New working methods at Deutsche Telekom
Agility – to some, just a buzzword – but for us, it’s one of the digital age’s competitive advantages.
With agile working, we benefit from our employees taking on the responsibility themselves, being more motivated to collaborate across different functions with a common goal in mind: satisfying our customers’ needs even better than before and getting them involved in the development process.
What is agile working?
Agile working is not a new invention. Agile methods have been used in the manufacturing sector ever since 1990. Multi-functional teams were used to guarantee speedy product development and production processes. These working methods were introduced in software development around the time of the new millennium. The “agile manifesto” described how the benefits of more flexible and lean processes could be applied to software development.
Today we view agility as a more holistic approach. It revolves around flexibility and a company’s ability to adapt quickly to suit changing market conditions and customer needs. And that's where Deutsche Telekom comes in.
Agile working at Deutsche Telekom
Conforming to the market
It all sounds simple, but in practice it can often involve many hurdles and obstacles. Especially important to us – besides being able to react quickly to changing market conditions – is keeping the benefits for our customers in focus. Especially in terms of the digital transformation.
That’s why our agile teams are working on developing a joint understanding of the objectives, focusing on results rather than processes. We are open, pioneering new ideas and working together on the basis of mutual respect. We work as a team, beyond the limits of individual departments. It is down to the managers and employees to get engaged in this culture change. It involves being brave and addressing what’s not working, and opening up to possible failure.
You will of course be familiar with scrum, SAFe, and kanban methods, which we also use. We at Deutsche Telekom have even gone a step further and developed our own agile framework. The Agile Compass, encompassing all dimensions, from employees to alternative organizational structures, new forms of management, through to the use of tools, is significant in facilitating Deutsche Telekom’s digital transformation.
Results are soon visible thanks to reviews and retrospectives. Feedback enables us to quickly implement adjustments and improvements.
Agile working methods of course also require higher levels of interaction, communication, and responsibility from all those involved, Our employees value the opportunity for self-directed working in flexible working environments.
Practical example: Agile working at Telekom IT
Telekom Deutschland offers consumers and business customers everything from a single source. The Germany operating segment entails all the activities of the fixed-network and mobile business in Germany.
The goal is to provide seamless access, regardless of whether our customers are at home or on the go, no matter which device they're using. To accomplish this, Deutsche Telekom is continuously investing in network expansion.
Deutsche Telekom is also one step ahead when it comes to mobile communications, offering its customers outstanding network quality, combining excellent network coverage and security with top voice quality and fast data connections.
In addition to classic fixed network and mobile rate plans, products also include MagentaEINS (convergent product based on fixed and mobile components) and MagentaTV (TV service), for example.
Alongside consumers, services for Deutsche Telekom’s business customers also represent an important offering from Telekom Deutschland. The focus is on standardized telecommunications products and solutions, as well as user-friendly cloud services with a wide selection of integrated partner products.
At Telekom Deutschland, we want to place a greater focus on our customers and improving the customer experience. Although we are the market leader, there are still some unsatisfied customers. We want to change that. We want to become simpler, faster, and offer even better quality.
In order to meet our aspirations, we are increasingly relying on agile methods:
We use leanprocesses and are strengthening cross-functional collaboration between all specialist departments.
We offer a simple and consistent product portfolio. We create clear interfaces between IT systems and work with state-of-the-art technologies.
We deliver high quality products and create added value for our customers.
We realized that established methods had in some instances reached their limits. That’s why we created eight different tribes. We are focusing here on the following principles:
WE WORK IN TRIBES
Tribes are cross-functional teams uniting colleagues from the technology, IT, and business sectors.
The tribes are responsible for their product, from development to operation. This also applies to continuous product improvements.
What holds true for the tribes’ when working: get out of the silo. Results and experiences are not only shared within the tribe, but also between different tribes.
Long, protracted decision-making processes are out. With cross-functional teams, we are cutting down on redundant interfaces. Each team member knows their scope for decision-making – and they use it too.
Edgar, VP Agile Chapter
„We have the opportunity to support scaled agile working methods, try out new approaches, and as a result, shape Deutsche Telekom's transformation. It's all to do with promoting the scrum concept, as well as increasing individual responsibility within the teams. So if you enjoy lifelong learning and strive for ongoing development – not just for yourself, but those around you too – and are passionate about driving change, then Deutsche Telekom is the right place for you. Come along with us on the agile journey and help us change things sustainably!“
Umut, Agile Coach
„My ambition is to provide constant support in the agile transformation and to establish sustainable change. The focus of my work lies in sustainably improving the team's performance for the long-term. In a product and working world which is becoming more and more complex, I help my colleagues establish new working methods which support them in reducing this complexity in a controlled manner as well as reflecting on their working methods and adapting them at regular intervals.“
Christin, Head of the Agile TD program
“For me, the main thing is that everyone is fully invested and that we bring together experts from all of the units. This greatly reduces the number of interfaces and helps us improve our workflows. On top of that, with agile working methods and two-week sprints, you can soon see the results of your own work, and therefore what you’ve contributed for customers. Personally, I think it’s a lot of fun and it makes me happy to work together to delight our customers.”
Ralf, Head of Digital Factory
“If you personally find hierarchy, organization, and fixed structures important above all, then I’m afraid agile working is probably not for you. But if you enjoy taking part and helping to shape a company’s journey to agile working, one that has just begun, this is probably the best place you can be right now."
Carmen, Scrum Master within the “Digital Touchpoints” tribe
“Whether on a small or large scale, in my role as a scrum master, I go ahead, remove any obstacles from our path, bring in new methods and approaches, and ensure that my team can work efficiently."
Practical example: Agile working at Telekom IT
Telekom IT designs, develops, and operates Deutsche Telekom’s IT systems. In order to be able to meet our customers’ needs without delay, Telekom IT relies on agile working methods. This ramps up the teamwork much more than if traditional work methods are used. Each individual bears more responsibility for the result and can really make a difference with their contribution.