IMG 0767PMI event on September 18th, 2018

Speakers: Per Maagaard Petersen & Gitte Alding, PFA
Written by Nataliia Cherkashyna

On September 18th an interesting after-work presentation took place in PFA auditorium with Per Maadgaard Petersen and Gitte Alding. During the event, speakers presented the PFA's Agile vision and how the journey from a waterfall approach to scaled Agile is going for the company. The PFA, which is the 100 years old pension company, is the 5th largest company of the kind in Europe. When established, PFA focused goal was to bring safety to employees and their families, today an additional goal has been added: deliver agile innovation.

The speakers presented and discussed the importance of agile roles, roles of project managers and portfolio management in agile world.

The journey towards Agile that PFA has embarked in is now half-way, and its implementation has already achieved the following steps for the team:

  • Transition of ~300 employees to 32 cross-functional Agile teams, in 4 Agile trains. These four release trains (ART - Agile Release Trains) are the digital customer experience, pension & insurance, digitalization and data
  • The units in the organization are cross-functional and self-organizing, they deliver values every two weeks. The teams "pull" tasks efficiently from the portfolio and program layers

IMG 0770But becoming Agile is not only establishing the teams. In PFA the following business agile components  were also taken into consideration to establish a new working environment:

- Agile strategy execution

- Business development

- Scaled Agile development

- Agile commissioning

- Agile business operations

- Agile infrastructure

The presentation was of of big interest to the audience, and many questions to the speakers were raised. They included, among others, questions about SAFe, new roles distributions, and roles of project managers in particular.

The last one was addressed in the presentation in detail. Project managers carry out/facilitate key roles in the development processes in the following arrangement:

  • Epic owner, who “takes the role", is responsible for a larger business initiative (an Epic). Focuses on a value of the Epic in dialogue with PM, Portfolio and Business OwnersIMG 0772
  • Portfolio manager, who "assists the role", ensures maturity of strategic innovations, follows up on an execution of the value
  • Business Owner, who "represents the role", provides input to the mission, approves plans and objectives and decides the business value of the ART initiatives.

The PFA's Agile journey also includes a new way of prioritization. Instead of planning on when to do things, it is now planned on what needs to be done first. That means that details of prioritization are in focus since there has to be no doubt on what is most important for PFA.

While some of the Prince2toolbox is still is use when there is a specific need, the PFA's journey towards Agile is in the full speed. The mindset in an Agile organization is a break with traditional management and leadership.