ANZ use Agile in “biggest change to date”

Australia’s third-biggest banking group, ANZ, has adopted Agile as part of their ‘New Ways of Working’ (NWOW) programme. It has so far been applied to the 600 people in their Talent & Culture (T&C) division and is part of a wider improvement in team organisation for the company.

Robert Marchiori, general manager, group transformation at ANZ, ultimately hopes that other divisions within the bank will also take on Agile practices, aiming for finance and risk to be next in the NWOW set up.

“Squads” and “tribes”

Marchiori spoke of how when dividing up the teams, he had created “squads” and “tribes”. Commenting at the Agile Australia conference in Sydney, Marchiori discussed how the organisation of teams using Agile had resulted in less “layers” throughout the company. He said that now, there is more of a direct link between juniors and heads in the business.

In further discussing Agile specifics at the conference, he said that each team does not use Agile in the same way, for example, the T&C team doesn’t use the software in the same way as the technology “squad”.

“The methodology that they use underneath… they’re not going to be necessarily doing Scrum or Lean per se,” he commented. The general manager continued: “They also have operational functions, which are in squads but they’re using obviously more Lean than Agile, because they’re based on queues and things like that.”

It’s not just about the tech

Marchiori really emphasised the importance of the people when implementing new technologies into a company. In his speech, he said: “We took a very conscious decision to really focus on transforming our people first, because it’s the people that change the process and it’s the people that change the technology.”

However, he did also comment on using developing technology at ANZ by saying: “In the technology space, we’re really accelerating our work with cloud, our work with automated pipelines, and our work with enabling the squads to be able to do their work and trying to start that reduction of dependencies that we have built up from a very traditional model.”

A change in working culture

The bank’s executive talent and culture, Kathryn van der Merwe, posted on LinkedIn about the move to use Agile at ANZ. She spoke of how it was a huge shift in the working culture of the bank.

“So far we’ve tossed out the book on ANZ’s dress code, we’ve been supporting ANZ’s shift to new ways of working, we’re supporting our leaders to grow and thrive by introducing new ways to lead programs, and we’re making sure our people have access to the latest and greatest digital learning platforms,” she said in the post.

van der Merwe also said that by using Agile practices, the bank hoped to be able to give their employees a higher quality and quicker value in services.