Smartum is familiar with innovation and pioneering. The family business started in the mid-1990s, when the founders of Smartum developed the Liikuntaseteli, which revolutionized the well-being of Finnish employees. Today, more than 13,000 employers use Smartum’s wide-ranging services. As Smartum has grown, it has also had to think about how to develop its internal operating methods, so that the customer and the customer’s needs are firmly at the center of operations, while the company remains a pioneer in its field. Smartum asked Taskmill to help with this challenge.
Customer-Oriented Activities Throughout the Company
Smartum’s goal was to implement a common way of continuous improvement throughout the company and develop the customer experience. Agile working methods, already familiar in terms of product development, were chosen as the tool. For other teams, agile was somewhat new.
Taskmill’s Agile Leadership Consultant Hanna Havulinna set out to find out how business could benefit from agile ways of working. Hanna’s important task was also to support Smartum in adopting a customer-oriented way of thinking through agile change.
The Too Is Not the Solution, but It Supports Change
Product development teams were already fully working with agile methods and utilizing the agile project management tool, Jira. In order to connect product development and business, Hanna helped the four business teams implement Jira in their daily work. The challenge was the different level of expertise: some were completely unfamiliar with Jira, while others already knew the basics. Hanna facilitated trainings for each team, in which they considered what the team in question could do in Jira and how, and how the benefits of Jira would best be realized in the relevant business area. The A and O of everything was the customization of Jira to the needs of the team, starting from the selection of the project type. In addition, under Hanna’s leadership, the teams thought about how Jira could be further refined in the future and how to proceed with projects as they grow or change. Some of the teams ended up with a Kanban project, while some needed a Scrum-based approach with epics.
Agile Customer Service
There was also an exceptional situation at hand when it came to the customer service team. The team was born when two previous ones merged, and the challenge was to find and implement working methods suitable for the specific area of expertise from a clean slate. With Hanna’s help, the team was able to think about, for example, their own internal team rules and division of work, and to try out methods that suit them, such as implementing a team calendar.
Smartum’s Agile Masters Were the Key People for Success
In order to implement agile methods throughout the organization, Hanna also supported Smartum more broadly. The business teams were appointed their own Agile Masters to promote agile change. With her senior expertise, Hanna also helped Agile Masters in their work, for example by supporting them in organizing the backlog and implementing agile ceremonies. In order to ensure transparency, openness and information sharing between teams, Smartum also expanded the use of Confluence. In the Confluence trainings led by Hanna, the people of Smartum were able to learn what the tool replaces and what it doesn’t, and how to get the most out of its joint use.
Taskmill’s Agile Coach Helps When Needed and Transfers Her Knowledge to the Company’s Own Staff
“Taskmill’s professional Agile Coach has brought us really constructive and practical help. Hanna has been able to support us at all levels of the agile change. If necessary, we have also used other experts from Taskmill, for example in sparring with our sales team,” Smartum’s CEO Kristiina Lindh says.
“We consider it a very good solution that we hired an external Agile Coach from Taskmill to help and support business agility. Hanna has found really good solutions and perspectives for us, in addition to the fact that she has helped a lot of teams in a short time. Most importantly, she has gotten people excited about change. Taskmill’s Agile Coach has wonderfully transferred her knowledge to our own staff and now we are ready to continue the agile journey on our own,” Smartum’s Kristiina sums up.