Customer needs change all the time - we went agile to keep up

Asgeir Mjösun, Head of Agile Transformation & Product Leadership.
18-09-10 12:30 | About Nordea | The Digital Hub

Here, Asgeir Mjösund, Head of Agile Transformation and Product Leadership, explains how and why we have been changing into the Agile way of working.

We state that Nordea is going Agile. Can you describe what this means in a couple of sentences?

"Agile as the name suggests is all about being flexible, adaptable and fast moving. It is about delivering new products and services to our customers faster by focusing on smaller, incremental deliveries that instantly add value to our customers; we now talk about two-week sprints when we earlier discussed three- or six-month projects. It’s about listening to and working with our customers, learning from them and quickly adjusting to their needs. To make this possible, we create small teams with the right set of competences and empower our employees to make decisions quickly to help deliver value to our customers." 

What can this mean for our customers?

"Our customers will see new products and services becoming available more frequently. Additionally, as we work even closer to our customers, these new offers will better match their wants and needs. Customers are really starting to see the benefits of the Agile setup, with the launch of new mobile payment solutions, a new mobile banking app, and instant onboarding solutions, among many other things." 

As an organisation what would you say is the biggest challenge in changing our work processes?

"It’s really difficult to break old structures and habits and to change the culture and mindset of a whole organisation. To truly become agile, we need to do all of this in parallel. When doing this within Nordea, we are naturally also interacting with processes and units which are not set up for agile ways of working. This makes collaboration less efficient here in the beginning, but we knew this from the start, and we have made great progress in these areas." 

Why is this a necessary step to take would you say? 

"We are living in an unpredictable, volatile world where everything is changing at an increasing pace. To meet the challenges and demands of this fast-paced environment, we need to deliver new, relevant, products and services to market in much shorter time frames. We also need to be working very closely to the customer to make sure that we really understand their wishes and needs. Being Agile is our way of ensuring that we do just that." 

"Additionally, our employees really appreciate this way of working as it is easier to see how their everyday work creates value for our customers. Working agile creates empowerment and ownership and with this comes a huge amount of energy. It also sees colleagues collaborating in cross functional teams, which is a great opportunity for them to grow and develop professionally. Agile is important for creating an enjoyable and rewarding work environment and for keeping and attracting talent. "

What has been the reactions to the new ways of working?

"Having worked in the agile teams and environment for a few months, our colleagues are really expressing their support for the agile transformation. Given the mentioned magnitude of this change, we have naturally had some start-up issues as well, but we are constantly removing these and improving our efficiency and effectiveness. It is truly great to see how teams and individuals point out improvement opportunities and come with proposals – really taking ownership of our transformation and contributing to its success. I believe the biggest happiness factor for many has been to see that we now are able to deliver more to our customers and that the things we develop and launch really are the things our customers appreciate."

/Asgeir Mjösund – Head of Agile Transformation & Product Leadership. 

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