Agility in digital sales


The Next Generation Sales (NGS) project teams use the advantages of agile methods: customer focus, flexibility and team spirit.

Cross-BU projects are now an integral part of everyday work. Today, however, classic working methods are no longer sufficient to meet the requirements of digitalization. The magic word is “agility.” OSRAM has already gained experience here in various projects. As part of NGS, agile methods are now used across the company to continue to digitalize sales.

Honest feedback

“The customer is king” is the old adage. Agile methods now help to live up to that: in the development of new digital sales tools, they ensure that the requirements of customers and users dictate the course of action. What functionalities do they expect, and what brings real added value? “In agile project management, the user is permanently involved and constantly receives provisional results which illustrate the project status,” Sabine Dachs, NGS Scrum Master, explains. In customer care (CRM), for example, these are the OSRAM sales employees who will later work effectively with the CRM tool. “This is the only way for us to receive well-founded feedback that will help us,” says Sabine Dachs.

Agile coaches provide support

The first milestone is what is called Minimum Viable Products, which will be in use from autumn 2019. They are initial minimum versions of the later systems that will be continually adapted and improved thanks to user feedback. This flexibility is a basic element of the agile way of working. Step by step the final solution edges closer, and the teams constantly take the opportunity of reviewing existing developments and adapting the system based on feedback until the finished product is on the table.

To follow an agile way of working, the teams need to get away from previous processes and approaches. Here they will receive support from agile coaches. Twelve members from all the business units and central functions at OSRAM have already been trained as agile coaches and support teams that want to get started with agile projects.

“Agility depends on team spirit and a whole new form of cooperation.” Sabine Dachs, Scrum Master NGS

No master plan

It’s about more than applying agile methods such as Scrum (see info box). Sabine Dachs emphasizes that it’s also a question of values: “Agility depends on team spirit and a whole new form of cooperation.” Whereas in a classic project management setup work is brought into the team and assigned on someone’s instruction, agile teams work autonomously. This approach requires a high level of self-motivation but also creates strong dynamics, the Scrum Master says: “You can see the team grow and at the same time become very productive and efficient.”

The response from the teams has been positive across the board. The curiosity to try something new has outweighed the skepticism or uncertainty about any unknown methods. A good starting point for subsequent projects at OSRAM. But how agile will we and our work be in a few years’ time? There is no master plan for that. OSRAM’s future will develop in an agile way itself; that’s something Sabine Dachs is convinced of: “It’s a process where we take one step at a time and need to find our own way.” The first step has been taken.

SCRUM FOR BEGINNERS

Scrum is one of several methods in agile project management and comes from software development, where teams work in short project units called sprints.

The Scrum process entails three central roles:

The Product Owner is the representative for users; he or she represents their needs and requirements regarding the product.

The Scrum Team consists of a maximum of nine members and is put together depending on project requirements. There is no project manager.

The Scrum Master supports the team as a moderator and ensures that processes and rules can be adhered to easily.

The term originates from rugby, where players of both teams come together to compete for the ball.