Enrich your Agile Routine!

Read about how Maria, one of our external consultants, feels about working at the GDF, what she thinks and has learned in the last two years.
A lot has happened in the past two years at the Global Digital Factory - a lot has been ideated, built, launched and scaled. Read in this report what Maria Heiß, an external Senior Consultant from Deloitte Digital, has experienced during her work at the #AllianzGDF, what rules she has gathered, what mindsets work and what she has learned. 

About Maria:

  • Profession: Senior Consultant  
  • Expertise: Technology Strategy & Architecture
  • Company: Deloitte Consulting
  • Linkedin Profile
  • Position in the GDF: Senior Consultant & Scrum Master
So, let's see what Maria has to say:

Agile habits that work

Within around 2 years of existence, Allianz Global Digital Factory (GDF) has successfully built 24 global digital assets that have launched worldwide within the Group. GDF’S agile mindset and organization played a key role in the success. Having been involved as a Scrum Master in the Factory for a while now, I gathered some small and large rules, habits, approaches and mindsets that worked well for us while ideating, building, launching and scaling engaging customer experiences. Sharing is caring, so I hope that this small collection from our daily life can enrich your agile routine.

Agile is a constant improvement

While setting up Scrum ceremonies at the factory, we never focus on a perfect framework implementation. Instead, we pay the most attention to formation of suitable cross-functional teams, ability to concept, prototype and deliver best user experiences. Those teams are on-boarded and guided through the first couple of cycles with high attention to detail during reviews – controlled compliance to corporate standards in terms of, for example, coding and branding. 

Having first built compliant increments, the teams typically start to operate autonomously and are trusted to make decisions. 

Becoming fully empowered, the teams then continuously improve themselves with every single iteration. They start taking the most out of retrospectives and making their improvements measurable. 

Two Best Practice Tips:
Retrospectives. We never skip them at all levels and all stages of cooperation. We treat them as a powerful tool to become a better and more efficient organization.
Measured improvement. Do not only measured velocity or story points that matter. Teams also find it useful to measure, for example, requirements preparation throughput, meetings efficiency or simply a number of items “done” on the SMART actions checklist.

Product matters, perfect execution does not

A full focus on a product, not a project, is very important. When we build a prototype at the factory, we always try to zoom out and validate if our daily achievements are in line with our big business goals. There are several habits that help us with this: 

  • Frequent reviews of core goals. Preparing a sprint or grooming a backlog, we set high-level reminders of our ideation outcomes, customer needs research, user feedbacks, etc.

  • Active user tests. We support user tests, feedbacks, hallway tests during implementation, even if they bring change, require rework or increase the scope. Change is good, especially if users asks for it.

  • Team concentration on value delivery. We encourage all team members to focus on great user experience, not on task execution. Each team can achieve this in different ways. Some teams invent rules, for example, that every team member can challenge a product requirement or suggest a better asset behavior, if he or she believes that this would lead to a better user experience. Other teams invent awards, for example – Hero of the Sprint, to appraise creative contributions to the product. Product Owners also encourage teams greatly by creating a vision and portraying a satisfied customer.

Uncertainty is a driver, not a blocker

At factory we prefer "it is defined to my best current knowledge" to analysis paralysis. This mindset allows us to not only progress steadily, but also to think through all possible scenarios, constantly refining our solution and making it more stable. 

Generally, team members are encouraged to become comfortable with uncertainty and to learn taking risks of an error that might need to be fixed in future. This is crucial for progressing fast and flexibly. 

Apart from that, while tackling uncertainty the teams learn to build confidence brick by brick. They become good at prioritization and tackling blockers first, they use their individual and team time more efficiently by addressing an issue at a time and they learn to progress within dependencies and complexity.


You want to know more and get in touch? Connect here to Maria Heiß.

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