21 Jun 2021Blog

People of Solita: Niklas Murtola, Head of Mobile Development

Niklas Murtola

Meet our People of Solita. We have over 1100 employees in different locations with different skills and backgrounds – each with a story to share about what they do and what inspires them.

This is Niklas, Head of Mobile Development

For the first third of my twenty-plus-year IT career, I worked as a software developer, mainly working on Java back-end systems. Gradually, however, I began to notice that managing the big picture and working with people attracted me more than coding. Project management seemed like the most natural next step. And so it happens that the last two-thirds of my career have been spent under the titles of Project Manager, Technical Project Manager, and Senior Project Manager.

Due to my technical background, I have always wanted to understand as much as possible about the technical solutions implemented in my projects. Since I haven’t written any code professionally for a long time, I naturally don’t think I will be able to understand all the solutions completely or in depth. Still, I find it rewarding to be able to at least act as a kind of “rubber duck” for my team members on technical issues.

I got my first mobile project by chance, but the first was followed by the second and third, and for the last five years I have practically only been leading different mobile projects. In mobile projects, I am particularly fascinated by the challenge of how to fit services on a small screen so that necessary functionality and good usability are still achieved. Of course, the two major operating systems and a wide range of devices bring their additional challenge to the projects.

I started at Solita as a project manager in March 2020, the same day that the national remote working recommendation came into force. Fortunately, my supervisor and the delivery lead of my first project were able to arrange to meet in person. I immediately felt welcome.

“The Corona Blinker”

The Koronavilkku (Corona Blinker) project landed on my desk in mid-June 2020, the same day the results of the bidding process were announced. The project schedule sounded really challenging – the implementation schedule ran over the summer holiday season and the go-live date of September 1st was written into law. While some of my co-workers reminded me that I could also refuse a project (we don’t force projects on people), I was confident that the conditions for the success of the project had already been validated by our bidding team.

Our core project group consisted of about ten people. If the project had been implemented at any other time of the year, the project could have been done by an even smaller group. The schedule had no room for implementation interruptions, but we wanted to make sure that people still get their summer vacations. Thus, there had to be a substitute for all project roles and knowledge transfer had to guaranteed. This was yet another project management challenge.

As a project manager it was fun to note that while Koronavilkku was not an easy project, everyone at Solita wanted to give their support for the success of the project. Even in mid-July, there were no problems finding dozens of volunteer testers for pre-release versions of the app at short notice. In addition to the volunteer testers, the project involved nearly 30 people in various expert roles during the summer, each with their own important input.

The whole Koronavilkku program naturally involved much more than just the development of the application itself. One of the most rewarding things about the project was how perfect the cooperation was between the different parties in the project. Regardless of the organisation, everyone involved in the project has been working on a common cause that is important for the whole of Finland. If only this amazing spirit could be transferred to every multi-vendor project.

The best thing about Solita is caring

In my opinion, the best thing about Solita is caring about people, which shows in everything that is done in the company. We do not proudly advertise to have a flat organisation, but instead, we want every Solitan to have their own immediate supervisor, who is allocated enough time to be available and, if necessary, to help with everyday challenges. However, this has nothing to do with bureaucracy – fighting unnecessary bureaucracy is written into every Solitan’s DNA.

The courage to challenge our own ways of working is also strongly present in our way of working. Solita has grown – and continues to grow – at a rapid pace and sometimes this can also mean that old ways of doing things are starting to create a bottleneck for this development. However, one can always count on such situations to be brought to daylight and that something is actually going to be done about them. Even when creating new ways of working, we don’t always get them right the first time, but the courage to change and try new things combined with our open feedback culture always takes things in the right direction in the end.

When a person starts working at Solita, his career path is anything but set in stone. Every Solitan has the opportunity to seek for their own place inside the company according to their interests and skills. For us job rotation is a no-brainer because we understand its importance both for motivating people and for increasing the knowledge capital of the entire company. I have also experienced this first-hand, as in February I got to start in a new role as the team leader for our mobile developers.

We are looking for new talented co-workers. Join our Solita Community: check our open positions here!