Joakim, Quality Engineer: "Always pay it forward" - ALTEN Sweden

Joakim Nilsson, Quality Engineer: “It’s About Paying It Forward”

Joakim, Quality Engineer at ALTEN, has presented his learnings to his colleagues at SAAB Dynamics.

Joakim Nilsson, Quality Engineer at ALTEN, got to present his learnings from the past years in front of 3000 colleagues at the SAAB Dynamics Days 2023. The recent years at his assignment has taught him a thing or two about the importance of working cross functionally — and why paying it forward is one of his main drives.


Joakim Nilsson works as Senior Quality Engineer and is currently on assignment at SAAB Dynamics in Karlskoga. Working with Supplier Quality in the Defense Sector means working closely with their suppliers improving their methods and making sure quality is maintained throughout the supply chain, but it also includes working with sustainable development from a purchasing perspective. During his time at SAAB, Joakim has spearheaded and grown the purchasing department. And since 2021, him and his team has worked in a project to implement a new tool to fit more sustainable and digital ways of working. It’s been long hours and persistent work, which has paid off: On February 2nd, he held his purchasing department’s presentation to 3000 of his colleagues on how the new purchasing tool has improved the organization, in terms of both quality and sustainability.

— We presented how we’ve solved all security aspects with a sustainable mindset. There have been many departments involved throughout the course of this project and there’s been a lot of fruitful exchanges. It’s a challenging task working with this type of quality work, with regulations and confidentiality being at such a high level.


“For me, one of the key strengths at ALTEN is having both an IT-side and an Engineering side that can learn from each other, across sectors and fields. The key pillar is to want to develop.


Learnings, Motivations and Takeaways

Looking back at the project, Joakim concludes that the most important takeaway is not necessarily related to the work itself, but the mental part of daring to try new things. While it was undoubtedly a challenging and complex task, it was the first step of daring to throw yourself out there that was perhaps the most daunting.

— Software is not my area, so working a lot with security protocols software-wise has been out of my comfort zone, where I’ve had to really dig in to know what questions to ask to get the best possible answers in any given situation. That’s one big thing I want people to take-away from the presentation – always be open-minded and dare to take the first step!


What did you gain from the day?

— I met colleagues with similar interests and shared what I know so that others can develop further. A big part of my ambition is to continuously learn and help others learn.


Why is that important to you?

— I’m honored being able to not only represent my team, but ALTEN as well. It was a no brainer for me to present and show everyone what we’ve accomplished. Sure, I’ve got a lot of things on my plate right now, but if I can help the people around me grow it’s worth it. It’s about paying it forward: You have to think about the whole group, not just yourself.

— That’s also why I look forward to our monthly meetings and get-togethers in the Örebro office. Meeting my ALTEN colleagues in other fields is just as rewarding and important for my progress.


“That’s one big thing I want people to take-away from the presentation – always be open-minded and dare to take the first step!


Cross-competence work – a recipe for success?

As a Quality Engineer, you’re used to collaborating as most things are done cross-functionally. In Joakim’s case, it’s been working holistically with the Security Team, digging deeper with Software Developers and getting the grip of the fine print with the legal team, just to name a few. The end-goal is to able to understand something from a wider perspective while also zooming in and answering very specific questions that solve very specific challenges.

— If you work as a designer for example, you usually only do one part of a project. It’s hard to see the whole picture. I’ve learned the importance of starting the process early and involving all parties, so that everyone better understands the nature of the collaboration and how their work can be improved by asking us questions, instead of it always being the other way around. It really is just about working together and asking questions. Of course, that’s easier said than done.


The possibilities to learn doesn’t need to stop in your own field. There might also be opportunities to learn from places and people where one might not usually look for inspiration and knowledge.

— For example, I’ve seen that my type of role has much to learn from a traditional Scrum Master, as far as working with an agile method and the way they’re managing their projects.

— This for me is one of the key strengths at ALTEN, having both an IT-side and an Engineering side that can learn from each other. I think we’re doing a good job at the Örebro office to learn from each other across sectors and fields. The key pillar is to want to develop.



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