Annukka Taivassalo, Project Manager in Santa Cruz, Portugal
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Annukka Taivassalo

Verified Expert  in Project Management

Project Manager

Santa Cruz, Portugal
Toptal Member Since
February 22, 2022

Annukka is a tech leader with 12 years of experience as a project and program manager, two years as an Enterprise Agile coach, and one year as a product manager. She is an expert in getting stuff done, enabling continuous improvements, and creating an environment where people can be their best selves.

Project Highlights

Coaching Customer Education Project Team
The project manager and sponsor kicked off the project with an Agile mindset and practices and effective collaboration.
HERE Location Services Migration to AWS
Delivered all migrations on schedule and with no customer impact and received exceptional customer and stakeholder feedback. The teams continued their Agile ways of working after completing the migrations.
HERE Neutral Server Launch
Launched the product on time and received very positive feedback from the product manager.


Work Experience

Head of Technical Program Management

2023 - PRESENT
Prima Assicurazioni
  • Created a career progression framework for the TPM team to help upskill the team from associate TPMs to senior TPMs.
  • Established and promoted technical program management practices and standards.
  • Established the program portfolio practice, including the creation of visibility of the program portfolio, managing the portfolio risks, and prioritization.

Product Manager

2022 - 2023
Prima Assicurazioni
  • Built the product management function for Prima's infrastructure department.
  • Promoted "you build it, you run it" and DevOps culture across the engineering department.
  • Defined the product vision and strategy and established regular practices to enable planning and maintaining a product roadmap, which included setting up product discovery.

Enterprise Agile Coach

2019 - 2021
Here Technologies
  • Joined the business agility team to define and execute the Agile transformation strategy for the company.
  • Coached the data function teams on their Agile transformation efforts.
  • Coached project teams on their ways of working and helped them bring Agile practices, tools, and mindsets into their projects.
  • Defined the renewed culture vision and principles to develop the company culture to the next level based on engagement survey data and extensive employee feedback.
  • Created and facilitated employee feedback forums for the culture and people (HR) teams.
  • Solved business problems for the product management teams.

Program Manager | Project Manager

2010 - 2019
Here Technologies
  • Led technical projects and programs in the IT operations team, focusing mainly on launching a new location services platform and improving service levels.
  • Managed cross-functional programs in the platform engineering team, collaborating with software development teams and product management teams.
  • Led the program management community of practice and created companywide program management standards.


2007 - 2010
  • Managed the knowledge transfer from a system engineering team to T1, T2, and T3 support teams, enabling the company to provide 24/7 support for Nokia Ovi Maps services. This increased the production incidents resolved on time by 50%.
  • Produced technical documentation and training materials as part of the Nokia location services transition team. Established knowledge management as a new capability for the team to create better customer satisfaction through better uptimes.
  • Managed a PMO service and its daily operations for Nokia IT; designed, negotiated, and documented standard service processes and service levels; and onboarded project managers into the corporate culture, tools, and processes.
  • Recruited project management consultants for the Ixonos PMO team.
  • Led a team of three QA engineers for a telecom customer’s provision and billing system.

Service Analyst

2006 - 2007
  • Coordinated global IT projects to ensure the Nokia IT service management team was ready for new IT services to go live.
  • Partnered with engineers and project and service managers to create service documentation, training, and tool configurations.
  • Prepared monthly service-level and cost reporting.

Coaching Customer Education Project Team

The project manager and sponsor kicked off the project with an Agile mindset and practices and effective collaboration.

Before the kickoff, I coached the project team to help them get set up quickly and embed an Agile mindset and practices into the project planning, facilitated working sessions, and designed the kickoff meeting.

HERE Location Services Migration to AWS

Delivered all migrations on schedule and with no customer impact and received exceptional customer and stakeholder feedback. The teams continued their Agile ways of working after completing the migrations.

The program goal was to migrate 15 location service APIs from company data centers to AWS with no customer impact. The approach was to create cross-functional feature teams to handle the API migrations end-to-end. These teams had the autonomy to figure out the best way of working for them. As a program manager, I provided guidelines and checklists for the teams' migration work, helped them clear out any blockers, and performed risk management and stakeholder reporting.

HERE Neutral Server Launch

Launched the product on time and received very positive feedback from the product manager.

I was brought in to help the product manager launch a new product for HERE. I coordinated the non-technical launch activities, such as product marketing, legal compliance reviews, security and privacy reviews, customer support readiness, and sales training.

Data Acquisition and Community Team Agile Transformation

Embedded a continuous improvement mindset into a team involving 130 people.

I coached a group of 130 people on their Agile transformation to increase speed, adaptability, and collaboration across regions. I also established a core team of Agile enthusiasts who are now able to drive and sustain improvements within their teams.

Product Management Team Strategic Objectives Coaching

Coached a team to collaborate on their strategic objectives openly and effectively and align with the company's strategic objectives.

I coached and facilitated a group of product management leaders to create their strategic objectives, define top priorities for the year, and ensure alignment with the company's strategic objectives. This involved multiple coaching sessions and workshops.

Culture Council

A prioritization experiment resulted in 83% of participants saying that the framework improved their ability to deliver. A psychological safety experiment improved a team's level of psychological safety by 15%.

I designed and launched a culture council concept to improve the feedback cycles between employees and the culture team. We completed one complete iteration with the culture council focusing on speed, including a customized design sprint, kicking off experiments, and following up on the recommendations that came from them.

