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Agile power: “By boosting each other, we can boost the entire company”

Anna Borgerot and Kimberly Lejonö

“We have a fantastic network where we can be inspired by and learn from each other. By boosting each other, we can boost the entire company.” That’s the conviction of Anna Borgerot and Kimberly Lejonö, two of the enthusiasts who are driving SEB’s agile transformation – one of the biggest in Europe.

Anna is “Chief Scrum Master” and Kimberly is “Lean Agile Enterprise Coach”. They work in different parts of SEB, but both have key roles in the virtual, agile organisation.

Why is the agile transition so important?

“We live in an increasingly fast-changing world and if we are to continue to be relevant to our customers and employees, we need to change the way we work with business development. It is not enough to change one time, we need continuous change along the way,” says Kimberly.

You both have long experience of agile work from other organisations. What is different about this work at SEB seen from your perspectives?

“My first reflection when I started at SEB six years ago was that there was a very big gap between IT and Business. Today we work far closer to each other and this journey has gone very quickly,” says Anna.

“From my perspective the biggest difference is how established agile work is at all levels in the organisation. The magnitude is far greater. It really does feel that this is one of the biggest agile transformations in Europe,” says Kimberly who joined SEB in 2019.

What are the main advantages of the way SEB drives the agile transition?

“Here there is a large and growing network of competent people as well as an unbelievable structural capital in the form of processes, routines, literature and opportunities for skills development through the bank’s own internal university, SEB Campus,” says Kimberly.

“This is connected to the entrepreneurial spirit that exists within SEB. There is a desire for continuous learning, a craving and curiosity for personal development,” continues Anna.

What are the biggest difficulties?

“It is difficult and always takes time to change a culture. To achieve change, we must work in new ways and to do that we must think and act in new ways. There is always some inertia here because you know what you have but not what you will get,” says Anna.

What is the most fun and provides most energy in your roles?

“It’s all our colleagues. This is an organisation that is filled to the brim with competent, energetic people. I also feel that I have many opportunities to develop and broaden my expertise,” says Anna

“I agree with Anna. It is also rewarding to see clear results from our work. Already we can see that the number of value-creating IT deliveries has risen by more than half since we started our agile journey,” says Kimberly.

What experiences and personal qualities are most important for roles such as yours?

“The courage to dare to be inquisitive. To ask questions and see new perspectives. It is also important to have an ability to manage complex situations related to both technology and people. You need to be pragmatic and take situations as they come,” says Anna.

“It is also important to have an understanding of how people react to change and of course it’s an advantage to have experience of large-scale agile transformations,” continues Kimberly.