Working in an agile way – increasing engagement and efficiency
The environment that we live in is constantly changing and the ability to adapt to these changes quickly is crucial for companies who want to be successful. We believe that being agile and having empowered people in the organization allows us to be more resilient and faster.
Our Arvato Financial Solutions Tech Center has been fostering an agile mindset and implementing agile way of working from the beginning. We understand that in the software development industry, product cycles are short and the requirements for a solution can change quickly – therefore it is necessary to be fast and flexible while maintaining efficiency.
Today we have teams in our organization that have been working as cross-functional Scrum teams for few years and in this case the main goal was to increase development efficiency by having more engaged team members in the team. To achieve that, it was important to give end to end responsibility for the product to the team themselves. In the past maintenance, quality assurance and development teams were working in their own silos and only having responsibility for a small part which resulted in lacking the focus on a bigger picture. In addition, there was not much collaboration between software development, service and product management.
To move away from that it was necessary to break up the silos, have more responsibility over a product in the development team and increase collaboration with other departments like service and product management. The responsibility of the product now meant the whole lifecycle of a product, which included maintenance, refactoring, new feature development, testing and release/rollout. This also meant that the role of a Software Engineer became broader as we were moving towards a T-shaped Software Engineer role, who has wider range of knowledge in different technologies/fields but is specialized in a certain area. These cross-functional teams can be more flexible and decide on their own how to divide the responsibilities/tasks in the team. All the cross-functional teams also have a dedicated Product Owner who brings the business requirements and gives priorities, and Scrum Master who supports in agile and team development.
Working in an agile way has its benefits, especially if you need to be able to adapt quickly in a changing environment. From our experience we can highlight that having a common goal increased commitment and transparency as the whole team is responsible for the whole lifecycle of the product and therefore team members are also more connected to the outcome of their work. Since the cross-functional teams have a wider responsibility, they also have more freedom and flexibility in how they organize their work – this empowers people and fosters self-organizing teams. We acknowledge that the best decisions are made by people who have the information and competence for it and can be therefore much more flexible and faster. A big benefit is also an increased overarching collaboration with other teams and departments. Enhanced collaboration and communication within the teams and other departments/roles enables to work together more efficiently and achieve even greater results.