The Agile Methodology is a way to plan and manage projects in a more flexible way in order to best respond to specific problems by moving the user's need at the core of the thinking process.
Today, this methodology is mostly used in IT and web development structures. However, more and more organizations are switching to the agile mode as it is adaptable to all types of projects.
At Thales Digital Factory, each project is based and developed using the Agile Methodology. The main goal is to develop and implement projects in constant improvement yet still following the initial specifications. This methodology notably allows to reduce the decision time, by team working within a 2 or 3-week objective in order to develop the project as quickly as possible.
But Agile is not only used at Thales Digital Factory. Within Thales, some engineering and operation teams have decided to switch to this new way of working.
This was the case of the Thales Netherlands’ Finance team: in order to optimize its work processes, the team decided to implement this methodology for the first time within an administrative department in the organization.
David Hoogenraad, Manager Business Control at Thales Netherlands is responsible of all processes in operations for the Finance team in the Netherlands. He is part of a team of 16 people that supports the company in identifying and reducing financial risks.
Three years ago, David wanted to change and improve the Finance team’s efficiency in the Netherlands so he decided to implement the Digital Factory’s digital ways of working. With the help of Clara Juanes Vallejo, Culture Coach at Thales, he wrote and established the whole process from an employee’s point view and found out that there were a lot of discrepancies and duplicate actions within the team.
In 2019, the improvement phase and the implementation of the Agile Methodology began. They started with retrospective analysis at the end of every sprint about what what they had been able to do and what they had been struggling with. They were able to define specific and dedicated roles within the team – instead of the usual job function, defining the objectives of every team member and allowing them to touch at multiple things to reach their goal.
They ran pilots starting with a few finance processes, brainstormed ideas at the beginning of every sprint about how the process should be optimized. And they also used Kanban and dashboards, allowing them to finally focus on necessary and doable things (considering the timeframe). The Kanban method works on a system of cards or labels, called Kanbans, which correspond to a specific customer order. Those orders trigger the production line. These cards continuously indicate which tasks are to be carried out, when they are to be carried out, and which tasks have already been carried out.
“The Agile Methodology helped us to take ownership of our projects and to become truly accountable for our actions. This led to a complete change of mindset within the team and far more productivity than any inspiring manager could have achieved” explained David Hoogenraad.
Adopting Agile and Scrum Methodology within teams such as Finance, with different job families led to a change of culture to achieve more responsibility and ownership. This methodology also helped them with the recruitment process. In fact, this way of working is attractive and boosts a company’s appeal.
To conclude, Agile and Scrum Methodology allow employees and team members to be more independent, to work autonomously and to promote team productivity.