"I love Agile!"
Five letters that stand for change: OAWOW. Patricia has experienced it. She’s successful in working in an agile way. In Amsterdam, as an Agile Coach at ING, she’s there to help anyone who may have questions. In an interview, she explains why this is her dream job.
Patricia, you’re an Agile Coach with heart and soul. The One Agile Way of Working (OAWOW) has become part of your DNA. Here’s a cheeky question for you: why agile?
I love agile and I love OAWOW. For me, agility is a whole new way of working that’s fun and is already helping ING – and soon hopefully ING-DiBa – to be even more successful.
Ever since I came into contact with the topic for the first time five years ago, I’ve loved it.
I just think that OAWOW suits us best. A networked, collaborative world of thought and work brings us forward. And the many new tools and accessories for everyday working create flexibility and encourage creativity. That’s how I like to work.
But there are some who say that agility is just a trend. What do you say to those sceptics?
Of course, I’m aware of those critical voices. But when it comes to agility, only those who – despite all scepticism – really want to be agile, can be successful in OAWOW. I’m not trying to convert everyone. That doesn’t work.
How does it work, then?
In the end it’s important that everyone – whether employees or external – wants to be agile of their own accord. While studying and working at ING I had a dance school where I taught older ladies to dance. Agility is like dancing: it only works if you’re committed.
History of Agile Work
The first discussions on Agile Work were established by the US-IT-specialist Winston Royce, who published a thesis-paper on the estbalishment of agile software systems.
The „Agile Manifesto“ is the birth hour of the Agile Way of Working. in 2001 17 reknown software developer published a series of paradigms. In the beginning it aimed to find better ways to develop software.
A group of informatics, leaded by Alistair Cockburn and Jim Highsmith, converted the manifesto into principls for project management and frees the agile way of working from the IT-context.
In this year the Agile Alliance, a global not-profit-organisation, compiles an Agile Glossary. The list is a continously updating open-source.compendium of agile processes, facts and elements. It is also a reference work for all interested in agile work.
The IT in the ING Netherlands starts first agile moves.
The first ING-Unit in the Netherlands begins with the change-over – and starts its way in the agile future.
The ING-DiBa implements the Agile Way of Working.
Wow, and how did you yourself find Agile?
Good question. I was a Product Owner in Investment at ING in Amsterdam. In that context, I happened to meet an Agile Coach five years ago. And it fascinated me. I wanted to work like him and develop other people. When I talked to my boss at the time about the fact that I might want a career change, he advised me to wait a little. A few weeks later, the job vacancy was there. I applied and got the job. And since then, that’s all I’ve been doing. It’s my dream job.
Why are Agile Coaches important?
That’s actually quite simple: Agile Coaches help employees learn how to do their job by themselves. This may mean that the Agile Coach is available to answer questions or solve conflicts. They also sometimes take on the role of teachers in work techniques such as Scrum and Kanban. In addition, the Agile Coach is something like the ambassador of OAWOW. That’s not always easy.
There’s a big gap between the old world and the new one, which some people associate with fear. How can fears be overcome?
Yes, it’s not easy to say goodbye to old habits. And it’s not enough just to introduce new software and rebuild offices into co-working spaces. Intensive support is required during the transformation processes. And that’s what the Agile Coaches do. All employees should be involved in the change.
Okay, but how do we manage to master all the challenges and take everyone with us?
Talking to each other again and again, gaining an understanding of the individual and not being discouraged. Of course, that’s a lot for each individual in the beginning, but we can do it. It’s worked in Amsterdam. OAWOW can only work if everyone is on board.