Many traditional companies are looking with great interest at how innovative tech companies are organized. Even in banking, an industry that is known for being conservative, experiments are taking place with Agile Organization:
- multidisciplinary squads instead of functional teams,
- tribes instead of departments
- IT development and business management in close cooperation
- Continuous delivery of small changes (sprints) instead of big projects
Lean Six Sigma has been applied in banking for more than a decade. Many banks have their own pool of Lean Experts or LeanSixSigma Blackbelts. As Agile is based on similar principles as Lean and the Toyota Production System, this experience may be very valuable in this transition.
Agile organizations use Agile Coaches, to help the team in the use of the Agile and Lean principles. LeanSixSigma could add to that. For instance:
- Put focus on the Voice of the Customer. Challenge the Squads to determine and measure the customer impact of their work.
- Make sure the quantitative results of every sprint are visible
- Achieve alignment between squad missions, tribe purpose and company vision. This can be done through Hoshin Kanri – a method for policy deployment developed by Toyota and an important Lean method
- Accelerate problem solving by applying the Coaching Kata to the squads Improvement Kata, and by applying Analytical Problem Solving techniques from LeanSixSigma
The transformation of classical Back-Offices to Lean Super7 Operations has been an exciting journey so far. The transformation from a top-down functional organization to an Agile organization promises to be even more so.
Menno R. van Dijk.