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Jun 9, 2021

Case Study: Achmea

How insurance giant Achmea slashed time to market from 18 to 3 months with SAFe

The largest insurance conglomerate in The Netherlands is Achmea Inc. With its roots firmly in Dutch history, today the company employs more than 15,000 people in six countries worldwide, insuring millions under its many brand labels. This lumbering heavyweight is turning itself around to embrace light-footed Agility with the help of SAFe – and Gladwell Academy.

It’s completely changed how we think at Achmea. How we organize, how we review. We made the national news media with that last change, by the way. When we did away completely with the annual performance review, a lot of people took note.

Objectives in 2015

  1. Improve economic performance
  2. Reduce time-to-market
  3. Increase quality and predictability
  4. Improve talent engagement and craftsmanship
Listen… We didn’t just implement SAFe for feature development; we didn’t limit ourselves to IT either. We’re really going all the way: over the course of about five years, we’ve followed through with the value-driven mindset for IT development and supporting functions like Human Resources, with Corporate Housing, Facilities, and Disciplines such as Quality Control, Architecture, Financials…


  1. Development: processes and teams
  2. Portfolio management and strategy execution
  3. HR, finance, governance, QA and architecture
  4. Education, learning and leadership
We’re fortunate that Gladwell Academy, as the only company offering SAFe trainings at the scale we required at the time – is actually a very competent training partner. Over the years they have trained so many of us without a hitch – that service is really nice to experience.

Results in 2019

  1. Average time-to-market for new features from over 18 months to under 3 months
  2. Quality incident count reduction of 35%
  3. Predictability of development from ~30% to between 80 – 95%
  4. Notable improvement in collaboration between disciplines
Written by Gladwell Academy, but most of our content is created by trainers and partnering experts!