19-06-2023 09:00

Agile and empowered

Did you know that we’re working agile in big parts of the bank to ensure that we always focus on what matters the most for our customers? Over the years, Nordea has worked intensely to improve the digital experience and ensure ways of working where we never lose sight of the customer.
Colleagues brainstorming ideas for project

When the agile way of working became known as a method that often delivers better digital results than traditional project management methods, it gained momentum at Nordea too. Thus, in 2014 Nordea’s IT and business organisations were gathered under one roof in what is now called the ‘One Digital’ organisation. All aspects of engineering, QA, Design & Customer Experience, Agile execution and product management were brought together to collaborate more closely to achieve a better customer experience.

There were bumps on the road, but the momentum continued. And before long the approach started to broaden across Nordea. The Scaled Agile methodology was adopted as the way we work for large initiatives, and we offered common learning programmes for all colleagues embarking on the agile journey.

Jacob Svendsen, Head of One Digital Office.

As the approach expanded, our ways of working needed to be synchronised across the company. We now work with projects in a common cadence and have aligned our agile roles.

More than 5,500 colleagues have joined (Scaled) Agile learning programmes to strengthen skills in this area. In 2022 alone, 773 Nordea employees joined a Scaled Agile programme (3% of the total workforce). Over 100 Agile teams and Agile Release Trains are operating across the bank, ranging from Marketing to Business as well as IT teams, often collaborating cross-functionally towards a common goal.

“Our years of persistence in ways of working have yielded remarkable results, including the successful consolidation of 46 fragmented digital platforms into a single, state-of-the-art Nordic-scale platform for web and mobile, catering to all countries and most market segments. With an impressive record of over 120 million logins per month, we take immense pride in our achievement and are grateful for the acknowledgment of our Nordic mobile banking app, which is one of the top ranked in the region,” says Jacob Svendsen, Head of One Digital Office.


What is:

Scaled Agile: An international agile framework that Nordea has adopted to support working in an agile way across large organisations.

Agile Team and Roles: A development team of typically up to 10 people who work in an agile/iterative way towards a customer goal, each team member having clear roles and responsibilities.

Agile Release Trains: A team of teams working in an agile way towards a common goal. Typically, it’s a virtual organisation of 50 to 150 people who work and collaborate cross-functionally to deliver a customer solution.

Agile Pulse: A quarterly survey sent to all teams working in an agile way across Nordea to get feedback on their engagement and identify ways to get even better as a team.


Teams feel empowered

Rene Huijben, Strategic Capability Lead for Ways of Working.

The journey towards business agility moves forward as we continue to focus on improving our customer experience ever further. Our agile approach allows us to coordinate our efforts across the many teams towards a common purpose, while empowering each team to address their challenges. 

”Our common ways of working have enabled us to speak one language across Nordea and allow us to focus on adding value to our customers rather than focusing on understanding each other. We follow our agile teams engagement through the quarterly Agile Pulse survey and see growth across our teams on the sense of autonomy, mastery and purpose, which is something to be proud of,” says Rene Huijben, Strategic Capability Lead for Ways of Working.

Nordea’s journey to business agility

In the late 1990s Nordea was already a digital leader with the first Netbank and a WAP mobile solution in 1999. As Nordea and our digital experience grew,  it unfortunately became more fragmented. We ended up serving our customers in over 10 different netbanks and started to lag behind the market – we hadn’t put enough effort on the mobile experience.  

As the world around us continued to change rapidly, Nordea decided it needed to change and adapt with it. In 2014, Nordea decided to create the Digital Banking Organisation as a “bank within a bank” to champion the new Nordic digital experience.

To support our ability to respond to change, Nordea embarked on a journey to become more agile and started to experiment with applying Scaled Agile methods to replace the traditional project management model. The aim was to address low line of sight on transparency in projects and the first results looked promising on a small scale.


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