“Of course, the product is interesting and the business at M-Files is doing great. But I had those in my previous position, too. It was more than just those facts that ultimately made me become an M-Filer.”
That’s what Mika Turunen, Senior Vice President of Product & Engineering at M-Files says about starting his job with us 2.5 years ago.
Right now: We’re looking for a Product Owner in Cloud Services to join our team>>
Mika still thinks the same way – he felt there was something more valuable to his decision.
“At that time, I wasn’t looking for anything new, because everything was fine at my former workplace. However, I was caught by a headhunter and even tried to leave the process at some point”, Mika recalled.
“But as the conversation progressed, I noticed that there are some very interesting things about M-Files,” he continued.
The culture is based on values – and they are not just a banal poster on the wall
“What changed my mind was when I met the M-Filers for the first time. I met up to 10 future colleagues during the recruitment process. The reason for joining M-Files was the people and the values they lived out as a company”, Mika said.
“My choice was not that heavily influenced by the fact that M-Files is a growth company, a startup or a SaaS business. Even more essential for me was the culture and startup mentality that is built into M-Files’ culture”, Mika commented.
“The M-Filers are at the center of everything here. Here we do things together and strive to succeed together. If we think about the values that guide our work, the subsection in our value ‘Help others’ has a powerful message in it: ‘Assume good intentions’”, Mika emphasized.
Our central value at M-Files is to help and support others, and to assume good things about other people. Everyday things are communicated through these values. These values are not just banally hung as a poster on the office wall. Instead, they emerge in daily interactions and our leadership communicates through them.
“The values can be seen, for example, as permission to bring your whole self to work. You get to show the jagged edges of your personality. You sometimes get a little less out of us people when there is a lot going on in our lives. But when we do things together, everyone is supported, and the good things can also come out of everyone”, Mika smiled.
“You get to show the jagged edges of your personality.”
As a leader, Mika gets easily excited about the people and culture related topics – he really is someone who appreciates building a strategic company culture where people can thrive. But let’s go back a couple of steps – why is building a great culture important for us in the first place?
A great software product and a healthy business are the product of great people
“Well, here it is well understood that a good software product and a healthy business are the product of people. It’s a big thing for us. We do global business, where problems are complex and challenging. How can you build a global business without having great people and culture in place to solve those problems?”, Mika remarked.
How do we build a culture of trust?
“First, everyone needs to feel safe. We put a lot of effort into building a safe environment where you can disagree and say your opinion out loud”, he stressed.
“We put a lot of effort into building a safe environment where you can disagree.”
On average, M-Files has grown by 30% in every area for 2 years straight. Right now, we are on an internationalization mission to grow in North America and it has brought numerous opportunities to our in-house team. A commitment to diversity is on display at M-Files, and we are proud to have a diverse community where being different as a person does not exclude you from opportunities.
In his role, Mika is responsible for the organization developing and moving the M-Files product forward. Mika not only ensures that the product organization he leads produces the value being promised, but he also takes care of the people in his organization and oversees their well-being.
In Mika’s organization, Markus Ritala owns one product area related to cloud services and scalability and is responsible for the strategy of the entire product area. The Product Owner of the Cloud Services leads one of Markus’ teams, taking the product forward.
M-Files has 20 years of successful history under its belt. To ensure we keep going for at least another 20 successful years in the global market, we have to commit ourselves to evolving on a technical level.
As a result, new technologies are constantly being introduced for M-Files teams to familiarize themselves with. The latest cloud technology doesn’t have to be in your area of expertise, but you will work closely with them. Product owners are at the center of service design and product management.
“The Product Owner is expected to have strategic ability. The work is not only about organizing tasks, but it also includes insights into why you organize them in a certain way and what’s the benefit for the business,” Mika elaborated.
Even though you don’t work together with Mika on a daily basis, a close relationship will be established on day one.
“When a new M-Filer joins the product organization, the first month includes booking an appointment with me. I will prepare an agenda for the meeting. With this, I want to convey the message that contacting the leadership and being proactive are very much appreciated at M-Files,” Mika said warmly.
“Contacting the leadership and being proactive are very much appreciated at M-Files.”
In the first meeting, Mika always creates conversations that are tailored around the role and experiences of each individual, so that people in his organization feel welcome and seen for who they are.
“I want to lower the threshold as much as possible for reaching out so that in case of an emergency, you can always come and have a discussion,” Mika assured.
“Once you start with M-Files, our work and interaction together will mostly come via the steering group. The Product Owners truly do take charge of their product area from start to finish. But I am a member of their business steering group and bring information about the customers’ needs and the state of business directly to them,” Mika added.
The vision comes directly from the management team, but the Product Owner role holds the reigns for how to get there. Essentially, you work in an influential role—as an opinion leader that leads the team, creates a strategy, and guides the team in the right direction.
“Since we don’t work together every day, I build opportunities to come and chat with me at any time. We can always go through things together when you need it,” Mika promised.
Wait a minute – What kind of a business is M-Files, anyway?
Mika acknowledges that the truth is, that M-Files’ brand recognition is not yet where we want it to be when it comes to attracting tech talent. On the B2B side, our brand is well-known, but we are not a household name in the tech market just yet.
“We are a growth company with a Finnish origin, that operates in the international field. M-Files’ product is a sample of Finnish engineering at its best. We are a combination of Finnish humbleness and American ambitious thinking, and the word that M-Filers use to describe this is humbitious,” Mika summarized.
“We are a combination of Finnish humbleness and American ambitious thinking, and the word that M-Filers use to describe this is humbitious.”
What M-Files does as a product can be summed up this way: Companies with information workers have a lot of data and analytics they need to organize and maintain. And properly managing information is crucial for businesses and organizations of all sizes. In essence, knowledge work is simply data management, where placing a context on needed information permits it to be connected with business processes. While many people in the past used to organize all of their information in folders, we now tag, and provide a context for information so that it can be easily found in a search.
“When you learn to understand what a metadata-based system can achieve, your mind expands, and you start to see a lot of interesting challenges to solve and new ways of thinking.”
“M-Files’ represents the future of metadata-driven information management. We usually joke that when you join, during the first half year, you go through so many shifts in thinking as you learn more and more of the metadata-driven thinking, that it’s almost impossible to think any other way after that. Context is a powerful thing when associated with information,” Mika smiled.
According to Mika, when you learn to understand what a metadata-based system can achieve, your mind expands, and you start to see a lot of solutions for interesting challenges along with new ways of thinking. You really start understanding why we are a key player for our customers’ business and why the metadata-driven way of managing information is like no other.
“It requires you to break away from the old paradigm, which requires some mental gymnastics at times. For the younger generation it comes more naturally, but us old-timers are more stuck to our folder-like thinking. But at least for me, an open mind and curiosity have been key themes when I’ve changed jobs,” Mika commented.
There’s one more message Mika would like to share with all job candidates:
“Every recruitment is really important for us. Now that we are opening this position, our teams are already eagerly asking when they get to meet their new co-worker. It’s a big thing for everyone to have a new M-Filer join. It would be nice to get the message across: We’ve been waiting for you and it’s wonderful that you are joining us!”
Want to learn more about the Product Owner role in Cloud Services? Read more and apply to the open role now!