At Telstra, we have embarked on a multi-year transformation.
I have reservations at times about using the word ‘transformation’ as it gets used all too often. However, in this case, I can’t think of a better word.
Telstra is an iconic business which has been (and will continue to be) an important part of the fabric of Australia. It has gone through many changes and evolutions so now could be seen as just another phase in the inevitable journey over the past 43 years but I think it is more than that.
There are profound times through all organisational lifecycles where gradual evolution makes sense. However, for us, we have reached a point where all forces mean truly re-thinking how we do business – what we sell, how we create our products and services, how we sell, and how we create an organisation and culture that has the agility to respond to customer needs that are changing more rapidly than ever before.
Our focus for change comes from a deep commitment to reinvent telecommunications products and services – deliver a level of simplicity, transparency and trust that customers want but underpinned by the best network and world class capabilities. For us this change starts from within.
In doing so we also need to be transparent that this scale and pace of change is hard, creates uncertainty and impacts people.
Changing how we work
A critical part of delivering on our T22 commitments at Telstra is changing how we work to allow our people to collaborate more quickly and easily to deliver better, faster outcomes for our customers.
We know it’s a powerful lever in our transformation but that the workplace and workforce transformation is not always prioritised to the same level as other aspects of transformations.
Telstra’s transformation is end-to-end so we are investing in and simplifying the things that impact our employees’ working experience alongside transforming our customers’ experience, our focus on innovative products and technology, and our cost base. We are certainly not there yet, but we are making significant changes to get us there.
Agile will be a powerful lever to drive how we work
And that’s why from July, we’ll start the transition to our Agile at scale model across our organisation.
It will build on the new structure and operating model we introduced last year, and which is already starting to breakdown silos and hierarchy, and removing other barriers which get in the way of our people doing their best work.
Moving to expand our agile ways of working will enable people from various parts of our company to form cross functional delivery teams that will focus on customer outcomes through fewer hand-offs, better collaboration and the right capabilities to deliver.
But it’s actually much bigger than that. Agile at scale across Telstra will fundamentally change how our business runs, shift our mindset to support our new world and mobilise our organisation around common goals and priorities.
Not every team at Telstra will move to full-scale Agile ways of working, and some will use tools from across Agile, Human Centred Design, Lean and DevOps where it makes sense.
Engaging our people in our new ways of working
As we move to Agile we’re also focusing on investing in and supporting all our people. Last week we hosted interactive Agile Futurespective events in Sydney and Melbourne – these events were an opportunity to share our approach and design with our people. We wanted to create space to build a shared understanding of what we’re doing, gather feedback on our approach and help to address any questions in real time.
We’ve designed a common set of ways of working practices for Telstra, and to help everyone at Telstra to understand and learn skills to work in this way, a comprehensive training program is underway.
There is no doubt that this is an ambitious goal and we are only part way through our journey, but we have seen the ability (especially for a large company with a lot of history) to move at pace as we accelerate our change to deliver on our goals.
We recognise that the change is creating uncertainty, but we equally know we are entering an exciting phase which will see us continue to expand Agile, and adapt our ways of working, to unlock the benefits for our business, people and our customers as we continue our transformation.
Alex’s blog was first published on LinkedIn on 8 May 2019.