Working with our Portuguese colleagues has become the most natural thing in the world for us. And actually, that collaboration is going very well. Below you can read how we do that.

How do you communicate with each other?

It may sound a bit boring, that good cooperation, but with all modern communication techniques nowadays nothing stands in the way of ensuring that communication runs smoothly. This way we are in contact with each other all day long with tools such as Zoom and Slack. And with only one hour of time difference, we are always easily accessible to each other. In the Netherlands it is an hour later. With Atlassian Jira as Agile tool, we ensure that our projects run as structured as possible.

What kind of language is actually spoken?

We speak English together. Developers are used to programming in English, so the step to speak English is easily made. Our Portuguese colleagues are, however, offered an English course as soon as they come to work for us. Of course speaking English is sometimes accompanied by some “Louis van Gaaltjes”, but we can only laugh about that. Sleeping less well for a night often results in the most fantastic talks about being unable to speak up.

Are there also cultural differences?

Yes, there are. In Portugal, for example, they have the habit of hanging TVs in restaurants. Often there is football, with the sound loud. That takes some getting used to when you first come to a Portuguese restaurant. The Portuguese also have many national holidays. With us, the Portuguese holidays are in the agenda as a PT holiday and that is at least twice as many as we have in the Netherlands.

Dutch people are often more direct in communication than the Portuguese. Their temperament often compensates for that. Or would that be because they deal with us a lot? In turn, the Portuguese are a bit more hierarchical than we are. Back to the food. In Portugal they eat four meals a day, lunch and dinner always hot food. That takes some getting used to, but that also gets used quickly.

Do you ever go to Portugal?

We are very happy to do that. A few times a year we go to Castelo Branco. It is a two-hour drive from Lisbon airport. When we get there we make long days in which we not only work but also have lunch, dinner and fun things like bowling, gaming or going to the beach together. The last day we have lunch with a bottle of Vino Verde and invariably a bag of pastéis de nata is taken on the plane.

Portuguese colleagues, that’s not that strange!

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