Press release 29 November 2021
Corporate responsibility requires ensuring that the whole work community has the competence, support and daily working conditions needed to act in an ethically sustainable manner. This is the initial goal of a pioneering development project between Gofore and ethics expert CoHumans. The project will develop – for the first time in Finland – an ethical capability building model for work communities in the technology sector. A grant awarded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund is also proof of this development work’s novelty value and importance to society.
Gofore and CoHumans aim for a comprehensive understanding of what is meant by the work community’s ethical capability in the context of a technology company and how it can be enhanced. The result is a model for building ethical capability, which will be used to enhance Gofore’s skills and knowledge of ethics, but also to establish community and structural level conditions for ethical sustainability. The project will also be used to strengthen Gofore’s position as a responsible and visionary forerunner and to support the quality of working life at Gofore.
Ethical sustainability of technology companies has significant social impact
Digital transformation experts have a huge ethical responsibility to bear. It does more than just combats the ethical threats that are often linked to digitalisation in public debate. To the people at Gofore, ethical digital transformation is also about seeking solutions to the sustainability challenges threatening our global society.
“Luckily, technology companies are already debating the ethics of artificial intelligence and data. However, this debate has rarely gone beyond making declarations and preparing guidelines, to actually coming up with the practical application of ethics in technology. As an organisation, Gofore is committed to making our brand promise Pioneering an ethical digital world part of our daily lives and work. I am especially proud of the project’s interdisciplinary cooperation with the ethics experts at CoHumans. In my opinion, big global challenges can only be solved through multi-sectoral cooperation,” says Gofore’s Chief Sustainability Officer Kristiina Härkönen.
The ethical capability building project is a continuation of previous cooperation between Gofore and CoHumans, in which the companies prepared a Code of Ethics for Gofore. The companies have also cooperated to create, for example, new content for training on the ethics of artificial intelligence, and analysis tools for the ethical evaluation of new customer projects and advanced analytics.
Ethical capability building and responsibility work
CEO of CoHumans, ethicist Anna Seppänen finds that the project provides solutions to many challenges in working life.
“Gofore has a pioneering way of approaching ethical capability building as a way of engaging all Gofore staff in responsibility work. This is exactly the right way to approach responsibility in an organisation comprised of professionals who work independently in their own areas of expertise.”
In addition to responsibility work, the ethical capability of a work community is also closely linked to the quality of working life. Building ethical capability also means, for example, developing a culture of interaction that is respectful and creates psychological safety.
“CoHumans and Gofore are together building concrete paths towards a meaningful, humanely sustainable working life,” says Anna Seppänen.
Press Release 25.11.2021
The advanced project provides important information on the well-being of children, young people and families with children in Finnish cities of Tampere, Ylöjärvi, Vaasa, Laihia, Vantaa, and Pori. Six municipalities and a digitalisation expert company, Gofore, have built a well-being snapshot of nearly 80,000 families with children and 132,000 families under the age of 19 living in municipalities in the Advanced Family Analysis project. The key finding is that the well-being of families is highly diverse, which challenges the current service systems and ways in which municipalities provide and target support in the right way and at the right time. The results of the analysis help municipalities in management, decision-making and the provision of regionally targeted and family-oriented services. Information on families with children has been retrieved from ten national registry sources and the analysis has been performed using a combination of expert knowledge, artificial intelligence and ethical evaluation. No such concrete and extensive analysis of the well-being of families with children has been made before.
The analysis identified 100 different types of families and looked at how 11 phenomena describing well-being, such as livelihoods, education, health and socio-economic status, are highlighted in different situations of families and the impact of these phenomena on well-being. Based on this, families were divided into ten groups * according to their overall well-being.
The majority of families, seven out of ten, are doing well and are doing well in society’s basic services, but a third of families still need better service thinking based on their needs. The analysis showed that in the largest municipalities, as many as 5% of minors live independently. In addition, more than a third of families are those where the lack of support networks affects parents’ coping. The situations of families in the most challenging situations are diverse, and several phenomena seem to accumulate for the same families. Just over 10 percent of families need multi-professional, profitable support instead of separate services.
