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Q&A with Anton Podokschik

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Anton Podokschik, Business Agility Expert.


How could you describe your career path in few words? 

I have a consulting background since 2010. Starting out as a technical consultant for intranet and extranet platforms, I have developed a strong focus on Business Agility and organizational development from 2013 with more than 10 years of experience in Agile transformations, having owned roles as Scrum Master, Release Train Engineer, Product Manager, Agile coach, Trainer, Change Agent, Transformation Lead or Transformation Office member. My experience is broad, with regards to organization levels, such as team, product, portfolio or leadership level, as well as Agility topics, such as Agile finance, Agile HR, Continuous Delivery Pipeline, Agile Architecture, Target Operating Model or Leadership and Culture. 

How do you think agile practices have transformed companies over the past two years? 

Companies transformed their entire organization, from HR, over finance up to Product Management. This means, every angle of the organization has been transformed and is applying any kind of Agile method or methodology.  Furthermore, Agile became a common way of working for most of the product companies worldwide, no matter the scale. Agility has also changed the companies’ culture, providing leadership transparency, psychological safety for an innovation culture and relentless improvement. This enabled most of the companies to establish transparency of their processes and ways of working, improve their collaboration and customer centricity, shorten the time to market, be adaptable to disruptive market changes and deliver their products with higher quality to their customers. Additionally, organization improved their retention rate, employee satisfaction and skill ratio. 

What successful cases of agile transformations have you had the opportunity to observe that have particularly stood out to you? 

A Swiss financial institution with a worldwide workforce of more than 29’000 employees underwent an Agile transformation, which was very large and therefore highly complex. Managing such a complex transformation was a very interesting experience. We started the worldwide transformation with a regional, yet large-scale pilot (3’000 employees). The duration of transformation pilot was three to five years. During that time we faced and resolved challenges on a smaller scale, having created and re-iterated a transformation best practices toolset. After the successful conduction of the regional transformation pilot we moved on to the global transformation. By installing a transformation governance model, consisting of a centralized transformation office and regional transformation teams, we could establish a centralized structure with decentralized decision making. Furthermore, we enabled the regional transformation teams with our library of the previously created transformation best practices. Finally, we established transformation enablers, who acted as an interface and bridge between the transformation office and the regional transformation teams. This lead to standardization of practices as well as high transformation pace. 


Will agile practices continue to generate interest? What challenges do you see in the context of deploying these practices? 

Agile ways of working have become a standard for most of today’s organizations. Those, who have not applied them yet, will follow in the next two to three years. The challenges we experience are, that companies just rush through their transformation but struggle to establish the understanding of Agile and the growth mindset among their workforces. This requires enablement, coaching and repetition of the Agile theory as well as adoption and application of the theory. In the end, we want to influence company culture and foster mindset shift. This takes time and patience. Furthermore, we observe, that organizations struggle to realize the real potential of Agile due to their obsolete and rigid infrastructure, which also requires renewal and transformation. Here, we know, that the cloud enables organizations to become more efficient and effective and realize the true potential of Agile. 

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