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Bringing together what ­belongs together

ING wants to offer its customers a simple and clear digital experience, anytime, anywhere. The One Agile Way of Working helps to make this possible. Nadine, Product Owner of ING Germany’s agile transformation, and Payam, Global Head Operating Model and Way of Working, talk about the progress and the challenges of the upcoming change.

Why do we need the One Agile Way of Working (OAWOW)?

 

Payam: We want to offer our customers better products and services faster. In order to implement our Think Forward strategy more quickly, there needs to be one ING for the entire world. To achieve this, we are unifying our priorities, products, platforms, processes and ways of working. Only then will we be able to respond quickly to changing customer requirements and create a customer experience that is simple, convenient and consistent for all customers around the world at all times. This is precisely why we’re introducing the One Agile Way of Working (OAWOW).


Nadine: That’s right. When we have a similar structure and mindset, we can work much better together internationally. At the moment we are often slow and get in our own way. The agile way of working brings together the people that belong together, by creating multidisciplinary teams that take responsibility from start to finish. This saves us time, breaks up silos and avoids duplication. One example is to completely implement a new app function from idea to MVP in a squad. This has many advantages for employees: the new way of working gives us a clear scope for action, which is motivating and makes work meaningful; everyone gets to see the result of their work. This means growth – not only professionally, but also personally.

What does “agile” mean to you? And what do you mean by One Agile Way of Working?

 

Nadine: On the one hand, the One Agile Way of Working is a mindset and, on the other, it encompasses different methods. By mindset, I mean my inner attitude towards myself and my behaviour. The basis for this is the Orange Code. An open error culture is essential to help each other succeed and take things into one’s own hands. As well as simply letting go and experimenting to get faster results. The instruments and tools for this are agile working methods such as Scrum, Kanban and PACE.

Payam: For me, agile means bringing together people with different backgrounds and empowering them to deliver what customers need. In an agile organisation, we work efficiently with a minimum of handovers, in short production cycles and always aligned with the needs of our customers. The organisation lives and adapts to the ever-changing environment. Our Way of Working describes how we manage, prioritise, share and improve our work; both globally and locally.

„Gemeinsam an einer Sache zu arbeiten und wirklich etwas gestalten zu können, macht viel Freude.“ “

Nadine, ING-DiBa Product Owner One Agile Way of Working

What is the biggest difference between the “old” and the “new” way of working?

 

Payam: We were organised locally and hierarchically. Now ING is built dynamically and around agile principles. The Way of Working is a bank-wide model and is implemented globally. The OAWOW is based on tested agile working methods and is inspired by the best practices and learnings of various ING units and other companies.

Nadine: In the old world, I was more dependent on my boss; in the new world, we are responsible for our own tasks. We work out the partial goals together and create a backlog: a to-do list for all of us, which we break down into small work packages. I share my progress, impediments and achievements with my team in the daily stand-up. This additionally motivates me and makes me proud. We give each other mutual feedback, and I thus get much more feedback for my work, and I get this immediately. This creates a lot of transparency. I am also better able to try things out. Until now, when someone had an idea, they needed the approval of all hierarchy levels. Now when I have an idea, I discuss it with the team in the daily and we simply try it out. A sense of permanent learning also becomes much clearer in agile working. I myself am not a particularly disciplined person. But I have to be in order to present my topics briefly and concisely in the daily and to reach my partial goals in the sprints. Hence I’m learning to work in a much more structured way and communicate properly.

Payam, you’ve been paving the way for OAWOW along with your team for almost a year now. What have you achieved so far?

 

Payam: We’ve managed to ensure that the topic was on everyone’s radar across all units and business areas. And we’ve improved the reference model for the Delivery units. Through monthly bootcamps, more than 180 colleagues from the local transformation teams have been able to get started. The Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Romania, Austria and COO Finance are (partially) already converted and are constantly improving their structures and processes. Germany, France and the global Wholesale Banking Units are currently undergoing preparation. Spain, Australia, Italy and the Czech Republic will start the design phase in the first half of 2018.

How is the global transformation being implemented?

 

Payam: We use the snowball principle. We train agile coaches and local transformation teams in workshops and bootcamps. They act as ambassadors of OAWOW. The local management board designs the new organisational structure with the transformation team and they assist with the implementation. We and other global teams are also offer support.

„„Für mich bedeutet agil, Menschen mit unterschiedlichen Hintergründen zusammenzubringen und sie zu befähigen das zu liefern, was die Kunden brauchen.“ “

Payam, ING Global Head Operating Model and Way of Working

What are the next steps?

 

Payam: Our goal is to implement the new Delivery units with “Tribes” and “Squads” across all countries and businesses by the end of 2018. The overall objective is to introduce the OAWOW into the other three pillars in all ING countries by the end of 2020.

Nadine: For us here in Germany, the main focus at the beginning of the year was to get our local stakeholders on board. To this end, we conducted workshops with the Board and also sat down with the General Works Council. We developed approaches to working agilely together and advancing important decisions. That was another milestone. At the same time, the design for Delivery was developed, validated with the representatives of the specialist areas and thus finalised. The task now is to fill the new leadership positions and then start the detailed planning together. We expect Delivery and the first Support units to be converted in the summer of 2018. At the same time, we’re also starting the design phase for the Service, Sales and other Support units, with the aim of completing the conversion of all columns by summer 2019.

What is fun about working agilely?

 

Payam: We celebrate our successes. And my wife would say: Pay each other compliments, because it’s especially these little things that have a big effect!

Nadine: The “fun squads” provide the fun for working agile. They consider creative measures to keep the fun level constant and they ensure that the teams grow closer together. I’m also convinced that everyone who engages with the agile mindset will have a lot of fun. Of course, it takes courage, a dose of self-confidence and a certain amount of self-awareness. But it’s worth it! Working together on one thing and really being able to shape something is a lot of fun.
 

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