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Stockmann Increased Quality Further With the Help of Agile Methods

For 160 years, Stockmann has been known for its quality and first-class customer experience. In the spring of 2022, the company decided to launch a Quality Program project, the goal of which was to produce an even better customer experience through improving the quality of projects and continuous development. For this project, Stockmann asked for Taskmill’s support in reaching the goal and bring agility to operating methods.

“With the improvements, we wanted, among other things, to facilitate the start phase of projects, to improve the management of projects and continuous development, and to improve the quality of development. In addition, we wanted transparency into the ongoing development projects in different business areas,” says Lead Program Manager Heini Pakari. The cooperation between Taskmill and Stockmann began in April 2022.

“In order to grasp the concrete challenges related to the quality of the development of different business areas, we initially interviewed key personnel from different areas. The issues that came up in the interviews were grouped and classified, and concrete improvement proposals were formed and brought to the project’s backlog,” says Taskmill’s consultant Elina Jolma.

“Furthermore, workshops were held with different divisions, where we got to dig deeper into the root causes of the challenges. The Quality Program’s work was done in an agile manner: the project’s core team always planned its work in two-week sprints, and quality-related improvements were immediately put into practice,” Jolma continues.

The decision to introduce a joint planning event familiar from scaled agile methods with different projects and continuous development was made very quickly.

“Joint planning ensures that development supports business goals. In addition, it helps identify dependencies and possible bottlenecks, for example in terms of resources. Overall, joint planning brings more transparency to ongoing development projects in the organization. It also supports the autonomy of the development teams by giving the teams the power to plan what they do,” says Taskmill’s consultant Maija Särkijärvi.

The first joint planning event was held at the turn of August and September completely virtually. The different business areas and their projects, as well as continuous development, planned what they would do for the next ten weeks. The feedback was very positive; both the increase in transparency and cooperation and the virtual facilitation of the event were praised.

“The first joint planning was already very successful due to the good in-advance preparation of different business areas. We also organized two trainings, where we went over the goals of the joint planning, what happens in the planning and what the expected results are,” Elina Jolma sums up.

“Of course, there is improvement to be made in the next sessions, but that’s what agile is all about; continuous learning and improvement”, continues Maija Särkijärvi.

“Working with Taskmill has been easy and rewarding. They have genuinely set out to find a suitable method for us, with which we can combine the current development through projects with more agile methods of operation. We have received concrete tools and ways to improve quality”, Heini Pakari praises.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Taskmill’s experts. As the owner of the project, I am very satisfied that we have implemented quality-enhancing improvements at regular intervals, and not just at the end of the project. I was personally watching the first joint planning and it was great to see how a group of almost 70 people worked together and things progressed in a structured way,” says Stockmann’s Chief Digital Officer Mika Repo.

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