Why management start-up trainees Dr. Jara Obermann and Dorothée Kiesel have launched an own agile coach program at Roche.“New Ways of Working” is a particular focus at Roche this year. A central theme: agility. How can agile methods be used to achieve the best for patients? Dr. Jara Obermann and Dorothée Kiesel, management start-up trainees at Roche Diabetes Care Germany, have addressed this question. With the agile coach program that they developed themselves, they show how Roche employees can help shape the company and drive changes forward on their own.
With agile methods, we can come up with innovative solutions faster together with people who have diabetes that make a real difference for them.
In three points – what does agility mean for Roche Diabetes Care?
DK: We’re focusing on achieving the best for patients, we’re constantly learning new things for this purpose and we are continuously working on improving our solutions.
Why does Roche Diabetes Care now also rely on agile working methods?
JO: Our first and foremost objective as a company is to make life easier for our customers – in our case people with diabetes and their caregivers – through our solutions. In order to focus even more on their needs, we draw on agile methods and work more closely with them when further developing our offers.
DK: The new methods help us to look at things like project management or meeting culture from a different perspective and to come up with innovative solutions faster, which make a real difference for patients in their daily diabetes management.
You have trained twelve agile coaches at Roche Diabetes Care Germany and are active as such yourself too. What are the tasks of agile coaches?
JO: An agile coach has different tasks: He is an expert in agile project management, i.e. he acts as a moderator and organizer, but also as mediator in the agile project team meetings. He sets up the external structure, so to speak, acts as a mediator between the team and project manager and makes sure the task is maintained. As a "neutral person" he is not involved in the content.
DK: But on the other hand, he is also a change agent in the function of an ambassador. This does not only mean that he makes sure his project team learns agile methods, but also that he makes them known throughout the entire organization. Agile working does not just mean implementing new methods. An agile coach lives the agile mindset in the organization as a role model. As a coach, he is also the first point of contact for all colleagues when someone wants to use agile project management.
You are both management start-up trainees, so you also want to become managers later on. What does agile leadership look like?
DK: Agile managers must delegate responsibility and decisions to their employees and act as their coaches. They enable their employees to independently work on projects and with their own ways of thinking. Thanks to the structure of agile project management, managers also still see exactly what is happening right now and can quickly act as coaches if required.