“The number of families is not essential in the construction of services, because of the diversity of families, municipalities need to understand the diversity of the need for services and support. Family type or family background do not determine what kind of services a family needs. Depending on the municipality, the family may need the support of a social network, help to develop the labor market situation of families or support the situation of a multi-challenging family”, says Petri Takala, Gofore’s leading consultant.
Information about families also helps municipalities, for example, to develop the right kind of services, to design the service system and network, and to allocate human resources according to service needs and areas.
“In public administration, decision-making is often organization-based, because the administration does not have the knowledge, competence or opportunity to find out a comprehensive picture of the needs of local residents. The results of the project will help municipalities to turn their thinking into people: Our goal is to create the conditions for family-centered decision-making and service management”, says Katri Kalske, Deputy Mayor of Vantaa, who was involved in the steering group of the Advanced Family Analytics project.
An advanced method was created in the project
The project is pioneering the way and methods of combining researched knowledge, expert knowledge and artificial intelligence to obtain concrete results and form a situational picture.
“We have succeeded in modeling registry data with artificial intelligence and teaching the algorithm to work with researched and empirical data from experts. It has also been essential from an ethical point of view that man has led the process all the time. A similar approach to modeling can be used to analyze the well-being of Finns in other population groups”, says Petri Takala from Gofore.
Ethical reflection is an important part of the analytical process
Ethical evaluation has been a key part of the whole project. Gofore’s analysts have guided the processing of the information and ensured that the data is handled responsibly, ethically, and that privacy is maintained. It has not been possible to identify individual families from the data.
Petri Takala, Senior Consultant, Gofore Plc
+358 40 563 6272
For me, the push to become a software developer was the desire to learn how to automate the redundant task of playlist reporting in my previous craft as the Head of Technology at a radio station. Radio stations are obliged to report the music they play to copyright holder organisations and I was the person responsible for sending out those reports. After a few years of typing out playlists track-by-track I figured there must be an easier way to do it and to find out how I enrolled in a university of applied sciences to study software development. That decision yielded not only a new playlist reporting application but also the base skills and courage required to start the next phase in my career.
Learning to code was only the first and relatively easy step on the path to becoming a solid skilled software developer. The trickier part was finding meaningful ways to apply those skills. In the first half of 2021 I spent as a full stack developer intern at Kela, working on the upcoming Kela.fi -website. This was a great opportunity to gain experience working in a software development team on a service that practically every single person in Finland uses at some point in their life.
When I started to hunt for an interesting job, after hearing about Gofore’s values, company culture, and possibilities in making a positive impact, I knew the job would fit me like a glove. Lucky for me, the nice folks at Gofore thought likewise. Whatever fears of being given typical intern grunt work like going through the backlog tasks on some legacy project while the seniors in the team are away basking in the July sun soon vanished.
Challenging tasks in customer projects
I was given not one but two customer projects, wildly different from one another. The first one was to create two minimum viable product-level applications from scratch for a client in the agriculture industry for keeping track of calf wellbeing. I got to choose the technologies to use, present my creation to the customer and make necessary changes according to the customer’s requests. Quite a heap of responsibility is trusted on a newbie who’s been in the company for three weeks.
The second project was almost the opposite of the first one. I joined the Gofore team working on a public sector project for one of Gofore’s biggest clients. The project consists of a React frontend and a .NET backend. My role was to focus more on the React frontend, while occasionally having to take a dip in the C# side of the codebase. Of the technologies in use, I only had experience with React. The platform upon which we build our project consists of a couple of dozen other services. Setting up the development environment and familiarizing myself with the codebase alone could have been a full summer’s work.
