021, you can upload a screenshot of the confirmation email for your appointment, even if you have not donated yet.


If you know you will be deferred (because for example as a man you are sexually active with other men), you can still join the contest by encouraging someone else who isn’t interested in the incentive to donate. You can then use their proof of donation to claim a skin (or they can enter your LoL details in the form).


Our campaign policy does not reflect our stance on the FDA regulations. But we do have to abide by the rules in place. If you have any further questions or suggestions, you can contact us at

The whole process, including registration and your free post-donation snack, takes approximately an hour. The actual blood donation only takes about 12 minutes. For convalescent plasma donation, the process can take a little longer.

No, not at all. Although of course everyone has a unique experience, generally you will only feel a small pinch as the needle is inserted.

You most certainly can. Fill out the form on the ‘claim your skin’-page and upload a screenshot of the confirmation email you received upon booking your appointment. We’ll make sure K/DA ALL OUT Kai’Sa is sent to your account within a week. Thank you for making the effort to come out and donate!

You can find your blood unit number (BUN, also known as donation identification number, DIN) on the post-donation instructions you were given at the blood center. If you didn’t receive your BUN or lost your documentation, don’t worry. You can upload a photo of the email you received post-donation to claim your skin instead.

Plasma is a yellowish liquid that makes up about half your blood volume.  Convalescent plasma means plasma that comes from people who have recovered from an infection, like the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This plasma may contain antibodies against the virus. Antibodies are proteins that your immune system makes after you have had an infection, that can neutralize or kill the virus and help you to recover.

Convalescent plasma has been used as a treatment for decades. The use of convalescent plasma on patients recovering from Covid-19 is considered an investigational treatment under the FDA. The FDA authorized an emergency use authorization in August 2020 as it concluded on the basis of scientific evidence that convalescent plasma may be effective in treating Covid-19 and that its potential benefits outweigh the potential known risks.

According to recent literature, the use of convalescent plasma seems to be effective in lessening the severity or shortening the length of COVID-19 illness. Studies have seen a decrease in mortality in COVID-19 patients treated with convalescent plasma. The use of convalescent plasma seems especially promising when administered early on in the disease and for patients with an auto-immune disease whose bodies are unable to produce antibodies themselves.

Clinical trials are still running to gain a deeper understanding of the effectiveness of convalescent plasma in treating COVID-19 patients.

Anyone within the US who has donated blood or plasma, or has tried to donate blood or plasma (but was deferred). Unfortunately, non-US residents are not eligible for the K/DA ALL OUT Kai’Sa incentive offered as part of this campaign.

You can claim your free skin until April 30th 2021 8pm PDT (or when supplies run out). You will qualify for a skin if you..

  • Are a US resident.
  • Have donated (or tried to donate but were deferred) in the US between January 1st 2021 and April 30th 2021 (donations of all types of blood products qualify).
  • Have proof of donation from within that period in the form of a blood unit number or a screenshot of the email you received from your local blood center after you went in to donate.

If you already know you are not eligible to donate during the period of this campaign or at all, you can encourage someone you know who isn’t interested in the skin to donate and ask to use their proof of donation to claim K/DA ALL OUT Kai’Sa. Any proof of donation can only be used once.

No, during this campaign it’s only possible to receive K/DA ALL OUT Kai’Sa. If you know you can’t donate, see if someone you know who isn’t interested in the skin is willing to donate, and then enter your Riot details to claim the skin. If you don’t play League of Legends and do want to donate, you can do the reverse and gift the skin to someone else.

Riot Games and the LCS have an enormous amount of viewers, followers, and gamers that have or might have had COVID-19. Within this partnership, Riot Games uses its reach to encourage giving blood. As a token of appreciation, every donor received K/DA ALL OUT Kai’Sa for free to use in League of Legends.

The data entered to claim your skin will be used only to transfer K/DA ALLOUT Kai’Sa to your account and will be deleted within 30 days from the end of this campaign.

Please note it takes a week for your skin to be processed. So please do not contact us before 7 days have passed. If they have, and you have still not received your free skin, you can contact us at using “CCP Campaign: skin not received” as your subject line and someone will be in touch with you soon.

For further questions regarding this campaign, please contact Please only contact us with regards to this campaign and not with general questions regarding convalescent plasma donation, unless your question is keeping you from making an appointment as part of this campaign.