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Stein Inge Haaland


CEO, Embla Software Innovation (pvt) Ltd.

Location: Sri Lanka


Certified ScrumMaster
Certified Scrum Product Owner



Stein Haaland is  originally from Norway born in 1964. I come from a background in the oil and gas industry in the northern hemisphere. This industry is fully loaded with processes and quality aspects, so I have ISO9001, HSM and quality characteristics as part of my backbone. As the work experience section shows, the first 11 years was spent in the oil and gas sector. The last 16 years has been in the IT-industry where 11 of these years as an employer. 

During the tenure of my employment in London around 1990, I invented a game to make post processing of mapping data into a success where my group was the only team to deliver as promised within the targeted timelines.

I was introduced to incremental development of software by a professor from the University of Copenhagen in 2000.

My first CSM was achieved in 2008. I have today 3 times CSM, CSPO and the CSP as the only person in the country where I now work, Sri Lanka. I will achieve my 4th CSM in a few weeks.

With regards to Scrum, I have a special interest in three different areas:

1) I wonder if it’s possible to use Scrum in the oil and gas sector. I’m intrigued to see if there is a potential to change or enhance any of the old traditional project management tools that are used in this industry.

2) The management level in every IT-company should be more involved in Scrum and take part in training and awareness sessions. To certify one or two team members as a Scrum Master and believe they will be able to implement Scrum into an organization is not enough to be successful.

3) The full development team should take part in the 4 day CSD training. I believe this knowledge is much needed in order to make Scrum work and be sustainable.  The Scrum Master and the Product Owner certifications are just introductions to what Scrum is, while the CSD is more “how” to make Scrum work” from the team’s perspective.

I have a dream that I can play a central role as a CST to raise the quality of the IT-industry in Sri Lanka by using Scrum to take the industry to totally a new level and to introduce Scrum in the oil and gas industry in Norway.

Work experience

Agrando (pvt) Ltd, CEO
October 2012 - Present, Colombo, Western province, Sri Lanka

Agrando (pvt) Ltd, CEO
October 2012 - Present, Colombo, Western province, Sri Lanka (1 year and ongoing…)
As part of my company "Extended Office" service, we can start and operate new IT-companies in Sri Lanka for foreign investors. The traditional standard outsourcing model is not right for everyone and our “Extended Office” can offer other methods where we start a company on behalf of our customer. Agrando is such an example where we have a development team where the whole group is certified Scrum Masters.

Embla Software Innovation (pvt) Ltd., CEO
December 2008 - Present, Colombo, Western province, Sri Lanka

Embla Software Innovation (pvt) Ltd., CEO
December 2008 - Present, Colombo, Western province, Sri Lanka (5 years and ongoing..)
I moved to Sri Lanka in 2008 and started my second software company here. I have invested a lot in technology, quality and processors together with project management. It took me only one year to advance the company to a Microsoft Gold partner level. I am not aware of anyone else in the country that has achieved the gold partnership this fast.

With a background in the oil and gas industry it was a natural to seek the ISO9001:2008 certification to be sure that our processors are in place. This was achieved in 2011

In order to deliver projects and services to the Norwegian and Danish oil and gas industry it was necessary to be Achilles certified. We are humbly proud that we accomplished this in 2011, and became the only company in Sri Lanka and the only IT-company in the Asian hemisphere to be certified. This was a big achievement for me and my team. The Achilles certification is built upon the ISO9001 certification. Our aim is to become ISO50001 and ISO270001 certified within the next year.

In 2008 when I set up my company in Sri Lanka, to my knowledge there were only 4 certified Scrum Masters in the country, where I was one of them (please correct me if the numbers are wrong). I trained my team of 20 members in Scrum and we have been running Scrum in my company ever since. I realized fairly early that my coaching was not enough, hence contacted GoodAgile in Singapore to explore the possibilities to invite a trainer to visit Sri Lanka for a session. I also contacted other IT-companies in Colombo in the attempt to get them to join the same training. No one was interested at that time. I sent my whole team for the course and after which we sustained 100% CSM coverage in the company. Since then I have lost a few colleagues to other companies as they were headhunted due to the ScrumMaster certification. Remember that Sri Lanka is a poor country where people are reluctant to invest in training and developing their employees.

I’m happy that my initiative has been part of bringing Scrum into Sri Lanka and that some IT-companies now look upon Scrum as a very positive tool in their project management. I’m also happy to see that the IT-industry in the country is moving forward. Since then we have gained more people in the company. I do the initial training and Ilan Goldstein from Australia and Pete Deemer from India have done the ScrumMaster certifications thereafter. I’m myself a 3 time Scrum Master and will attend my 4th training session with Pete next time he arrive I Colombo together with six new members of my company.


I have learnt over the last few years that it’s possible to run both the rigid ISO9001 system and the agile Scrum methods side by side in the same company without any shortfalls or shortcuts.