“My teammates in the bigger project did a great job with orientation”
I’d be lying if I said getting productive on the project was a walk in the park, but persistence mixed with a lot of trial and error and support from my teammates paid off. By August I had a few application form components to show my teammates returning to work from vacationing.
Even though I was working solo and remotely in the summer, I was not alone. My teammates in the bigger project did a great job with orientation. Fellow Goforeans were fast to give advice the company Slack channels when needed. When the team returned from vacation and the “real” work began, I immediately felt like a full-fledged member of the team, despite being new and less experienced. Now I feel like I’m on a professional growth highway towards being not just a better software developer, but a better software consultant. Participating in seemingly mundane meetings with customers provides valuable insight into the customer’s needs and how the more senior members work in more customer-facing roles.
“Everything is figureoutable”
Changing job titles from the head of technology to intern in my mid-30s was a little terrifying at first. On paper, it might even seem like taking a step backward on a professional career. But not a day has gone by when it would’ve felt like the wrong thing to do. For anyone wondering if they’re too old to add to their skill palette and start fresh in a new profession I got an answer: you’re not. Whatever experience you’ve gained in your previous career is an asset and, to quote the wise words of a poster on Gofore’s Kamppi office’s bulletin board, everything is figureoutable.
“There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things.” (Phil Karlton)
Let’s face it, devops is an incredibly bad name for what we are talking about. The origin and the development of devops has been mostly organic, which can cause problems when one tries to specify what something is and isn’t, especially when it comes to ways of thinking and how to approach problems. So, it is natural that something already hazy gives birth to even more haziness, in this case to DevXOps.
What the DevXOps assume, is that the devops is limited to the developers and ops personnel, and if we were to stay in the original idea to get the two, and ONLY the two, talking to each other, it would be absolutely right. For every additional field, there would then be yet another part added to the term and to include everything, the resulting term would be “DevQAUXSec… … Ops”. Whenever there would be only specific set in the team, there would be a different variation of it. Not only would this be impractical, it would also be highly confusing (which the current DevXOps terminology already can be).
Another interpretation is that the X represents what feature is emphasized in the overall process. This just raises more questions than it truly answers:
- why something needs to be emphasized over the others?
- does DevSecOps then mean that security goes above everything else, and quality assurance and user experience do not matter that much?
- is it necessary to use a different term rather than simply (and explicitly) state “devops with emphasis on security”?
- should the approach be changed from one to another, when the emphasis or the theme changes (e.g., from DevSecOps to DevQAOps or DevUXOps)?
The organic evolution of the devops also makes it much more difficult to understand, and it seems people are divided on what it contains and what it doesn’t. The thing is, devops does not really contain anything, but rather guides us to do things better. We need to remember that most of all, it is a way of thinking, a philosophy, and there can never be a product that could be counted, but it is possible to say that we follow the devops principles. But then, how to determine if something is or is not following the devops way of thinking?
Let’s take a look at my definition of devops from https://gofore.com/en/devops-101-pt-1-journey-to-enlightenment/:
“DevOps is an anthropocentric organizational and cultural movement, and a philosophy with a goal of improving organizational and SDO (software delivery and operations) performance, productivity and the quality of the service.”
I have defined devops by what it aims to achieve with two main constraints:
- People are at the center of it
- It is limited to software development
The first constraint aims towards sustainability. The intent is not to gain more by squeezing every possible ounce of will and energy out of employees, just to discard them afterwards. The second constraint limits the methods to the context of software development.
Now, to guide our thinking process, let’s ask some question:
- How can we improve the performance and the productivity…
- …of the organization?
- …of the teams and the individuals?
- How can we ensure the quality of the service or the product as it is perceived…
- …by the end users?
- …by the developers?
From these questions, we can design the following core mind map:
The next step would be to take some higher level aspects (culture, psychological safety, processes, security etc.) that we know to have an effect on the four objectives. By adding those to their right places (at least mostly), we get:
The goal matters
While the mind map is not all-encompassing, it should point out the key points, from which we can move towards the finer details and ask even more questions. In many cases on the performance and productivity side of things, the things to consider are applicable to other industries as well. However, as long as we keep in our minds on the why, we can say that they are part of devops philosophy as well.
