Interview with Anders Dinsen & Ole S. Rasmussen

Welcome to the next interview from “Quality Talks with TLC Speakers” series. This time we have Anders Dinsen & Ole S. Rasmussen with us. And I am sure you will enjoy this interview as much as I did. 

What made you choose “Personal Leadership Development for Quality Professionals” for your tutorial in TLC? What can participants expect to learn from your tutorial? 

Anders: 

“We have given this tutorial before at TLC and ConTEST with good success and we are looking forward to offering it in a remote edition. Leaders are to a high degree judged in their workplace by their personality. While management used to be about giving instructions to individuals, modern leadership is more centred about a theme of bringing the best out of your team. This applies generally for expert work: As a leader, your job is no longer to know everything but to help your team collaborate and create. Participants will learn about their personal values and motivations, and learn and try to use them actively.”

Ole:

“It is our belief (both from personal experiences and scientifically proven knowledge) that the personal and social competencies of the manager are as important as the hardcore ability to decipher codes and numbers. 

We find that among managers in testing and development, these qualities are not as focused as they could  – and maybe need to be, in order to drive the best possible quality.”


How different do you think the remote format of tutorials would be compared to in-person format? How do you plan to keep it as effective as it would be otherwise?

Anders:

“Ole and I very much enjoy facilitating and working with social interactions in our workshops. Limiting contact to video and sound will change the experience somewhat, of course. However, this is not an uncommon situation for us: We’re both experienced with remote training. We will make sure our instructions are very clear, and that the presentations are kept short and to the point. Every individual present in the workshop will be involved in the break-out sessions. We will facilitate to ensure people get to share their reflections.”

Ole:

“There is no doubt that there is a difference. I have a fairly good experience teaching online. In my opinion, a digital format is a supplementary form to the physical meeting. Used in the best way, both can lift the other to a higher level of effectiveness, but as for now, this is not possible. Right now we have to lean on the digital tools. The next-best way then is to, not just copy what you do in the physical meeting, into a digital platform. If you do so, you are prone to fail in the aspect of making the tutorial engaging to the participant…they will become mere spectators or viewers, not participants.

Our tutorial/workshop is highly dependent on people meeting each other in an open dialogue. This is best achieved in a small group in a physical room…we will have to try to resemble that in our digitally-driven tutorial.

We will try to create small-group discussions and while we speak, we will use the chat-function to help engage AND control the debate during the tutorials – and when Anders speaks, I will keep an eye on the chat and visa versa, when I speak.”


How is leading tech teams different from leading non-tech teams?

Anders:

“Good question! I think tech teams consist of independently working professionals. Social interaction can feel a bit more awkward or out of place for some doing their work. I think leaders have to take that into account and adjust both leadership style and planned activities accordingly. Also, tech teams don’t require instructions. Sometimes they need help prioritizing and planning, but don’t tell them how to carry out their jobs. All teams are different, but I think those are the most common general differences.”

Ole:

“I find that Tech-team members (in large) are more introverted and they are naturally more focused on the specific tech parts or elements, than other teams – who, on the other hand, lack the understanding of the tech part. I also find more diversity as to introverts and extroverts in the non-tech communities…ups maybe I punched a hornets’ nest there =;0)

This gives that the manager has to consider very different approaches to your mentioned two kinds of teams, but even though she has to consider the different approaches, it is still, very much the same “buttons” she has to push in order to make the teams perform better/raise the level of quality – It is, for example, her own approach, appearance, social skills and psychological understanding of which underlying needs that drives the team, that she has to consider – and that is universal to all teams…and no; it is not the money =;0)

Another thing I find is, that the tech-teams tend to want their manager to be the best tech-guy of all – the leader-thing comes next….but if you want a manager that can drive the best quality, you need a full-blown leader…and that takes time and room. That room has to come not only from the upper management but also from the team members.

This is clearly a very rough view, I know, but it’s the short answer to the question about the differences.”


What’s the biggest mistake you see leaders making and what would be your advice to rectify it?

