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Teppo Valkama: Dancing through the challenges of leadership

Teppo Valkama, a Program Manager with Tietoevry Create, has worked hard to become a respected leader. Now his passion for helping others to do their job successfully has inspired a community mission.

Teppo Valkama / November 24, 2022

“I was close to becoming a professional dancer, but then I came to my senses,” reveals Program Manager Teppo Valkama with a smile.

The ballroom’s loss was Tietoevry Create’s gain with whom he has now worked for 12 years. Previously, he spent 12 years with Nokia Siemens Networks honing his managerial skills in different IT positions, as well as working for both Valuemotive and Tietoteekki.

His current role in software engineering delivery management sees him allocated to customer programs in both the private and public sectors, such as leading the development of a lifesaving, mission-critical system for a security authority.

“My days are full of servant leadership where the main goal is to ensure that all customer program members have the means to do their job successfully. I measure the progress of the program, analyse risks and ensure that the job matches with the customer’s needs.”

Planting a seed for success

Teppo admits that his career path has almost happened by accident, propelled by a desire to accept new professional challenges.

“When an opportunity appears, you must make the decision quickly. If you overthink, you will lose it.”

His passion for self-improvement and a dogged determination to satisfy his curiosity has led him to organize several project management and leadership training days around Helsinki as a hobby, sharing his positive thoughts and encouraging approach to being a leader with others.

“My approach is not to give answers but to plant a seed that will lead to people starting to think for themselves. In project management and life, there is no black and white, right or wrong. There are many ways to achieve a good result. It is the same in leadership.”

He believes that leaders must create an environment where their team can motivate themselves. They should use their intellect and skills as much as possible because it is an effective way of instilling self-confidence going forward.

Fresh and meaningful work

Teppo is also a board member of Project Management Professionals Finland, which has helped him to better understand how to run a company, how strategy becomes an operational activity and the importance of accountability.

“I have been in IT my whole life, so it has been a valuable experience to learn from other industries such as construction. The company succeeds if the employees are motivated, talented and willing to do their job, and then we all have better possibilities at work.”

Teppo also emphasizes that the customers and programmes can change annually, making it feel as though he is starting a new position.

“I would be bored doing the same work year in, year out. A new project means familiarizing myself with a customer’s strategy, portfolio and values, as well as becoming acquainted with many new people and learning how to best manage them.”

Building a supportive culture

A popular management theory for leadership success is good cooperation among professionals and it has inspired Teppo to launch the Delivery Community initiative at Tietoevry Create.

“If we want to succeed, we should have an environment in which we can share, acknowledge and practice the skills needed in our profession. Success is about breaking down silos.”

One of the first developmental steps has been the creation of a safe environment for project managers, service managers and salespeople to test ideas internally, gaining feedback and confidence before presenting them to a customer.

“We have wonderful and talented people here at Tietoevry Create, so we should enable a supportive, coaching and information-sharing culture. We are moving in the right direction.”

Ready to accelerate digital innovation? Check out our open positions at Tietoevry Create!

 

Teppo danced boogie woogie and rock'n'roll actively before his career in the IT industry. He trained five times a week and also competed. "Dancing is great. The combination of sports and arts appeal to me, and I have continued to dance and judge other dancers in competitions. I am happy that I chose IT with its many opportunities. It would have been tougher to have a great career in dancing."

Get to know Teppo Valkama

  • Name: Teppo Valkama
  • Job title: Program Manager at Tietoevry Create
  • Loves at Tietoevry Create: Interesting customer space and a rich variety of projects and programs.
  • Interests: Dance adjudicator, photography, building own summer cottage, yoga and mindfulness.
  • Motto: “A negative mind will never give you a positive life.”

Story by Asa Butcher

Teppo Valkama
Program Manager, Software Engineering Delivery Management, Tietoevry Create

Teppo's role in software engineering delivery management sees him allocated to customer programs in both the private and public sectors. This professional dedicated to servant leadership and learning at Tietoevry Create enjoys dancing and taking photos during his freetime. 

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