Telstra to begin transition to ‘Agile at scale’ from July

Telco’s teams to look to Agile, Human Centred Design, Lean and DevOps

From July this year Telstra plans to begin its largescale transition to an “Agile at scale” model, according to the telco’s HR head.

In a LinkedIn post published earlier this week, Alex Badenoch — Telstra’s group executive, transformation and people — said the telco had “embarked on a multi-year transformation” as part of its ‘Telstra 2022’ (T22) strategy.

“Not every team at Telstra will move to full-scale Agile ways of working, and some will use tools from across Agile, Human Centred Design, Lean and DevOps where it makes sense,” Badenoch wrote

Telstra CEO Andy Penn in June 2018 announced T22, which he said would see a net head count reduction of 8000 over three years, removing one in four executive and middle management roles in order to “flatten the structure” of Telstra.

“The rate and pace of change in our industry is increasingly driven by technological innovation and competition,” Penn said in his announcement. “In this environment traditional companies that do not respond are most at risk.”

“We have worked hard preparing Telstra for this market dynamic while ensuring we did not act precipitously. However, we are now at a tipping point where we must act more boldly if we are to continue to be the nation’s leading telecommunications company,” the CEO said.

Telstra said the implementation of a new Global Business Services team, which is consolidating all large scale ‘back of house’ processes and functions, along with simplification of processes, shifting to more agile ways of working and product simplification, would help cut labour costs by around 30 per cent.

In July last year, as part of T22 Telstra unveiled its new organisational structure and leadership team, effective from 1 October 2018. The new structure includes an integrated Product & Technology division, as well as Enterprise, Consumer & Small Business, Networks & IT, the infrastructure-focused InfraCo, Global Business Services, Transformation & People, and Legal & Corporate Affairs.

The move to a new structure saw the exit of a number of high-profile Telstra executives.

Badenoch wrote that the shift to Agile will “build on the new structure and operating model we introduced last year, and which is already starting to breakdown silos and hierarchy, and removing other barriers which get in the way of our people doing their best work.”

“Moving to expand our agile ways of working will enable people from various parts of our company to form cross functional delivery teams that will focus on customer outcomes through fewer hand-offs, better collaboration and the right capabilities to deliver,” the Telstra executive wrote.

As part of preparing for the transition, Telstra last week staged ‘Agile Futurespective’ events for staff in Sydney and Melbourne.

“We’ve designed a common set of ways of working practices for Telstra, and to help everyone at Telstra to understand and learn skills to work in this way, a comprehensive training program is underway,” Badenoch wrote.

Telstra is the highest-profile Australian enterprise to embark on an significant Agile transformation push since ANZ’s announcement in May 2017 that it would roll out “new ways of working” across the bank.

In October last year ANZ said that 26 per cent of its employees were working in an “Agile manner” as part of the program, which has included a partnership with Atlassian.

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