Anders:

“That’s hard to answer without having tried being in people’s shoes! But let me try anyway: I think the biggest problem in leadership today is that many people are a bit afraid or anxious about being their authentic selves as a leader. Putting on a suit or a pair of heels bossing people around can make you feel safe as a manager, but that’s not leadership! Leadership requires a good sense of people, context, and atmosphere. You have to be part of the team and lead the team from within: Not from above. We all make mistakes, of course, which is why inviting and appreciating feedback is also important. Ignoring opportunities for feedback is a big mistake.”

Ole:

“The biggest mistake I see is managers forgetting to lead. Managers who allow others and themselves to bury them in the everyday operations and thus not being strategic, explorative and developmental in their approach.

To rectify this I would recommend looking at their personal leadership development – which is what we try to show a bit of in our tutorial/workshops.”

What’s the most rewarding part about leading people?

Anders:

“For me, it’s seeing people learn and grow as individuals and professionals. Having opportunities to share their successes is also wonderful.”

Ole:

“To me personally it has always been seeing my employees succeed, not just as in getting the job done right, but more as seeing them finding that they matter on a higher level than just fixing whatever it is they have to fix. It may sound a bit solemn, but to see them excel as humans, that makes my day perfect. It is not as much about doing it right, as doing the right thing…and that is what only self-driven, curious and safe feeling employees do….and as an unintended side effect, the customers love them for it!”


Do you want to share anything else with the TMA community?

Anders:

“I was saddened when TMA couldn’t host the Test Leadership Congress due to COVID-19. It’s such a wonderful community and event and I can’t wait to return to New York for TLC, hopefully in 2021. But I’m excited about the way the community has continued to support TMA and TLC this year. A conference is not just people talking. It’s everyone present conferring. It’s great to see the enthusiasm of people around the globe even now when we can’t meet in person.”

Ole:

“It has been really interesting for me as a non-tech-guy to get to meet you all at the different congresses and conferences. I have been working with literally thousands of managers over the years. 

Managers from all kinds of business´, but it is only a few places I have seen a community so dedicated to the technical aspect, but yet with such great interest in investigating the new aspects… and with such ability to meet that “other” approach to management. I find that you have some of the same qualities as I see within the police, the armed forces and first-line responders. That enormous focus on details and repetition gives you a strong edge when committing to trying out ways like what Anders Dinsen and I are presenting. I am so excited to meet you (again?).”
Thank you, Anders and Ole, for the interesting conversation. I am looking forward to attending your tutorial.

Dear readers, if this interview inspires you and makes you curious about the tutorial that Anders and Ole are offering with TLC then don’t miss this chance and sign up for it soon. Below are the details:

About the Interviewees:

Anders Dinsen

Consultant at ASYM APS (Denmark) Copenhagen Area, Capital Region, Denmark. 

Anders Dinsen drives organizational learning and development through testing. He works in agile, waterfall, and hybrid contexts in Copenhagen, Denmark. Anders is Danish, critically minded, educated, and enjoys the short power-distances part of Danish organizational culture as it enables him to influence people with power. He has 25 years of experience in software engineering as a tester, developer, test manager, project manager, leader, facilitator, and coach. He is also the father of four sons aged 15-24 and married to Marianne on their 25th year.

Ole S. Rasmussen

Founder, Executive Coach at Langer & Rasmussen (Denmark) Ole S. Rasmussen is the founder of the management consultancy, Langer & Rasmussen based in beautiful Jutland, Denmark. Ole has more than 20 years of management experience from the armed forces (e.g the Danish Queens’ guards), and the different levels of private and public organizations. The past 10 years he has been running his third company, where he is active as a management consultant, facilitator, coach and teacher with a diverse set of clients from both the private and public sector. Ole is an assistant professor at Copenhagen Business School’s Executive Programme, working and writing with leadership professor Dr Ole Fogh Kirkeby. He also teaches in the Diploma/Bachelor Leadership programmes at the local business college in his hometown. Ole likes to team up with a network of people with diverse, but equally fascinating backgrounds.

About the Host:

Astrid Winkler

Astrid is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from Switzerland. Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care. Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4