How do teams within Rabobank work more closely together?

More job satisfaction through a new way of working and working together for a better bank

As of May 2019, a growing number of teams within Rabobank embrace an agile way of working. You can read about why and how Rabobank is changing its way of working in our conversation with Kiki and Michiel. However how do you experience this agile way of working in practice? Productowner Olaf Gremmen and IT Developer Michiel Verhaar of the squad "Move On" tell us about their experiences of working more intensively with different areas of expertise within the bank. That is working with Squads.

Working with squads

Olaf Gremmen joined Rabobank in 2013. “I started as an application manager, did an internal switch as a business analyst in the payments department and now I work as a Productowner Customer Processes for 3 years. We ensure that at key moments in a customer’s life, such as death or relocation, Rabobank’s systems and processes provide optimum support to the customer”.

Michiel Verhaar is in the same squad. “I’m a PEGA developer.  For the various customer journeys we have new applications, but there are still legacy systems as well. PEGA is a platform for rapid application development, integrating both old and new software”.

Each Squad at the bank has its own name and banner, so they are clearly recognizable on the work floor. Michiel: “Our Squad is called Move On, as a wink to the services and services we support. Our clients are both internal, such as the customer service team, and external, the actual private and corporate clients of Rabobank”.

The guiding principle is always how we can make the bank better together.
Michiel Verhaar - PEGA Developer

Olaf: “Because we are now divided into Squads, Areas and Tribes, the hierarchy and dependency is much more transparent. If there are dependencies we can’t resolve between the Squads, the Area lead decides. Same with dependencies between Areas, that’s for the Tribelead to decide.”

“With the Simplify@Scale programme and an agile way of working throughout the organization, communication between departments has become much tighter and more transparent. The transition has gradually been taken up by the entire organization,” says Olaf. “To push updates in our software to a consumer environment, we work a lot with CLR (Compliance, Legal and Risk). They used to be at the end of the project, but now we regularly check with each other to see if we’re still on the same page.”


Michiel: “Our Squad consists of 1 Productowner, 1 Business analyst, 1 Test analyst and 5 software developers. We use independent expertise if necessary. There’s a scrummaster to assist us. Every week a marketer and UX-er sit at our table. They can look directly at the screens we make, give feedback and contribute ideas on how to market our products.

Olaf: “Previously, the meetings between IT and marketing each year could be counted on the fingers of one hand. That has now changed significantly and it improves speed and quality. As a Squad, we’ll immediately get a lot more insights from the different areas of expertise.”

The Squads are close to each other as teams on the same floors of the Rabobank office. Olaf thinks that’s important: “You get a better sense of what’s going on at each Squad, you give everyone a piece of ownership of a common goal and you immediately notice the impact of certain changes”. In this time of corona it requires a different approach. “Every day we have a virtual stand-up and in the afternoon a check-in with the team,” Olaf says, “We have regular Knowledge transfer sessions within the Squad and once a month there’s a PEGA chapter afternoon where we present technical content”.

Data-driven approach

Olaf: “We are constantly testing our work. For our internal customers, the colleagues, we look at how we can improve work processes and application screens. We also get feedback from our customers outside the bank through questions in the app and on the site”. This data-driven approach is important in our work, says Olaf: “We underpin the priorities in the backlog with data. In addition, we learn from direct feedback from our customers. For instance, there was a lot of demand for a specific functionality in our online address changes. We’ve given that priority right away in the next sprint.” That is what working with Squads means for Rabobank.

The advantage of working at a large bank is that you immediately receive sufficient feedback, even with the smallest change in a service or screen.
Olaf Gremmen - Productowner Customer Processes

Job satisfaction with agile working

Olaf explains how it is to work agile as a bank: “It depends on what you are responsible for as a Squad. For us, it is a different dynamic than the Squad that is responsible for payments. That’s the bank’s core business. You don’t just put an MVPMinimum Viable Product, a product with just enough features to add value for customers, as a starting point to get feedback for further product development. live. We do have more possibilities to validate the ideas of the team and the department with MVPs. The advantage of working at a large bank is you can make small changes to the software and immediately receive sufficient feedback to validate your idea. We process some 30,000 to 40,000 address changes per month. If we change a feature and ask for feedback, we get very valuable data back from our customers very quickly”.

Michiel: “I am working daily to make the customer journey run as smoothly as possible. I feel a great responsibility for the software I deliver. As a Squad and as an Area we have one common goal: Satisfied customers. So is working with Squads supporting a better bank.

For me, Simplify@Scale has led to more pleasure in my work. I was already working agile, but at Rabobank I work much more connected with colleagues from all kinds of departments than I used to and that really makes us a better bank together”.