“Why ABN AMRO doesn’t work with RTEs”

At a gathering of RTEs, Dennis Struis is something of a foreign agent. Presenting at the RTE Summit as a Product Owner for Agile Tooling at ABN AMRO, his organisation has so far made the deliberate choice not to deploy RTEs or to adopt the ART nomenclature – despite using many other concepts and approaches from SAFe.


Dutch global consumer and business bank ABN AMRO has followed a well-known path into Agile way of working. Starting in 2015 with several small teams, the results quickly convinced others and in 2016 the ambition became to scale up the Agile adoption. Naturally, SAFe was a strong candidate, but the Bank’s Agile community had their doubts.


Scrum is enough, thank you

“There was a strong conviction that yes, we needed some guidance for the effort to scale up, but we didn’t feel comfortable enough just working with Scrum to already introduce yet another new concept. Besides, we were having so much fun and reaping such strong results with a focus on teams alone; why stifle that drive with an overarching layer? The Agile Release Train, to our minds, could easily become just another limiting factor in the team’s autonomy, and the RTE yet another busybody.”


Yes to value streams, no to ARTs

Still, though we’ve so far declined to introduce RTEs to the organization, we encounter many of the same issues that RTEs deal with, which makes me look forward to the upcoming Summit. Where to place responsibilities and how to safeguard coherence between the multiple efforts, and manage expectations for all the related stakeholders?

We do work with value streams and these do tend to run right through our organization, as is often the case. We have 45 Grids at ABN AMRO; a lot of them resemble what you’d call an ART, though others don’t merit that comparison. But it does keep our minds fresh to not adopt the full package. We implement only what we think is relevant to our work. How we nonetheless succeed in keeping the ducks in line should make for an interesting presentation, I’m sure.”


More from Dennis Struis?

Dennis will present at the RTE Summit alongside experts such as Eelco Rustenburg, Kay Buring and with a remote Q&A with SAFe founder Dean Leffingwell. Tickets are selling out fast, so reserve your seat today to join us on November 13th in the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. To know more about our RTE training, click here.


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