Training and courses,
February 2008 - Present,

CSM     : 2008 in Stavanger Norway with Geir Amsjø

CSM     : 2013 in Colombo Sri Lanka with Ilan Goldstein from Australia

CSM     : 2013 in Colombo Sri Lanka with Pete Deemer from India

CSPO   : 2013 in London with Martine Devos

CSP      : 2013 in Colombo, Sri Lanka using the traditional examination

Agile for management: 2013 in Oslo, Norway with Geir Amsjø

Lean and Six Sigma: 2013 in Sri Lanka

Webinar: 2013 State of Scrum, June 2013

Scrum Gathering Pune, India in July 2013

PMP     : August 2013 in Colombo, Sri Lanka

CSM     : September 2013 in Colombo Sri Lanka with Pete Deemer from India

Scrum Gathering Paris in September 2013

Succeeding with Agile: September 2013 in London with Mike Cohn

Embla Norsk Familiehistorie AS, CEO
June 1996 - Present, Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway

Embla Norsk Familiehistorie AS, CEO
June 1996 - Present, Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway (13 years and ongoing..)
I started my first software company in 1996 while working at GeoQuest. This was approved by the management at GeoQuest. We started to produce a program for the genealogy market using family trees where one can trace their ancestors. Our main product "Embla Familie og Slekt" is the most sold genealogy program in Norway, but the program was initially the idea of the American company Family Technologies in 1992. This was at the same time as the first Microsoft Windows 3.1 was released. Our package was the very first genealogy program in the world to use digital pictures. As my own company grew, I terminated my job in the oil and gas sector and moved fully over to the IT-industry.


As all software companies at that time, we were also faced with challenges to deliver on time within planned budget. Our office was located in the Science Park of Stavanger, Norway. A professor from the University of Copenhagen had a presentation about his findings in the use of iterative development. This was back in 2000. After the presentation, I invited the professor back to Norway to spend some days with my team to teach them these iterative methods. Back then, there were no tools or fixed procedures as most of it was on the professors “drawing board” – or should I say – in his head as an idea that had not yet crystalized. This was when I first discovered the magic of taking one large project and cut it into smaller time-slices with releases at each time cycle. Unfortunately it turned out to be a too big a challenge for my programmers that was well into waterfall and the human mindset was the main problem in the attempt to move these new thoughts forward. In 2008, again at the Science Park, a person from Oslo had a presentation about Scrum and with the information that he would be leading a Scrum-course in Stavanger. I recollect this as the very first Scrum training on the west coast of Norway. I attended this course with Geir Amsjø and Jens Ostergaard from Denmark. This is where I became a Scrum Master for the very first time and discovered software management that works. My company in Norway is still operative and our main product “Embla Familie og Slekt” is at its version 9 at the moment.

GeoQuest AS, SYS. Admin
February 1996 - June 1999, Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway

GeoQuest AS, SYS. Admin
February 1996 - June 1999, Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway (about 3 years)
I joined GeoQuest as a System Administrator – a company in the Schlumberger family that developed software for the seismic industry. I worked in the testing department with about 20 quality assurance engineers. This is where I was introduced to software development and quality assurance.


My learning experiences during these years have been consistent quality and the use of processors as an ISO9001 environment. I also learned the importance of HMS – health and safety in the work environment and how to look after your colleagues in a dangerous and hazardous work environment.

Geco AS, EDB operatør >> NAV processing >> Group Leader >> Navigatør
May 1985 - January 1996, Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway

Geco AS, EDB operator, NAV processing, Group Leader, Navigator
May 1985 - January 1996, Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway (about 11 years)
I started my career in Geco AS, Norway as a System Administrator in the mapping department just after ending education. Geco is a large seismic company - part of the very large Schlumberger oilfield services operation, working in the oil and gas sector all around the world.

After 2.5 years in the mapping department, I moved to the navigation department post processing of navigational data in the same company.

Subsequently two years later I moved to London, England, still attached to the same company and the same department, but this time as the group leader for a team of 8 people - all of them senior to me.

At the time I took on this new challenge ahead of me, the projects in the London office were not completed in a timely manner causing delays. That was the rule rather than the exception. A normal project lasted for a few months where each team member had their special task like filtering of compasses, preparing lasers, processing of air guns etc. All of these tasks had to be done by a specialist and later to be merged on the same day in order to continue processing. It was never possible to align each of these tasks to end on the same day for the large merge, so people would very often walk up and down the hallway waiting for their colleagues to finish. I introduced a “game” of where we made graphs on millimeter paper for each individual. The graphs acted like information radiators that everyone could see – the team, the management, the customer and also the other teams that worked the traditional way. It looked very much like an opposite burndown chart used in Scrum. At the end of each day, each person would use the color green if they were ahead of schedule and a red color if they were behind. People could find themselves spending 10 minutes less of their 1 hour lunch break, or maybe spent 10 minutes more at the end of every day to be sure that they could mark the map in green rather than show everyone that the radiator had dropped to a red color. The top Management was highly impressed to be able to see the progress this clearly and it became a custom to come by our office every day to look at all the maps and the colors. And if one person was lagging behind with more and more red on his or his graph, they were requested by the other team members (and me as the group manager) of how they could be helped to gain the lost time. The end result was astonishing. We were the only team that was able to accomplish every project – constantly. My little “game” was spread to all the teams, and the post processing department in London was able to produce a lot more than any other processing centers in the world.

I left London after 2.5 years and moved back to the Norwegian office. At the same time, the London firm moved their offices to another location with a change in Management.  Afterwards, they were never able to get back into the same production as the new management was pushing for the “traditional” tools used in the industry. I leaned to “make it fun”, “keep it simple” and “inspect every day”. I was in the middle of my twenties at that time. In Norway I became a Team Lead for a group where I was again leading my seniors and one even happened to be my former Manager.

Couple of years later I moved “offshore” working the next 3.5 years onboard different vessels shooting seismic around the world. I felt that the management was not eager to look for ways to improve our working process. It was the same process day after day.


I left the company after 11 good years. 

Articles I've written

I Had to Die to Save My Company
Sometimes your worst enemy is yourself -- and you don't even know it.


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