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Agile Working

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

We can deal better with complex market environments and constant change.
Risikominimierung

Minimizing risks

We are minimizing risks through continuous assessment, learning, and adaptation.
Schnelligkeit

Speed

We are getting our solutions and products to the customer faster.
User Centricity

User centricity

We are increasing product acceptance and customer satisfaction with customer-centric development processes.

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.

The stopwatch is a useful tool for working together in a concentrated and focused manner on the issues.

The stopwatch is a useful tool for working together in a concentrated and focused manner on the issues.

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:

SPEED

We use leanprocesses and are strengthening cross-functional collaboration between all specialist departments.

SIMPLICITY

We offer a simple and consistent product portfolio. We create clear interfaces between IT systems and work with state-of-the-art technologies.

QUALITY

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:

Tribes

Our scrum framework: the product owner and scrum master define themes with their team that are to be collected in the backlog and then processed successively in sprint cycles.

WE WORK IN TRIBES

Tribes are cross-functional teams uniting colleagues from the technology, IT, and business sectors.

END-TO-END RESPONSIBILITY

The tribes are responsible for their product, from development to operation. This also applies to continuous product improvements.

CROSS-FUNCTIONAL COLLABORATION

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.

INDEPENDENT DECISIONS

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.

Christin_Zörner

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

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_Geier

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."

We are currently seeking new staff members for the roles of agile coach, scrum master, and product owner. You should offer:

Agile coach requirements profile

Scrum master requirements profile

Product owner requirements profile

Are you an evangelist, catalyst, and trainer? Do you offer the following?

Do you like to set the framework, solve problems, and optimize?Do you offer the following?

Are you an entrepreneur, decision maker, and motivator? Do you offer the following?

  • Customer orientation, striving for continual improvement, visionary force
  • Experience in change management, coaching, and systemic organizational development
  • Employee development and conflict management skills
  • Experience as a product owner, scrum master and/or agile coach
  • Experience in the successful application of agile methods and frameworks
  • The ability to motivate, moderate, and guide a team
  • A proactive and self-motivated personality with a high-level of assertiveness
  • The ability, sensitivity, and frankness needed to take an objective position
  • Experience in agile working methods, as a scrum master, release train engineer, or a similar role
  • Knowledge of the scrum framework (roles, ceremonies, artifacts)
  • An entrepreneurial mindset and attitude with a clear focus on the customer, opportunities, and the return on investment
  • The ability to get cross-functional teams inspired about a product and provide functional management
  • Strength in the implementation of projects and the ability to operate using small steps (MVP)
  • Experience in agile product development or as a product owner, or in a similar agile role
  • Competency in product ownership methods: development of a product vision, business model development, prioritization methods, etc.


Telekom IT

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.

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