The innovation factor
At Tieto, I feel truly privileged to work with so many talented people. I have witnessed great individual triumphs, as well as people succeeding together in finding the best solutions and overcoming possible obstacles. Each day is different from the other; dynamic situations occur and small goals are achieved. Managing a project is really a creative process: you get to learn, guide the others, communicate and implement strategies accordingly.
As a project manager, my task is to build a sense of certainty and correspondingly eliminate uncertainty. Keeping the projects scope, budget and timetable in check are an essential part of the job description. Nevertheless, as anyone who has ever worked on a project knows, it is simply impossible to predict everything.
Every now and then, we come across a challenge that requires a completely new approach, and sometimes the chosen solution has never been tested before. These are the times when we need to have the courage and the confidence to come up with new ideas and put them into practice. But how can one support the team’s engagement and new thinking in these situations?
I believe that a working culture that promotes trust and transparency fosters creativity and engagement in return. When people feel appreciated and connected to their working environment, they are more likely to achieve positive results. For that reason, managing professionals should be more about support than coercion.
The trust comes from believing that the people who are working for you are truly doing their best. Demonstrating trust is likely to pay off, as people are usually willing to live up to it. Of course, showing trust doesn’t mean that you should blindly refrain from offering advice and opinions of a more critical nature. Everyone should understand that with freedom, comes responsibility.
Transparency is about communication, which is especially important when working together as a team with people from various backgrounds. Seamless collaboration is what makes a team succeed. Communication is vital every step of the way, starting from the very beginning of the project in hand. In the planning phase, for example, early insights can reveal either major obstacles or key success-factors in the process to come. Sharing thoughts and ideas, however, should continue throughout. Because of this, new team members and customers tend to feel like friends to me by the end of each project. It is, if anything, what makes me connected to my working environment.
Luckily, at Tieto we also have the opportunity to participate in innovation outside of our own personal projects. The SPARK! program enables all employees to share business ideas, get others to join in developing them together, and finally test the ideas with real customers to see if the solutions actually fit the needs of the market. This is a great demonstration of how our organization has truly understood the forces and potential in every individual.