Climbing the Agile mountain with the Unilever Mountaineers

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It has been a pleasure working with a company like Unilever, eager to learn and curious to try new things. Of course it has been frustrating and hard sometimes as well, when there have been hindrances in the organisation, and some people have been busy working in their old inefficient way. But change takes time, and being an Agile Coach means you are to hold your client’s hand and help the client to find its own way forward on the path of going Agile.

When we had our first contact with Unilever, most people didn’t have a clue what Agile was, maybe some had some friends working with IT talking about Agile, but that was about it. Now, we hear that people are eager to get on the track of Agile, there is a pull of learning and practising Agile everywhere in the organisation! We got curious about what the main drivers of the Agile journey, the members of team Mountaineers: David Scholander, Jacob Jensen and Emma Lindroos, would say. We asked them some questions. 

How was it working with us at Dandy People?

 “DandyPeople has been part of laying the foundation for how we work Agile in Unilever Nordics. It is well known that Agile was developed in the software industry and because of this, has not been perceived as an applicable model for the consumer goods industry – but DandyPeople has been instrumental in taking Agile practices/values/mindset and applied them in a relevant and value-adding way to our business model. We have relied a lot on DandyPeople to kick start our journey and pivot us in the right direction to get the most out of value in a fairly short time span. Furthermore, DandyPeople has always been fun and engaging to work with, and we’ll sure miss them now that we are trying to bike with the supporting wheels off.”

What in the Unilever culture has been most useful for you during this transformation?

“Unilever has a culture of low-hierarchy, friendliness and openness. These values correspond quite well with the Agile framework, and has made it easy to implement Agile in those teams where those values are especially present.” 

“Our learning mindset and focus on staying future-fit has supported the transformation and learning of what Agile is about. In general, people are curious about Agile and want to understand how it could help their teams become better, and I believe this is one of the most crucial parts of going on a journey like this.”

How do you look at the future of the agile journey for Unilever?

“I think Agile will be one of the key enablers to land our growth ambitions and our well-being ambitions. Unilever is one of the most diverse companies in the consumer goods world, and that diversity can often lead to lack of prioritization and lack of focus. Agile can bring that focus back, and ensure we stay competitive in an ever-changing environment.”

“I hope that Agile has become a natural part of the Unilever culture and that it has made it easier for us to respond to market changes and focus on the things that provide most value. I’m curious to see how far we have come in a few years!”

Unilever has understood the importance of having their own support with Agile Coaches within the organisation. They now have the competence and understanding of how to help the teams themselves. We are so proud of the work they are doing and we will continue to have just minor support of the leadership for a period of time. 

Good luck in the future, you will be doing great things!

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