ANZ plans massive Agile transformation

Shift to smaller, self-directed teams across Australian operations

ANZ uses Agile for around a fifth of its tech projects, and now the bank’s CEO wants to spread the approach throughout its Australian operations.

ANZ’s chief executive, Shayne Elliott, today announced the plan to employ Scaled Agile across the bank’s Australian division with the hope of boosting efficiency and helping the organisation respond more quickly to changing customer expectations.

“In the digital age, customer expectations are being redefined by their experiences with businesses like Amazon and Apple,” the CEO said in a statement released today.

“We need to break with some of the traditional 20th century approaches to organising and working to ensure we are more responsive to 21st century customer expectations.

“Moving to implement the agile approach at scale in our business is an important evolution in how we run ANZ which will allow us to respond much more quickly to customer needs, create higher staff engagement and make further improvements in efficiency.”

The transformation program will see the bank shift to a less hierarchical organisation, relying on small, autonomous teams.

“Our agile-based transformation will initially be focussed on the Australia division,” Elliott said. “Building on our pilot projects, we plan to launch it at scale within the business in early 2018.”

The bank’s Agile transformation will be led by Kath Bray. Bray is managing director, products, at the bank and is also the executive who has overseen the rollout of Apple Pay at ANZ. ANZ is the only one of Australia’s Big Four banks to offer Apple Pay (an application to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission by the other major banks that would have let them form a cartel to negotiate over Apple Pay was recently rejected by the competition watchdog).

Bray will report to Fred Ohlsson, ANZ group executive Australia.

Scaled Agile “is a completely different approach to running our business based on a proven model that will allow us to respond much faster to changing customer expectations, engage our staff and attract new talent, and reduce waste and bureaucracy,” Elliott said.

“We have already been evolving in this direction with around 20 per cent of technology and digital projects currently delivered using the Agile approach.”

ANZ today announced a statutory profit after tax of $2.9 billion for the six months ended 31 March – up 6 per cent on the prior comparable period – and a cash profit of $3.4 billion (up 23 per cent).

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