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Sharing the responsibility: how we deliver impact in a changing world

Liis Mikk, Senior Product Owner, July 6, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world into a whirlwind of change. Companies are faced with new challenges, even higher customer expectations, and the products we’re building are becoming more and more complex. How to keep up with the pace? Nortal’s Product Owner, Liis Mikk, shares how we tackle those challenges.

Digitalization has accelerated in the past year due to the pandemic because businesses increasingly relied on digital processes to interact with their customers. This is why our customers are even more demanding, desire quick problem solving, and expect even faster results than before. Additionally, working remotely with customers, end-users, and the delivery team adds another layer of complexity to it all. This has created new challenges to product management, and most of the time, those higher expectations fall on our product owners.

Dissolving the one-man band

At Nortal, we want to understand our customers’ needs and challenges. Our specialists believe in thinking big and creating solutions that have a meaningful, far-reaching impact. This is why we continually revisit whether our way of working is most optimal and best for facing challenges and creating value. And this is why we know that the key to achieving the best results in an accelerated world is not to rely on just one person on the team to put together a vision, a strategy to achieve this and, in the end, deliver it too.

Even though such rare unicorns may exist, our experiences have confirmed time and again how the best product management is achieved as a group effort. Everybody on the team has to work toward the same goal and have the same mindset for solving problems, validating hypotheses, and then designing the right solution.

The holy trinity of the best possible product management

What is the right mindset? To be successful in building the right products for our customers, you need to be passionate about three aspects:

• Understanding the business needs and opportunities of our customers to support them strategically
• Using technology and innovation to solve complex problems and gain a competitive advantage
• Caring about end-users because ultimately the project’s success is determined by how the end-users are utilizing the service

Picture source: Martin Eriksson, 2011

 

By bringing these three things together and understanding them across the whole team, we can be a strategic partner to our customers to help them in all aspects of the product lifecycle. And most importantly, we can build them the best possible product. That way, we play an important role by connecting software with business to deliver impact.

The making of a product owner

Our focus is always on delivering impact. But how do we ensure that we continue growing and have the best competencies for that? Having worked at Nortal for more than nine years in various domains, from eHealth and eGovernment to the private sector, I am constantly amazed by my fast-paced and super-talented colleagues. Over the years, the key aspects that have accelerated my growth in the company have been, 1.) the people I work with, and 2.) the crazy challenges. Stepping out of my comfort zone, trying something different, experimenting, and learning from my mistakes every day is the best way to learn. During all of this, you are affected by the people around you – the key to success is learning from others and finding those who offer you new insights and thoughts.

These two aspects – people and challenges – are why we build global learning hives at Nortal. For our product-related roles, the product hive is where we learn to think big and solve complex problems. The key is having an open mindset and creating a learning culture.

Nortal is a big company – we have so many great people working all around the world. A lot of their knowledge can be shared and reused. The product hive is precisely this: we bring together and share experiences throughout Nortal and the industry. By working together, we can accelerate our professional growth and deliver a more significant impact.

Hives: communities within Nortal

Many other hive leads and I spend 80% of our time on dedicated day-to-day projects, but the additional 20% is spent making the magic happen in the hives.

The challenge is to find the right balance, making sure all our locations are working together and learning from each other. Not only are we consistently coming up with learning opportunities and training tracks, but we’re also thinking about the best ways to support new employee onboarding, collaborate with recruiters, design leveling procedures, and much more. But the main goals remain: breaking down silos, helping ideas flow freely, and creating a community with a sense of belonging!

It is in our DNA to continuously improve, adapt quickly, and make an impact. Visit our career page and join Nortal if you feel it’s in your DNA too.

Contact us!

Liis Mikk

Liis Mikk

Senior Product Owner

During her 9 years at Nortal, Liis has worked in various domains from eHealth and eGovernment to private sector, in Estonia, Botswana and Germany. Liis is also the global lead for Nortal's Product Hive bringing together the best knowledge to share and learn from.

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