Agile is a mindset, a philosophy, a way of seeing things, it is a new way of thinking. It is an art, not a science. The point is about evolving, changing, developing and adapting to circumstances. Something you are, not something you do. Have a look how A1 Croatia does it!
Agile management represents various methodologies/frameworks that have been influenced by an iterative approach. Agile methodologies are open to changing requirements over time and encourage constant feedback from the end customers. Cross-functional teams work on iterations of a product, and this work is organized into a backlog that is prioritized based on business or customer value. The goal of each iteration is to produce a working product.
In agile methodologies, leadership encourages teamwork, accountability and face-to-face communication. Business stakeholders and developers must work together to align the product with customer needs and company goals. Methodologies that are used to implement agility are Scrum, Kanban, Lean, Extreme programming etc.
Agile in A1 Croatia
As we want to learn constantly from each other and share best practices throughout our A1 Group, Iva, working at the PR department at A1 Croatia, did some research and talked to Ivana Mandušić Hrupački from the Digital Transformation office who is coordinating more than ten agile teams currently working on different projects. Here is, what she found out:
»The first agile teams were defined in May 2017. We wanted to try different approaches and a new mindset for extremely important products that we had to develop at that time. We learned that agility could give our teams an open mindset and help them go the extra mile; getting to know the needs of the customers more in-depth and thus providing a better experience for them. Additionally, the teams are able to self-organize and focus on the extremely important E2E ownership,« Ivana pointed out.
»In the end, we learned that it was the right move –
out-performed all expectations!«
»For now, all teams are working on products or processes that are part of our digital transformation program. Since the main goal of the transformation is to digitalize ourselves as a company and to enhance our customers’ digital experience, we found that implementing the agile Scrum methodology was a perfect fit,« said Ivana.
What did we learn so far?
We have spoken with a few of our agile team members to share with us what they have learned so far, how is it different from working in traditional business environments and if there is some place for improvements.
»This was not our first agile »ride«, therefore we are a (happy) team already used to working in this mode. However, we still do remember the »old«, waterfall way of working where it often happened that e.g. the concept creator wanted to develop A, customer wanted B, and due to technical limitations we got C. This intense and simultaneous collaboration that enables quality and human-centered product development is the key difference.«
»We have learned that a mistake, when done in the early phase of product development is great! It gives us valuable information for the next iteration of development process before a lot of time and money is spent. Also, including end customers into the development process from the very beginning enables us to create a product that brings great value to them.«
»Iterative approach, faster delivery results, focused and dedicated teams and finally – increased satisfaction of the team in the end. We have learned how to build trust in ourselves, take responsibility, act and learn outside the strict frame of the job description.«
»Firstly, we have learned to really listen to customers and each other, react to feedback and focus on developing things that really matter. Secondly, we’ve learned to think outside of the box and communicate better. We are constantly asking ourselves »what do we want to achieve if we do this or that?«, “what we did learn from this and what can we do differently?«
»In agile teams everything is about strong focus on one project and it is impossible not to think about every detail in advance from different angles. From the beginning of the product development process in daily meetings you get feedback from other team members and end customers about some things that you weren’t even aware of and you solve them immediately.«
We have learned that being a part of an agile team means that we are self-organizing, we have great freedom in decision-making but also great responsibility for the final result. This is why, throughout the project, we are continuously working to improve the process, and ourselves and we would highly recommend it to other colleagues, if they have a possibility to take a chance and work agile!
»We have many plans. Firstly, we would like to introduce agile@scale. This requires changes in numerous processes and how we do things today, e.g. performance management of the relevant teams, procurement with vendors, standardizing new roles such as scrum master etc. At the same time, we are developing a concept of coaches for new teams that would be our current product owners and scrum masters. Lastly, but not less important, we are constantly working on awareness and education through our Digital Academy, a digital skills educational program,« said Ivana.