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  • 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report

Trying out agile collaboration: the “Agile Blueprint” initiative

Agility is an effective concept when it comes to focusing more strongly on customers and their needs, becoming faster, and seizing new opportunities for the company. That is why it is not only applied in IT at Deutsche Telekom, but also in other Group units.

The “Agile Blueprint” project provides initial help for all units wishing to adopt agile working.  Its key element is the Agile Compass. It describes a total of six dimensions the teams have to address in order to become more agile. The Compass formulates a potential target status for each of these dimensions and provides detailed step-by-step instructions to show how those objectives can be achieved. Interested units can also conduct an Agility Check to take stock of their current situation: Where do we stand and with which of the six dimensions should we start our journey toward greater agility? Various support offerings are available to everyone involved. They help them understand the concept, try things out, and solve challenges. These offers also include the 80/20 model: Since 2017, we have been using the 80/20 model to give our employees the opportunity to spend up to 20 percent of their working time on projects outside of their usual remit. This allows them to work with teams from other departments. In this way, we break up departmental silos and can make better use of the company’s broad spectrum of talent.

All the components of the “Agile Blueprint” project are developed together with Group units. We thus ensure that they can be applied and integrated in practice. For instance, we have designed and implemented the format “Agile Workshop” together with T-Systems. In this whole-day format participants learn more about the advantages of agile working, try out working independently, and share their ideas on the subject with each other.

HR plays a special role in implementing agility, acting as a partner and enabler. We therefore offer HR employees additional, more in-depth training tailored to their specific needs. They also include consultation hours, Deep Dive sessions, and sharing with experts.

Agile working at T-Systems

We also promote agile collaboration at T-Systems. The use of agile methods in day-to-day work is a basic requirement for that. Yet the organization must also be flexible enough to support constant change and shape interaction expediently. Crucial to this are managers who think in an agile manner and motivate and enable their employees to adopt this mindset. As a result, they lay the foundation for moving away from an introspective way of working (silo mentality) and toward a customer-oriented approach (client centricity). The Agile Hub plays an important part in that. It comprises HR and Business colleagues with many years of experience in an agile environment. The Agile Hub’s objective is to boost the transparency of agile initiatives and projects at the Group, enhance dialog within T-Systems and with the Group, and promote agile working by means of pinpointed expertise and advice.

In 2017, T-Systems became a partner of the diGAP (Good Agile Project Work in the Digitalized World) research project sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The three-year project is examining agile working in order to derive recommended actions for designing the working environment of agile teams and how they work together. T-Systems is implementing the “Development and practical test for scaling of good agile project work” project as part of this. Various workshops and interviews were held in 2018. The results will be incorporated in the research project in 2019.