Leadership & Management71

Fostering Business Agility in the RBI Corporate Banking Community

Fostering Business Agility in the RBI Corporate Banking Community

Dr. Susanne Burgstaller, Boris Pelikan

May 22, 2019


The CEO of RBI announced his intention to turn his bank into an agile organization by 2021. An Agile Transition Team was set up in the COO board area. Currently 20 agile coaches are working there to help set up agile teams in the organization. The Agile methods and mindset were taken up readily and quickly by some board areas, while others were somewhat slower in understanding the value of Agile. During this period the strategy unit was working on a new Vision-Mission-Values statement for the whole banking group.

In March 2018 the Board Member responsible for Corporate in the head office in Vienna decided to address some of the issues he had identified in his board area. He also decided to address them in the form of an agile project. This was important not only to generate visible business impacts quickly, but also to avoid representing a constraint to the overall agility of the organization. The “Corporate Optimization Project” (COP) today has an impact on 16.1mln customers, and 47.000 staff members across 13 countries.

The Corporate BM decided to start with his own team– with the corporate board members in the various network banks, the heads of business in the RBI subsidiaries, and his division heads in Vienna. He summoned them in April and May 2018 in order to contract a joint vision and desired outcomes for what was named the “Corporate Optimization Project” and to set up an agile project structure spanning all business units and actors of group RBI. The project set-up involves:

  • a core team for coordination and steering of the overall outcomes (a Division head from Vienna, a BM from a Network Unit, and the Executive Assistant to the Corporate Board Member)
  • 4 workstreams with hosts and team members: drawing up an impact map for each workstream; defining a walking skeleton for identified priority areas, realizing 2-week sprints with clearly aligned outcomes for each sprint
  • bi-weekly alignment calls between the hosts and teams
  • integrating agile working methods into the governance structure of the project

During the Board Meetings in October and November 2018 the Workstreams identified “Minimum Viable Products” with small sub-teams to realize concrete outcomes.

Further principles of this agile transformation are:

  • fostering the “natural” business agility of the corporate community, utilizing what is already there
  • contracting for outcomes consistently
  • constant cadence of calls and meetings, staying on top of outcomes
  • building a community: getting BMs to talk to each other (instead of listening to presentations only), getting BMs to work with each other (instead of on local islands)
  • getting BMs to feel “agile working methods” on their own skin
  • expanding the understanding of agility on the part of all players a little more each time

About Boris Pelikan

Boris PelikanExecutive Assistant to the Corporate Board Member @ Raiffeisen Bank International

Boris Pelikan, Executive Assistant to the Corporate Board Member with Raiffeisen Bank International, substitute member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Co-Owner & Managing Partner of Tonspur PS OG.

Studies of Industrial Engineering and Performing Arts in Vienna.

International work experience as a General Manager in the manufacturing industry; joined Raiffeisen Bank International in 2013 as a Business Analyst and continued his way up the career ladder to the position of Executive Assistant.

Engineered and managed a comprehensive agile and adaptive optimization project in his current capacity.

About Dr. Susanne Burgstaller

Dr. Susanne BurgstallerManaging Director @ usolvit consultants GmbH

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