Introducing an agile way of working

As a digital business, Miele X operates in an environment that’s constantly evolving. This means we need to be adaptable and collaborative in everything we do. That’s why we decided to adopt agile working across the whole business.

We talked to Lígia Caricatto, our Agile PMO about introducing agile working and how it benefits Miele X. Originally from Brazil, Lígia worked with PwC in her home country, before moving to the Netherlands, where she’s worked for Liberty Global, Tele2, Heineken, Philips and now Miele X.

Lígia has worked in project management for 14 years and she explains what makes agile working different. “Traditional project management involves the waterfall approach,” she says. “This is linear and sequential – you spend so much time planning, then developing, then implementing and it’s only at the end that you add some value to the business.”

In contrast, she says, agile working such as Scrum or Kanban, focuses on adding value faster. “With agile methodologies we aim to generate value as soon as possible and have short feedback loops with stakeholders and users,” she says. “This involves a mindset change. We focus more on individuals and interactions, adding value as soon as possible, increasing collaboration and being able to respond to changes.”

Adopting the Scrum approach

Lígia outlines that Miele X has adopted the Scrum approach. “It’s a lightweight framework that’s easy to understand, but can be more challenging to implement,” she says, “because it relies on a change of mindset, away from the Waterfall approach.”

She explains that Scrum involves working in Sprints within afixed period of time. “In the Operational Excellence and Information Management Team at Miele X, , we have two-week Sprints,” she says. “So, at the start of the two weeks, the team meets to plan what they’re going to do in the Sprint. Instead of holding big meetings at set milestones, you have a quick 15-minute meeting each day to align on progress towards the Sprint goals. Then, at the end of the Sprint, we have a review to present the work created. And after the review, we have a retrospective, where we look at the Sprint critically, identify what areas to improve and take action to apply it next time.”

The benefits for Miele X

For Lígia, the advantage of this approach for Miele X is that it allows the teams to inspect and adapt in short cycles. “We need to be able to listen to our customers and stakeholders and adapt rapidly,” she says, “and agile working allows teams to be flexible and adapt their plans according to what brings most value.”

She also believes agile working gives the teams a more collaborative framework to work in. “The teams can be self-managing. This gives them more say in what they do and how they do it. It also means people are valued for their expertise, which brings them closer together. And because teams track their work and progress using online boards in JIRA, this gives more transparency, too.”  As our teams at Miele X are full of experts from different backgrounds and industries, this approach help us leverage this expertise fully.

Agile working also aligns closely with Miele’s Immer besser philosophy, she says. “The short cycles of feedback enable improvement and allow the business to respond fast to changes”.

Training the whole business

Miele X have invested a lot in training everyone in the business in Scrum and JIRA, so they understand the new agile approach. “This has already resulted in 21 Certified Scrum Masters to support teams in adopting the framework,” says Lígia. “So, they’ll be Scrum ambassadors across the organisation.” She’s the Scrum Master for her own team and is supporting other teams, to help develop their Scrum Masters and adopt the Scrum framework.

“We’ve also had a foundation training session for people who will be involved in agile working, but won’t necessarily need official certification,” she adds. “And JIRA training for people to get used to the new tool and way of working.” And she points out that they’re also creating relevant documentation and guidelines.

Lígia says she’s never seen a company introduce agile working and train everyone in it. We are working with two great partners for the training, EpicAgility for Agile/Scrum and Nobleprog for Jira. “People who have worked with Scrum and JIRA before have said they didn’t really understand it all, but they do now because of our training,” she says. “Training everyone at the same time means we have a strong foundation of knowledge. I really like this approach.  ”It is amazing to see the engagement of all Miele X colleagues on this journey and nothing would be possible without the support and sponsorship from the management team.

Key to our success

Lígia believes agile working fits in well at Miele X because it’s about changing mindsets and adopting a different concept. She says although some Miele X teams had used it before, there’s always room for improvement.  But she explains that everyone will be using JIRA by April 2022 and she already believes it’s helping her own team: “I can already see a lot of improvements in team synergy and transparency,” she says. “I think the improvements for the whole business will be clear to see in the future”.

“We’ll have continuous retrospectives and reviews, so there will be constant improvement,” she says. “As a digital company, Miele X needs to adapt quickly to changing requirements. Working in an agile way really helps with that. It’s key to our success.”

Miele X is a business that is constantly evolving and growing, working with our HQ and markets to create an exciting digital future for Miele. Find out how you can be part of our agile working culture.  Take a look at our latest opportunities.

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