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Foto: Pete Niemelä
A longing for challenging work and an opportunity to learn brought Darvet Kõdar to SEB four years ago. We spoke to him about his new role as Tribe Lead and experiences at the bank.
– Currently I’m Tribe Lead for one of seven tribes in the Product Development organization at SEB Baltics. The tribe I am responsible for is Digital Channels, which consists of almost 80 people. We work with the internet bank, the mobile app, open banking, API gateway, e-commerce and anti-fraud. I started working in my current role in February, so I’m still quite new at this position. Before that, I was one of the Heads of Baltic Product Development. You can say that I did a twist in my career, as most people move sideways or upwards, but I decided to take a different path. Digital Channels is one of the strategic tribes with a very strong ambition and focus on technology modernization. For instance, we are building the new internet bank platform and a new mobile app. As a Tribe Lead, I have a great opportunity to be closer to real action and contribute to successful digitalization.
– Basically, I am a part of two teams. One is my own leadership team in the Digital Channels tribe, another one is the Product Development leadership team where I work with other Tribe Leads. In the Digital Channels team, we have our own working routines and backlogs with regular status updates on a weekly and monthly basis where we go through results and plans for the future. In addition, we run collaboration workshops and support each other in our activities. In the Product Development team, we have separate routines and backlogs where the main focus is on strategic topics covering all our tribes.
So, my days can differ quite a lot. Sometimes it’s all about strategic agenda, and other days I must focus on more tactical work.
– In 2018 I got a call from SEB, asking me if I would be interested in joining their organization. They valued my experience and background in the banking IT sector as well as my experience working with international teams and running agile transformation in larger scale organizations. I found SEB’s offer very exciting with full of challenges. Using my experience, I could make a real difference and have the opportunity to learn and grow myself as well.
"You get a chance to work with real topics which are complicated and effect a lot of people. In other words, you can really make a difference"
– Definitely. I was quite surprised at how much knowledge people in IT managerial positions have about business details. Even though I had been working in the banking sector for many years, I needed to learn a lot to be able to have an effective collaboration with different stakeholders and understand their needs. I was also surprised at how much I needed to know about technical details. My background in software development came to very good use.
– People might have the perception that SEB, when it comes to IT, is old fashioned with older technology and working routines. But in reality, this is not true. Banking is a highly regulated environment, and we need to accept that, but it doesn’t mean that we’re not keeping up with positive market trends. We have been innovative, implementing new ways of working and putting a lot of focus on technology modernization. We also have a flexible work environment with opportunities to work from home or abroad.
– Even though I knew what to expect from the role, the advice I would give myself is to be even more ready to learn new things. Because the role is very challenging with a combination of tactical and strategical work.
– You get a chance to work with real topics which are complicated and effect a lot of people. In other words, you can really make a difference. It’s a great place to show initiative and exceed expectations. Something very valuable is that we have great experts who support young talents willing to learn. All employees have the chance to switch position or domain, or perhaps work in another tribe. We are supportive of that in every way. You can experience different roles without having to leave the bank. If you want to really learn and grow, this is the place to do that. And of course, we offer a stable and reliable environment, something that can be especially important when looking at the current state of the economy.