Maintaining work-life harmony is hard. Often, people call the phrase "work-life balance" an oxymoron. We can not outrightly call them wrong given the statistics we see about how there is no physical separation between work and personal life in many workplaces. So, the question is, is it really possible to maintain a competitive edge at work while nurturing a healthy personal life full of passions? Well, if you will ask us, our answer to this buzzing question is an echoing yes.
But sometimes "yes" is not enough as an answer. On the contrary, perspectives helps us gain a better understanding of experiences. For this reason, in our work-life balance series, every month, we will add a new employee story to give you and our future employees a better picture of what it is like to work with Ignite Procurement.
Here is our employee story for June to give you a sneak peek into our work environment and inspire you to find that room for doing the finest things in life amidst getting the work done.
Meet Andreas, a world-traveling surfer riding the tech waves at Ignite Procurement.
Andreas Ståleson Landstad is a Group Product Manager at Ignite Procurement who, while bringing enthusiasm and commitment to his team, leads the company's vision of delivering a product that exceeds customer expectations.
There is a lot more to his work story than just his work roles and responsibilities. As I said, at Ignite, work and life go hand in hand. So, let us hear the rest of the story from Andreas himself.
Why did you join Ignite Procurement?
Throughout my career, I have helped numerous businesses across segments optimize their day-to-day processes and build differentiating B2B and B2E products. For one of these customers, I contributed on the technical side of a project led by the newly founded Ignite Procurement, then consisting of the two founders Sigbjørn Nome and Børge Langedal.
The strategic procurement project we collaborated on drove a series of initiatives to improve procurement for the company. It was clear that this was an area with a potential for significant improvement! So, when Ignite's CEO, Sigbjørn Nome, contacted me earlier this year to describe the market and Ignite Procurement's vision in detail, that instant, I knew that this is a journey I want to be a part of.
Tell us about your role?
In my role as a Group Product Manager, I am responsible for:
Actively discovering what Ignite Procurement's current and future customers want and need,
Identifying for which of these wants and needs the teams I am collaborating with can provide products or features,
Making sure the products or features contribute to Ignite's business objectives and strategy and to ascertain they work for our business.
This means getting familiar with the customer and market while working closely with the internal stakeholders and teams. With a solid track record of juggling customers, products, and priorities, I know I will be able to make a real impact on the product through this role.
How do you feel your role connects to Ignite's strategy?
Highly successful product companies all seem to be focusing on Empowered Product Teams – highly autonomous teams working on their own products – with just a handful of roles where Product Manager is one of them.
I have found that Ignite Procurement is highly conscious about how the teams, leaders, and stakeholders work together. Ignite knows that for a product organization culture is quintessential, especially if we want to progress in our growth journey.
What are you working on now contributing to Ignite's mission of "making strategic procurement easy"?
This week my teams have been working on Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). The Objectives are drivers for the product strategy Ignite has laid out on its way to "Making Strategic Procurement Easy." In this OKR framework, each team owns a set of data-driven measures known as key results. These key results help the teams to assign initiatives and guide them towards the objectives they have set for themselves.
I particularly loved this framework because it makes it easier for the teams to focus on the right initiatives and say no to those that do not contribute to the primary mission. Currently, my teams are focusing on getting value from proven machine learning models directly in the product and enhancing the analysis part of the product by adding aggregated filtering.
Nowadays, it is said that procurement is becoming more akin to a tech company in terms of operations. What do you believe makes it attractive to young talent?
Modern technology for strategic procurement combines transactional and master data from a company with third-party data sources and leverage machine learning to transform this data into actionable insights. This enables data-driven decision-making and aids procurement professionals by showing patterns and insights they otherwise never would have found.
The strategic procurement market is exciting but immature, with few and outdated players. New initiatives in this market are on the radar for venture capital, making for exciting, fast-paced days for new talents.
As a young talent in this market, you will have the opportunity to make a real difference by creating groundbreaking products which procurement professionals love! On top of that, you are likely to be working with exciting technologies: Machine learning, complex analysis, and big data. These data-driven insights are key differentiating factors for making the product you are working on distinct from the rest of the procurement market.
What is the best thing that happened to you this week?
Last Friday, our Chief Technology Officer, Valdemar Rolfsen, held an inspiring presentation about the organization, and we had a great discussion on it. Half of the company participated in the meeting through Teams and another half from the office. It was a great experience to hear the differing views and opinions.
After the presentation, many of us switched to shorts and t-shirts and went out to Bygdøy, where we grilled sausages and played beach volleyball in the sun. A perfect end to the week!
What inspires your work here, or what do you enjoy most about your role?
Joining Ignite Procurement has been inspiring. With a clear vision and strategy, all employees here work eagerly in the same direction. A genuinely forward-leaning group!
What do you like about the team?
The teams I am collaborating with have an excellent diversity of talent, and as the teams are pretty small, we have several touch-points every day, which means we need to figure out how to collaborate well and maximize efficiency.
What's a fun fact about you?
I wanted to become an actor and started studying drama. But later, a Visual Basic course instilled in me a drive for working in the software industry, and I switched out all drama aspirations for science and computers.
What is Andreas like when he is not working?
I picked up wave surfing when studying at UCSD, San Diego, and ever since, I have been traveling a couple of times every year to do my favorite combination: traveling and wave surfing.
Just as in the office, I am very energetic and optimistic. I love staying active and switching between sports every few months with only bouldering, tennis, and squash as more or less the fixed ones on the list.
Know more about our incredible employees in the related articles section and learn how you can join the Ignite Procurement team on our career page.
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