Adoption of an agile culture within an organization

Incorporating agility implies inculcating a cultural change in a company. It involves leaving behind old habits and replacing them with new practices that result in a transformation in the organization. Axonier worked with La Segunda to address the challenge of carrying out this process of evolution towards adopting an agile culture.

La Segunda was born on July 11, 1993, with a cooperative and progressive view, and it was formed for trade union purposes and not commercial ones. At that time, the company was only present in the Argentine provinces of Santa Fe and Córdoba, and it had to wait until 1979 to establish its offices in Buenos Aires.

A few years later, La Segunda incorporated fire, automobile, glass, and hail insurance coverages into its activities and in 1989 it also added retirement insurances.

At present, the company is also operating in Uruguay through PORTABET SA, a company that specializes in providing services with a focus on risk prevention. 

La Segunda’s vision is to be a leading company in the Argentine insurance market and become one of the top three insurance groups, having federal presence and solvency and upholding, internally and externally, the cooperative values that gave rise to its foundation.

The context 

Having that goal in mind, La Segunda was faced with the following questions: Was it possible to carry out a transformation process in an organization with such deep-rooted values, structures and work methodologies? To what extent could they pursue a cultural change within the company without jeopardizing its cooperative DNA and without departing from a working model that had brought them successful decades of expansion and growth?  

Martin Moser, Organization and Processes Manager, and Melisa Gómez, in charge of Product and Project Management, came to Axonier with this concern. Martin knew the culture of the company better than anyone: he had been in charge of different teams and departments within La Segunda and recognized the need to make them work in an agile and integrated way. While Melisa, having a view oriented to organizational development and experience in business processes and team facilitation, believed that agile methodologies were an alternative for the challenge they were facing.

The challenge

What was the challenge about? It involved carrying out a transformation process towards adopting an agile culture, which implied a profound change with respect to the culture of the company. We knew that in order to bring about this change, it would be necessary to incorporate certain agents, eliminate specific structures and methodologies and replace them with new agile structures. 

Where to start? We proposed to start at the heart of La Segunda: Management. By doing this, we would be able to internalize the transformation daily in the teams that were subordinated to management. Thus, we would begin at the center of the organization and then expand the transformation to the rest of the departments. 

After that, we would make changes to the PMO area, from now on the Agile Office, which would be responsible for supporting, following and promoting the new practices throughout La Segunda’s organization chart. 

The solution

The solution was based on the implementation of a participatory model which prioritized listening and co-creating. A work scheme tailored for La Segunda was proposed, so that the company could, in the short term, adapt its governance model to its reality, with all the necessary tools to make agility grow organically in the company. 

In order to listen, understand and guide each leader in this transformation process, empathy and feedback were key elements. Meetings oriented to the exchange of information and active listening were proposed, such as focused workshops and workshops for the generation of ideas. 

The insights obtained from these meetings led to the redefinition of services, the reconfiguration of roles within the current schemes and the development of a roadmap to define stages and measure results.  

The result

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dayer. 

The main achievement of our intervention in La Segunda has been, undoubtedly, establishing a new mindset in the company and for the change to be reproduced organically. To that end, the involvement, transparency and leveling of all the leaders from the beginning were definitely key. 

The PMO team validated its new configuration and services, which was very well accepted by Management and the company. 

Less than a month after establishing its reconfiguration, the first Scrum project was carried out with formal support from the Agile Office.  

In the first two months, three of the Management teams also received support for the redefinition of their services and the implementation of their first Kanban system.  

That is how we achieved a governance model developed from inside the company, adapted to the culture and needs of La Segunda, and in line with its vision and objectives for this new era. 


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