Our experience shows that agile methods are the best way to future-proof your business. The bigger and more traditional a company is, the more difficult it appears to be to make the jump to an agile way of working. Our collaboration with the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) has once again proved that it’s possible.
Traditional companies usually work hierarchically according to a fixed plan. The management makes the decisions; the teams make them happen. Employees are judged less by the value that their work creates than by how well they implement the plan. But the market is changing and technology advancing, and even traditional companies need to adapt their services and working methods if they want to be ready for the future.
Agility as a mindset
It’s particularly important to view agility not as a process within the company, but as a mentality, which requires changes to the values and principles of the entire organisation, along with a lived cultural transformation. Together with SBB, we developed the following principles:
Create value – creating value for the customer is more important than sticking to a plan!
Take responsibility – for your promises and decisions. Support change – learn from your experiences and be open to change!
Work together – teamwork is key! – Business and IT on the same team.
Keep it simple – be proud of leaving out what’s not necessary!
These principles can be used to measure any change that we introduce into the company. They shape the attitude and behaviour of every individual and are part of a vision for agile transformation: ‘Collectively creating value for customers – more quickly, more accurately and more efficiently.’
Agility during the change process
Even the transformation itself was carried out in an agile manner. For SBB, we divided the desired changes into annual and quarterly goals up to 2020. We created small work packages for the current and subsequent quarters. The teams will implement these work packages and present them to their fellow employees at the end of the quarter. Thirty people came to the first demo day; by the second, there were 400! An agility index makes progress visible and provides feedback for further planning.
Want to find out more?
During our talk at the conference Agile Bodensee Stefano Trentini, Transformation Lead & Member of the IT Board, and our Mischa Ramseyer explaining the background to SBB’s transformation. Enjoy!