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Combining Telia’s and MTV’s Telco and Media Experts Into a Top Agile Team

Telia and MTV had recently merged after a huge Nordic acquisition, and a new, winning combination of mobile connectivity and entertainment was underway. It was also meant to be as digital-friendly as possible, taking Telia as an operator into the modern digital age.

Telia was already accustomed to surprises when the transformation began. The scope and schedule of the project had already had to be revised to make the service excellent for customers — but quickly. The team had also faced various staff changes and external pressure.

What was needed was focus, team spirit, and a cleverly organized final spurt. To guide this team, Lasse Jaloluoma, Taskmill’s experienced agile expert, joined Telia’s project as the partner of company’s internal Product Owner’s.

Launching as the Objective

“Following Lasse’s lead, we got an effective spurt in the project. First we focused on simplifying work as well as the scope of work and prioritising it. The strict focus was on doing less, more systematically, and with better quality, while improving the team’s internal operating models, decision-making models and communication”, says Jani Heinola, Telia’s IT Business Partner working on agile development methods.

“The most important thing, however, was how we proceeded with customer use. Driven by Lasse, the goal and route were visualized from the very first moment to the first customer test and the final launch.”

“A clear plan helped to better communicate the common goal to both the team and other stakeholders. Transparency increased both the effectiveness and motivation of the team as they could see their own work as productive and significant. Lasse’s coordination and coaching expertise was then intended to be more widely used in Telia, to revise a multi-team SAFE development model that has undergone four iterations over the years.”

The last major decisions on the scope of the launch were made during the first few weeks and the updated launch path thereafter was well in place all the way up until the launch.

Praise in a Finnish Way

The team’s faith in their own work was greatly strengthened during the first few weeks and already two weeks later, during the weekly retrospective the team thought “Work has accelerated well” and “Backlog is ok and tasks clear”. There was also praise in a very Finnish way: “I don’t really have anything negative to say”.

In accordance with the important principles of agile development, a concrete validation plan was created. Initially, the service was used only by the development team and progress was made to end users through the experiences of two pilot groups. A lot was learned along the way and progress required constant reflection on what the most important is right now. This was supported by common routines.

Eventually, sales of the new service began smoothly. The team followed the start of the sale, and already that same afternoon, they had to come up with new things to be developed as no quick repairs were needed. Currently, this team is working as part of Telia’s ongoing transformation, and Lasse is helping Telia to develop cross-team agile methods.

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Jani Heinola, Information Technology Business Partner


Lasse Jaloluoma, Agile Leadership Consultant

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