After working in Swansea for over two years, running and overseeing a wide range of infrastructure related projects, I wanted a big change and was pleased to be asked to take over a deeply troubled project in Sweden. I have never been to Sweden before let alone worked there.
The project has had many project managers before me and really needed a different management approach to drive to a satisfactory resolution for both the client and my organisation. The client was not especially pleased at having another project manager (and project executive) brought in though, but we worked it through with them eventually.
I have gone through a steep learning curve as the work revolves around a business intelligence solution based on an enterprise data warehouse (not done one of those for a while) covering multiple countries. The project delivery team, resourced internationally both for a Sweden client-site based team and remotely based teams, had worked itself to a frazzle by the time I took over as they tried to hit some highly ambitious deadlines. A large number of the resources were split between three locations in India and at one point I thought I would need to visit at least one if not all of the sites involved. Sadly, the opportunity never came up as the best way forward. Getting the teams in all locations communicating more effectively with each has been a crucial focus.
Working in Stockholm is amazing. Pretty much everyone speaks excellent English, and I have never gained the impression that they are disgruntled about my lack of knowledge of Swedish. The city is wonderful. Most of the team working but not living in Stockholm stay in one of two major hotels in the city centre and commute by underground to the business and retail park location each day (around 30 minutes). The trains have so far proved to be very reliable.
In all my time here so far, I have not needed any local cash. Everywhere takes cards including the small coffee bars, corner shops, taxis. Excellent. My other half is very keen to come over for a break should I be here for long enough. That will be fantastic fun.
I usually get a direct flight out from Manchester airport on a Monday mornings around 10.30 or in the evenings around 6.30. There is a very quick express train service from the airport to the city centre that is similar to London’s Heathrow Express. It is called Arlanda Express and comes with free wifi! Mostly I return home on a Thursday afternoons. Sometimes I have to take an early flight home on a Friday and have a very long day so end up recovering on Saturday. It only takes a couple of hours to get from home to the airport, so I am doing less driving than when I was working in Swansea although overall travel time is greater.