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“We are on a journey”

Our colleagues in Vienna are a step ahead and show us how it works: in August, Operations and Customer Service were merged into a Super Circle and converted to the agile working model. How’s it going?

What is one of the advantages of a global group? You can learn from one another. Precisely in line with agile principles, it isn’t necessary to reinvent the wheel if there are already functioning examples from other ING units, upon which you can build. This is exactly how ING Austria has been thinking. Following the conversion of the delivery units in March, ING brought outside help to Praterstrasse: an expert team from Amsterdam, which had drafted the reference model, and colleagues from HypING – a unit, which since 2016 is responsible for the real estate financing business in the Netherlands. The goal: to become familiar with the local circumstances and to develop a design for Sales & Service with the local transition team.

Learning by doing


The best way to learn something is by giving it a go. As such, the colleagues in Vienna didn’t wait for the transition to start with agile working; instead, they structured their preliminary work in accordance with agile principles. “As early as March we had defined a schedule up to the transition, worked in sprints and scrutinised our progress in retrospectives. We attached the most important milestones to our portfolio wall and thus created transparency for everyone”, reports Ionut, who, as agile coach, is applying his experiences from the first phase to the preparations for Sales & Service. An important realisation: “Not everything needs to be perfect straight away. We are on a journey, in which agility is the route and not the destination”, says Ionut. In August, the organisation of Sales & Service was converted, since then the agile transformation has pressed forward, step by step.

It is there for everyone to see on the wall: what the goals are, what partial successes have already been achieved and where there are still snags. This transparency is well received by the employees. The daily standup meetings are open to all employees and their questions.

„It’s important to engage with the process and to communicate with one another a lot. After all, everyone is in the same boat and everything is new for management, too. “

Ionut, Agile Coach

Quick and painless


While Delivery works in Squads, Chapters and Tribes, the new units of Service & Sales are called Customer Loyalty Teams (CLT), Circles and Super Circles. “In the transition team, we drafted a design that is workable, and requires few compromises”, explains Roman, who is leading the new Super Circle Sales & Service, in which the former units Customer Service and Operations have been merged. “We had a tight timetable. Nevertheless, starting later wasn’t an option”, says Roman. He pointed out that the phases for the changes were challenging because they must run alongside the daily business.

Job talks were carried out with the roughly 60 employees of the former units Customer Service and Operations in order to define the best possible starting formation for the CLTs. In close cooperation with the transition team and the agile coaches, a framework was defined for competences, responsibilities and self organisation for teams and employees.

Sales & Services in Austria in the overview

  • Super Circle

    The Super Circles is the counterpart to the Tribes and unites the entire daily business.

  • Circles

    The Super Circle comprises two Circles, which are separated into Channels: Human Assisted Channel, formerly Customer Service, and the Circle Digital Channel, formerly Operations. In each Circle there are 3 Customer Loyalty Teams. For the Circle Human Assisted Channel, the focus is on end-to-end customer assistance without forwarding them onto the Digital Channel, in addition to the optimisation of customer contacts. The goal is to get from the service point to the sales point. Sales is also a focal point for the CLTs of the Circle Digital Channel.

  • Sister teams

    In the Circles there are sister teams. This means that in both Circles there is a CLT for the topic of investments. The sister teams sit together in order to encourage ongoing exchange.

  • Centre of Expertise Production Management

    The Circles are supported by the Centre of Expertise Production Management, which, for example, is responsible for the advancement of the CLTs and individual employees. The Training unit follows the development of service, technical and above all sales competencies within the Circles.

Next goal: Sales & Service 2.0


The increased autonomy is not a new concept for everyone. Daniela has been working without a team leader since a restructuring in Receivables Management. She has observed for some time, exactly how agile working functions: “The advantage is that in Austria we are a really small unit. As such, we can easily follow what happens with Delivery. Through Pizza Sessions and other events, we always stay on the ball. We had also worked with our coaches previously. As such, everyone had time to get to grips with the agility concept.”


Roman adds: “In the long term, we want to unite the Circles and the Channels, so as to realise total, end-to-end customer advice.” What tips does Vienna have for Germany? Ionut gives a summary: “It’s important to engage with the process and to communicate with one another a lot. After all, everyone is in the same boat, and everything is new for management, too. It takes time for routines to develop and change is a gradual process. In other words: the journey is the goal.”

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