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team lead Helen Kirs portrait

TWN life: Service Design, Analysis & UX Design Team Lead: "I like public sector projects. I feel proud that I have been involved in creating important services for the people of Estonia. "

Jaana Ziius & Helen Kirs

We continue with the blog series "TWN Life" with talented Trinidad Wiseman (TWN) team members from different professions. We talk about careers and hobbies, life before TWN and ask some fun questions to get to know them better. We interviewed Helen, Service Design, Analysis & UX Design Team Lead, who has worked at TWN for 6 years.  



”Life played a trick on me - I started working in the IT sector as someone who was quite distant from the IT sector.“

How did you become the head of a team at TWN?

I worked in the labor market department of the Ministry of Social Affairs and managed the programs of the European Social Fund. As part of this, various labor market services had to be designed for many target groups.


As the programs started to end and I was looking for new challenges, an acquaintance called me to join a team as an IT project manager in the telecommunications sector. I accepted the challenge. Having done a bit of this work, I wanted to get an idea of the different roles in a project like this.


I decided to try to analyze and manage a small project independently. However, it turned out that this "small project" became a rather large, very technical project for database analysis and interfacing with various external systems.


From this, I learned some excellent lessons in IT project management, creating technical databases, making queries, and analyzing and testing interfaces. I saw that the IT world is exciting and prosperous, and a satisfied customer creates an incredible feeling of achievement. So I decided to focus on the management and analysis of IT projects.



„I really like public service projects because they are often aimed at improving people's well-being.”

What kind of projects do you like?

We all consume public services daily. In addition, projects related to these services are always complex in terms of the target group and the technical solution. It is gratifying to note that proactive event-based services and AI solutions in the provision of public sector services are on the rise. This will help make public services more accessible to the target group.


At work, have you met anyone famous? 

Since I worked in the public sector, there have been many of them. The most memorable was probably the meeting with Prime Minister Andrus Ansip. I had to meet Mr. Ansip in the lobby of the ministry building and persuade him and the security guards to use the stairs to go to the fourth floor. The elevator was too small for his entire team.  



„TWN has the principle of freedom and responsibility.“

How did you end up at TWN, and what do you like about it?

I got here when I felt that I had been working with the same system for several years, and it was time to move on. As part of one project, I worked with TWN's UX "hardware" - Liina and Karin. I did the analysis, they prototyped.


The cooperation went well and what they did seemed very exciting. I mentioned my desire to develop my career during our lunch, and half a year later, I started at TWN. Currently, I also play the role of project manager and mentor in projects, and in addition to project work, I am a team leader of analysts and designers.

TWN has an excellent working environment - people are kind and friendly, and there is no rivalry. There is the principle of freedom and responsibility, which means that we can manage our work and time very much ourselves. In addition, we have little bureaucracy and internal rules of procedure




„Cats always land on their feet ... and my friends say I get out of every situation with my back straight.“

How do friends describe you, and what do you value in others?

My friends describe me as a creative person. I'm also a bit of a windmill that has a project going on all the time. They would say I am very independent and come out of every situation with a straight back. In other people, I personally appreciate honesty, curiosity, and flexibility.


What is this year's to-do list that has never been done? 

I want to try a real winter trip with skis, sledding, and winter camping. It will probably take place somewhere in Scandinavia - in a national park in Norway or Sweden :)  


What kind of book do you recommend to others?  

"Surrounded by idiots" - This book is about different patterns of behavior and the way people work. In addition, this book is an ABC of leadership and communication. The introduction to the book is: after reading this book, it is certain that you will begin to understand what the people around you really want to say.



”It often happens that I wear my own-sewn dress or homemade hat.”

What are your hobbies?

I have been cycling for many years now, and it seems that this hobby has come to stay. It has even happened that my small downtown apartment has everything - a landscape, a road, and a gravel bike. In winter I also do some skiing and snowboarding.


I have been horse-riding for a long time but have not been able to ride for a while, but I'm sure I will get back on it again. I enjoy handcrafting, and I often wear my own-sewn dress or homemade hat. 


Do you enjoy cooking? What is your best dish? 

I consider myself a master at making Tom Kha soup from natural ingredients, not "powder".




„If I didn't have to work, I would travel around the world and not in" rich "places, but  in interesting places!”

What would you do if you didn't have to work? 

I really like to travel - take walks in nature and discover exciting places in the world. If money was not an issue and I did not have to or want to work, I would use my time to travel around the world. I would definitely go to India and other places in Asia; Patagonia and South America would be on the cards.


What is your travel recommendation?

I would definitely recommend any safari trip in Kenya. It was an incredibly eye-catching journey - a stunningly beautiful nature and a staggeringly different downside of life. 




If you could add a new word to the dictionary, what would it be, and what would it mean? 

In my opinion, there is no good match for development errors in Estonian IT terminology. In English, the word "bug" directly matches Estonian - an insect - is not suitable. You could find an excellent Estonian equivalent in the world of insects, well I don't know ... for example, parm, sikk, tirts, ürask ... (or even kurask?) 


If you want to work as an analyst, you are independent, you value freedom and responsibility; feel free to contact us.





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