Companies have an increasing need to be responsive and resilient, and they invest large efforts in becoming agile in their operations — designing and building products, or delivering services. Unfortunately most companies also ignore the fact that, while agility certainly involves those elements, fundamentally it's all about people and how they organize their work.

That is why all successful agile transitions start from culture. "Agile" is a mindset of continuous change: experimenting, learning and adapting. If you know how to change, you can change into anything. But if you don't know how to change, introducing changes is an uphill battle.

Finnish companies, led by Nokia, were quick to pick up agile methods. While other countries are still struggling to accept the concept as a workable method, the Finnish community has gone through the initial hype and disillusion and found a deeper understanding. Agile is the new normal, and newly graduated engineers don't know of anything else.

The way our little country has become a hotbed of organization innovation is a remarkable story that involves early adopters, a small technology society with good job mobility, a built-in desire to do things on your own, entrepreneurs who believe in equity and equality, and of course large quantities of "sisu" and coffee.

The results are equally remarkable and are even beginning to seep into government and NGOs. Reaktor handed out an unlimited credit card to every employee, and found that costs and misuse dropped radically. Vincit replaced most of their managers with a website, and saw increased self-management and confidence.

In this presentation we are going to cover several different topics revolving around the central theme of Agile and organizational agility in Finland. We'll recap the basics of what agility is, why it's desirable for individuals, teams and whole organizations, and its requirements and implications. We'll look at some interesting examples of what has worked and what hasn't. And last but not least, we'll cover at how determined leaders can lower the threshold for coordinated change and guide it in a desired direction.


  • Martin von Weissenberg (M.Sc. (Tech) at Software Industry)

    Martin von Weissenberg

    M.Sc. (Tech) at Software Industry

    Martin has worked across the software industry for well over 20 years, in startups as well as multinationals, in technical and sales roles as well as process development roles. He got interested in agile methods 15 years ago and has been coaching and training full time since 2008, collecting substantial experience in team coaching, agile transitions and organizational change. He was an active member of Agile Finland r.y. for many years, giving him wide insight into the field.

    Martin is a M.Sc. (Tech) in software engineering and a licensed Certified Enterprise Coach and Certified Agile Leadership Educator by the Scrum Alliance. He’s working for agile42 and Cognitive Edge, but is on study leave working on his PhD in agile organization since arriving in Shanghai in late 2018.

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