HERE Team Leads Organization Design Coaching

Facilitated team leads to establish connections across regions and produce a proposal that the leadership team took into account while making decisions on the next organizational structure for the teams.

I coached and facilitated a group of team leads from across regions to design a proposal for a new organizational structure. The proposal included role definitions and future ways of working to support Agile practices.

HERE WeGo Mobile Application E2E Flow Mapping

Improved the Places data quality by 25% in the first improvement round for the new WeGo app. The E2E team came away knowing how the full process works and who is behind each part of the process.

Coached and facilitated a cross-functional team in product management and development to create an end-to-end flow for how Places data flows from data sourcing to the consumer-facing mobile application. I also helped the team identify pain points and improvement areas during working sessions.

HERE LastMile Customer Feedback Mapping

Enabled the team to measure how long each step in the E2E flow takes, know what to focus on to meet the SLA targets, and improve the data flow.

I conducted a value stream mapping exercise on how the feedback from customers on address data becomes available to the LastMile customer solution. I was invited to present the results in a product leadership team meeting.

HERE Location Services as a GDPR Subprocessor

Enabled this project to be deployed on time for partner customers.

The project goal was to set up the technical requirements needed for the HERE Location Services APIs to fulfill the GDPR requirements for data subprocessors. The project required a high amount of cross-team coordination and planning.

HERE Market Entry in China

Despite many challenges, enabled the products to launch on time and the operations to be handed over to the local APAC team successfully.

The goal of the program was to expand the HERE product coverage into China. The program included setting up the legal company structures (joint venture and a local partner), building a new team in China, finding a local cloud and network provider, and deploying the core HERE services into China.

As a program manager, I managed the core program team, including multiple project managers who were leading different streams of the program, the overall program budget and business case, overall risk management, and reporting to the leadership team.

HERE Service Level Improvements

Enabled teams to leverage a continuous improvement mindset and methodologies after the project was officially closed.

The goal of the project was to identify improvements to help HERE Location Services meet and exceed customer-facing SLAs for availability and server response times. This involved a deep dive into topics that contributed to the poor SLA performance, such as application monitoring and alerting and dynamic data architecture.

HERE Program Management Community and Standards

Created a learning community and enabled the program management experts across the company to connect with each other.

The goal of this work was to create a community of excellence (CoE) that co-created companywide standards for program and project management, shared knowledge and best practices, and uplifted the program management talent.
1998 - 2001

Bachelor of Science Degree in Information & Communication Management

Northumbria University - Newcastle, England, UK


Certified Agile Leadership Essentials (CAL-E)

Scrum Alliance


Certified Agile Leadership for Organizations (CAL-O)

Scrum Alliance


Agility in the Enterprise (ICP-ENT)



Coaching Agile Transitions (ICP-CAT)



Business Agility Foundation (ICP-BAF)



PRINCE2 Practitioner

APM Group


Professional Scrum Master Level I (PSM I)


Zoom, Jira, Confluence, Miro, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, YouTrack


Scrum, Agile, PRINCE2, Agile Leadership, Kanban, Lean, User Acceptance Testing (UAT), Design Thinking, Requirements Analysis, Testing, Agile Project Management, ITIL Continual Service Improvement (CSI), DevOps


Amazon Web Services (AWS), Linux


Communication, Business Management, Information Systems, Scrum Master, Scrum Coaching, PRINCE2 Project Management, Project Management, Work Breakdown Structure, Business Agility, Coaching, Agile Coaching, Agile Transformation, Leadership, Change Leadership, Culture, Culture Hacking, Culture Management, Business Cases, Process Improvement, Community Management, IT Project Management, ITIL, IT Service Management (ITSM), Risk Management, Budgeting, Project Budget Management, Issue Management, Issue Tracking, Scope, Scope Management, Project Planning, Roadmaps, Product Roadmaps, Project Reporting, Dashboard Development, Resource Management, Project Scheduling, Program Management, Agile Program Management, Technical Program Management, IT Program Management, China, Community of Practice, PMO, PMO Development, Project Management Office (PMO), Client Relationship Management, Relationship Management, Documentation, Technical Documentation, Knowledge Transfer, IT Support, Consulting, Project Coordination, IT Service Delivery, Service Delivery Project Management, Reporting, Technical Project Management, Process Design, Process Mapping, Customer Journeys, Project Delivery, Stakeholder Engagement, Information Science, System Design, Knowledge Management, Human Resources (HR), Value Stream Mapping, Product Management, Executive Coaching, Organizational Design, Team Management, GDPR, Recruitment, Recruiting, Software QA, QA Testing, Technical Writing, Training, Technical Training, Workshop Facilitation, Workshops, Ideation Workshops, Strategic Design, Backlog Management, Product Development, Facilitation, Mentorship, Team Mentoring, Mentorship & Coaching, Process Transformation, Business Coaching, Discovery Workshops, Strategic Planning, Strategic Initiatives, Strategic Planning & Execution, Objectives & Key Results (OKRs), Product Vision, Learning, Education, Design Sprints, Team Leadership, Mobile App Development, Web & Mobile Applications, APIs, REST APIs, SDKs, Data Processing, Last Mile Logistics, Process Definition, Process Flows, Process Flow Design, Business Process Flow Diagrams, Product Launch, Cloud Computing, Cloud Migration, Continuous Learning, Application Monitoring, SLA Management, Service-level Agreements (SLA), Community Development, Process Development, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Monitoring, Digital Platform Development, Cloud Platforms, People Management, Portfolio Management, Google Meet, Google Drive

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