A good example of when something belongs or doesn’t to the thought model is the automation. We can teach that it is a good practice to automate everything and that it reduces the amount of repetitive manual work, but alone, creating pipelines or tools is just plain old software automation. When we add the why to it so that we do it in order to leave more time for the developers to be productive, to make it repeatable, to reduce memory load and so on, then we can say it is practicing the devops way of thinking.
As an example, let’s add a few things to the mind map:
- Measurements (not strictly a process though)
- Culture of experimentation
- Culture of trust
- Well-being (see: https://gofore.com/en/devops-101-part-3-psychological-safety-and-recovery/)
- Stress and frustration (negative relation to well-being)
- Continuous Integration and Deployment
Yet again, not an all-encompassing view, but does give the idea how things are related and where everything could belong (notice that there are some shared aspects as well).
So… what now?
So now we can say that devops is everything and nothing. It is a software development-related phenomenon and a way of thinking aimed at being more productive through removal of silos, amongst many other things, while keeping the quality and the humans involved in a key role. The “need” for DevXOps might rise from the organic evolution of devops, the birth of folk models of the devops (more on this in https://gofore.com/en/devops-101-pt-1-journey-to-enlightenment/) and the bad name of it, but in the end, if we keep in mind what kind of problems the devops philosophy tries to solve and in what context, there is little that falls outside of it. This is the source of its inclusiveness. To understand the relations between all the different things, keep in mind the two constraints (anthropocentric phenomenon, software development) and the core questions:
How can we improve the performance and the productivity…
- …of the organization?
- …of the teams and the individuals?
How can we ensure the quality of the service or the product as it is perceived…
- …by the end users?
- …by the developers?
Gofore has been selected as the employer brand of the year in Rekrygaala (Recruitment Gala) in Helsinki 4th of November. In this particular event, the best recruitment professionals and deeds of the recruitment industry were awarded. Gofore’s was recognized thanks to the company’s strategic and long-term work for its employer brand. The jury of the competition stated that Gofore has systematically managed to build successful interaction with its target groups.
Rekrygaala organised by Duunitori rewarded and brought into the spotlight the best professionals and deeds in the field of recruitment industry for the fourth time. Employer Brand of the Year recognition was given for the first time ever.
Exceptionally good employee experience makes also employees proud
– Gofore’s employer brand is created together with Goforeans. We have always involved people in everything we do. At the heart of everything are our company values – we want to be a good place to work for every Goforean. We believe that when employer produces exceptionally good employee experience, it makes employees proud and willing to share it. This on the other hand creates a trustworthy employer brand, says Culture & Growth Lead Anni Roinila, who is responsible for Gofore’s recruitment.
As an employer, Gofore is exceptional and has managed to maintain its agile approach and warm-heartedness alongside the company’s rapid growth. We as a company and community want to build a better world, act responsibly and be pioneers in our field. We’ve seen this resonating well with our target audience too, says Roinila.
“We are clearly seen as a workplace where one can do good”
– Gofore’s work is based on values that have remained the same for 20 years: Gofore is a great workplace that thrives on customer success. Our reputation as an employer is not built on imagination but on sharing daily actions and authentic stories among ourselves and others. The award we received makes us proud and encourages us to continue on the chosen path. We are clearly seen as a workplace where one can do good, says Sanna Hildén, Gofore’s Director of People Operations.
The employer of the year award was given to a company that, as an employer, has systematically built a relationship with its own target group. The emphasis in the award ceremony was on long-term and strategic branding, rather than individual campaigns. The winner was selected by a jury of business professionals familiar with recruitment.
Anni Roinila, Culture & Growth,
Sanna Hildén, Gofore’s Director of People Operations,
(Photo: Petri Virkkunen / Duunitori)