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Interview with Jan & Rico from Roche: “We have a weird passion for running into walls.”
You’ve been a part of the agile world for a while. Why did you fall in love with it?
Jan: I didn't. I discovered a few years ago that the way I thought and operated as well as the values I stand for coincidentally align with what's called "Agile" these days.
Rico: Because now is the time for it, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. There, the voice of the customer is more important than ever, which leads to a more patient-centric approach than it was ever before.
You work in a specific environment called Pharma. Can pharma go agile and how do you approach it?
Jan & Rico: Yes it can like in every other industry as long as you are aware of which elements have to be used in specific situations.
You’ve talked on several agile conferences in Europe. Did you notice any common challenges that companies all over Europe share? What are hot agile topics, that are repeating on every agile conference?
Jan & Rico: People tend to jump into methodologies instead of focusing on cultural mindset first. If there is no right mindset, an agile way of working cannot be successful. It seems like that on every conference the topic of "scaling" appears without knowing what needs to be scaled; on what purpose.
If you would describe non-agile and agile companies with a metaphor of an animal, what would they be and why?
Jan & Rico: Non-Agile companies would be lemmings because they just follow - they have command & control mindset. Agile companies would be lemurs because they are self-organized - they are living in a networked society.
What is one main change you’d love to see in our work culture in companies in the next 10 years?
Jan & Rico: Away with job titles & descriptions. Almost every work is project-based & driven by passion. #peoplefirstmoneysecond #pfms (people first money second).
If any of our participants are flirting with the idea to become agile coaches - what are 3 personal traits you find important for this kind of work?
Jan & Rico: curiosity, optimism & a weird passion for running into walls.
What is on your bucket list for 2019 that you really want to do?
Jan & Rico: Get a good night's sleep.
Which (business) book did you read in the last few months that you would recommend and why?
Jan: I don't read books, but I couldn't live without the Joe Rogan Podcast. Those 3-hour deep-dive conversations with scientists, comedians, entrepreneurs and sometimes people who tend to be on the weird side get my creativity and curiosity going.
Rico: A brief history of humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. This book changes the perspective of our world and the whole evolution concept. It let me think about certain topics & changed the way of how I look on us humans.
We talked with Rico and Jan, Innovation Facilitator Managers at Roche. They are part of the team that is transforming the swiss affiliate into an agile organization. By giving the example of Roche's swiss affiliate agile transformation journey, both can outline how to start a transformation with more than 160 people.
Many organizations are struggling to apply the concepts of Agile because they view Agile as a new way of doing the same old thing. However, in our experience, leading a large-scale Agile Transformation isn’t about simply adopting a new set of attitudes, processes, and behaviors at the team level—it’s about changing your mindset.
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