Digging into the magnificent world of DevOps. It’s fun to see how one interest leads to the next. From data analytics to artificial intelligence and machine learning. From straight up agile teams to DevOps organizations. It goes hand in hand with what I’m exposed to at work.
Also, I miss working with robotics and physical products so much!
I catch myself watching Boston Dynamics videos while drinking my morning coffee. Reminiscing about the days when I built robots with my friends, not knowing what agile is, but working agile. Not knowing what lead time or customer value is, but feeling a positive sense of urgency to get it done and caring for the end result.
If you haven’t read up on DevOps (basic software manufacturing and care principles), then I highly recommend the DevOps Handbook!
Do you prefer to act first and think later, or think first and then act?
I’m an intuitive doer, that loves to reflect in order to improve until the next time. It might seem like a bad thing to act first and think later. But over the years I’ve noticed that as long as I take my time to reflect, a lot, it’s been working out really well for me. Reflection is key to learn and understand why something happened, the reason for a certain outcome. And I love to reflect!
So it’s a pretty effective combination, like a high paced trial and error. This method does however guarantee that you will fail, often. It might not be big failures, and it might not even seem like a negative outcome. But it might be a failure as compared to how perfect it might have been the first time. Perfection doesn’t really interest me. I’m more driven by progress, development, change and impact. If that leads to perfection in the end it’s a great bonus!
Failing in the terms of not reaching the expected outcome is something I have to deal with. I never consider myself to have failed indefinitely though. I might have had to redo an exam or apologized for a bold comment. But as long as I reflect and adapt my strategy, I don’t consider that I’ve failed at something in the long run. Just understand why, and at it again until the desired result is achieved. And if you reflect often enough, and try again, you will succeed. I reflect daily at work for a short period of time, each night before I sleep and for an entire week (during our trainee weeks) each month.
I also think it’s important to understand that it’s okay to be afraid of failing, it’s not really that fun! It’s good to feel pressure to succeed. The trick is to be brave enough to try anyway, despite the fear. To give yourself some slack in order to have the space and opportunity to grab new challenges, and conquer the seemingly impossible. One high heeled step at a time.
Whenever I come home from trainee week I always have a list with about 60 to-do’s. Meet those people, read about all the new areas I got interested in, write and reflect on some concepts and dilemmas, great ideas to solve work problems etc. The trainee weeks are a great way to have time to actively reflect on work, my development and the business. And of course to learn about leadership and practice it over and over and over again.
My brain is always in such a creative state after our weeks! Some of the trainees are just crazy creative and playful, which I try to soak in and learn from them as much as I can. We also always have a guest from the management team, this week it was our former CIO – Chief Information Officer, who ran IKEA IT for 6 years.
And then it’s nice to get to go out into the woods of Småland. Take a swim in the lake. Dodge the wild boars. Be in nature and just think think think about everything. It’s like a mental chock each Friday when I’m back in society. And at the same time I crave a trip to Singapore, like, now.
1984, 451 Fahrenheit and Animal Farm, some of the best books I’ve read!
A common view in the household of Rebecca Ahlstrand is moving boxes and stacked books. In a few days I’m moving to a new apartment, so I’m doing my usual moving routines, and it’s a bit impressive how good I’ve become at packing! My new place is a bit further away from work, but top floor and a much quieter neighborhood! Bye bye cars revving 24/7 and stomping neighbors, now I get to be the top stomper. Also on the plus side: I get to ride my bike every day and watch the ocean from a sunny balcony!
I’m thinking a lot on how much I want to buy for my new place though. Since my management programme at IKEA ends after the summer, I’m not sure what my next job will be yet or if it will include a relocation. But I’m nothing if not agile when it comes to moving. Plus this is a perfect opportunity to maybe scout for some second hand furniture and participate in the circularity movement! You can read my entry on circularity here!
And it feels good to clean out some things that I’ve noticed that I’m not using anyway. I’m quite conscious about having an effective household. Stuff should get used or get thrown out! The only exceptions are my lovely books <3 And how much things does a person need during the summer anyway? Champagne glasses, a bed, a towel, a suitcase, coffee supplies and chairs for my balcony? Check.
Deja vu, ~8 months ago, Stockholm. Same plant, different trashed jeans.
Yesterday I had a full day design thinking workshop on machine learning and artificial intelligence! It was a long day but we had so much fun thanks to our amazing Innovation & Incubation team that helped me to facilitate the workshop. I’m so pleased with our tangible results!
This is the best part of my job: mixing business with high tech. Creating value and exploring new possibilities. Taking the seemingly impossible and thriving in finding the way forward!
Exciting times at IKEA IT headquarters! Today I’m filming a teaser for my demo presentation next week, and I’m all about the numbers this sprint. I have such a fun team of scrum masters that make me goof out and have fun with it!
Rebecca Ahlstrand is a Swedish leader driven by a curiosity for tech and how it can be used to improve quality of life for people! She enjoys learning about space, physics, AI, and psychology, and gets her energy from empowering networks, mentorships, traveling, and discussing ideas and concepts.
Her degree is in IT engineering from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. She's currently Management Trainee in IT Operations at the IKEA Group, leading roadmap activities to improve operational efficiency in over 600 IT solutions running 24/7 to ensure operations globally for IKEA.
Rebecca has lived in Beijing, Shanghai, Bournemouth, Shenzhen, Singapore and Stockholm, and is currently based in Helsingborg with 200 traveling days per year.