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Lean-Agile Coach Andreas Tjernsten: Happier workplaces and better work environments through Agile

Published in Agile, Business, People, Sweden

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April 27, 2022 · 3 min read time

Creating happier work environments for people has been the driver for Lean-Agile Coach Andreas Tjernsten since the early 2000s. Developing tools and structures that help others has been the grounding principle throughout his 25+ years in software and team development. After being at the heart of lean-agile transformations for well over a decade, in 2019, Andreas wanted to work together with others who were as passionate about lean-agile transformations as he was. That’s when he joined Nitor.

In a purpose-driven organisation people feel motivated

During his years in software and team development, the driving focus in Andreas’ work has been creating work environments where people can thrive and be happy. 

Already as a teenager in the mid-80s, he got very excited about programming, realising that computers can do anything when you know what you want and can describe it accurately. 

Later, growing up at Ericsson, as he puts it, offered him 15 years of experience in initiating and driving large-scale product development. In the beginning, agile was not talked about. He spent much time reading books and studying lean and agile and then started piloting cross-functional teams and evaluating the impact of the change. Enthusiasm for lean-agile and what it offers both individuals and organisations has only grown stronger over time. Working through challenges with others and experiencing the benefits of lean-agile confirmed to Andreas that this was the area he really wanted to work in. 

One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is how crucial the role of senior management is when it comes to changing an organisation. When senior management first change themselves, they enable the rest of the organisation to change. Without leading by example, the transformation will not succeed.
Another key factor to success in large-scale transformations is to accept that new ways of working cannot be forced on people. It is crucial to use enough time and resources to create an interest and make people aware of why these changes are being made, and help them see how they benefit from it.

Helping cross-functional teams to succeed

In software and team development, you need to start working before you have all the answers. However, asking the right questions help shape your direction. Some guiding questions that have supported Andreas in creating flourishing work environments have been: 

  • How do you enable people to work together in cross-functional teams with broad responsibility? 

  • How do you build organisations and governance structures that enable software or product development teams to succeed? 

At Nitor, Andreas focuses on training and consulting in using lean and agile principles & values for Product Development and Portfolio Management, i.e. how to lead a large organisation and structure it so that teams can succeed. He was in a leading position early on and wants to help others gain the benefits he experienced during his years of being at the heart of agile transformations. 

The main benefit individuals and organisations gain from agile ways of working is a happier workplace. People feel more connected and productive in purpose-driven organisations. A more profitable business comes as a consequence of these things.

Creating long-term sustainability through agile

Even though many Nitoreans share Andreas’ interests in outdoor activities, his passion for sustainability is well-matched with Nitor’s core value of creating sustainable digital development. After talking with him about the sustainable, energy-efficient house he and his wife have designed and built for their family, one can’t help asking about similarities between sustainable building and agile working methods.

Agile ways of working make organisations more sustainable for sure. In building a sustainable house, you want to minimise usage of materials and energy consumption, and have good ventilation and living environment. The same is true in agile transformations. Lean and agile working methods aim at removing unnecessary work and being resource-efficient in terms of how we use our limited capabilities within an organisation. Leading, in turn, to an environment that is better for people to work in.

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