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Q&A with Arie Van Bennekum

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Arie Van Bennekum, Co-author of the Agile Manifesto


How could you describe your career path in few words?


My career started in the health care. After this I switched to the army and January 1, 1987 I started as a developer. In 1994 I decided I did not want to work anymore in waterfall environments because of the vast, waste of time, waste of money and not being able to deliver any value being just one little chain in the middle of that process. I started experimenting with my first steps in what we call Agile today using practices as time boxing, heart beats, prototyping and visual management. I have always been working on full delivery, all disciplines working together to get a solution that delivers value and is accepted by all stakeholders.


What were the highlights of banking transformations in 2022? Can you give us some major examples?


I can not mention any specific highlight. What we see is that most organisations are working some sort of Agile or are in transform action. The need for responding to change (market and technology) is pushing this forward. At the same time I see the struggle, especially of older and established organisations to really transform. Old habits and paradigms are strong and often hindering real transformation.


In your opinion, what are the transformation axes that are becoming more important for banks in the context of 2023?


The axis are response time and (new) services in the digital environment. Technology is offering new opportunities every day and when late, competition will be on time. Together this brings the urge to bring people together in a collaboration mode that covers all disciplines (stakeholders) in the organisation to be sure any development can go into operations without any delay.


Based on your recent experiences, and if you have one piece of advice to give for the success of transformation projects, what would it be?


It is about understanding the level below “doing different”. It looks easy to apply some Agile practices in the daily routine of teams and organisations. Real change however, the bring the benefits you are looking for, is below this level really facilitating the practices. Think about face2face collaboration and making sure people participate, decision making process that change and empowering the people to make those decisions, change documentation habits and adapting processes and standards, etc. Because people will work in a different way, they will do things they have not done before.This means when things are not working well, they don’t have the answers yet. The risk is bringing in old solutions. I call this inner aging backward and that is what often happens.

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