Complex projects require smooth teamwork 

Maarit Laine Senior Integration Specialist, Solita

Published 10 Mar 2022

Reading time 3 min

Having a great team makes a huge difference when working with a complex long-term client project. For us, the key ingredients of a great team are a caring mindset, accountability, and the ability to be authentically ourselves. When people feel safe in their work environment and support is available, it’s much easier to strive for excellence.

We are working on a project that started already in 2014. It’s called Harja, and it’s an IT system, built together with the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. It gathers all data on road maintenance contracts and shows what is done on roads on a map template: snow removal, salting, brushing, paving, and much more. Harja’s goal is to improve cooperation between different parties and enhance activities’ effectiveness and transparency. As a result, the price-performance ratio improves in maintenance. This benefits both road users and all other taxpayers.

Harja is a complex project with several stakeholders, which is why we have a big team working with it.

We work with agile principles, including planning, four-week sprints, and retro-meetings to discuss learnings and improvements. We have short daily meetings to ensure an ongoing interaction with the team members, and our slack channel supports daily communication. Even though we’ve been mostly working remotely in the past years, we are constantly in contact with team members and client representatives, so we’ve never felt isolated during the pandemic.

We are all people behind our titles

There are always challenges to solve in complex projects, and we are not an exception to that. If our developers see some technical debt to be paid, this is taken seriously and discussed with the client. Sometimes it means delays. In these situations, we are transparent with the client and do our best to find solutions and fix the problems. Afterwards, we’ll go through the case with the team and discuss the learnings and improvement suggestions for the future.

There is no need to be afraid of mistakes, but learning from them is important.

What we really like about the team is that everyone’s voice is heard, and everybody wants to deliver the best possible outcomes. Everyone is accountable and contributes equally. We also know each other quite well; what kind of passions people have and what they like to do, which makes it easier to establish deeper connections. When you know your colleagues’ behind their work role, you can also understand their behaviour better.

Openness in our team also means that people can be their authentic selves and share their vulnerable side. This creates a safe and compassionate environment where people can understand and support each other. It’s a nice feeling to be accepted as you are, with your strengths and weaknesses.

We are also open to learning. We have a strong mentoring culture and generally a very supportive way of working. If someone needs help, there is always support available. Nobody should feel that they are left alone with challenges or questions.

We are also encouraged to try new things and learn new technologies. When working with 10 team members, you can learn a lot from your colleagues. Everyone has their unique way of perceiving the world, and it’s inspiring to see how others deal, for example, with challenges or stressful situations. It’s a pleasure to work in this team and continue to learn from each other!

  1. Culture