Project report

Making customer needs tangible with Lego

Rethinking work – at ALDI SOUTH IT, we break away from old habits and try to master tasks using new approaches. Want some examples? Here they are... 

Agile Center of Excellence

  • What it is: Agile Coaching helps companies to understand and introduce agile working methods to achieve a maximum level of customer focus, adaptability and continuous learning in a complex and fast-moving world. In our highly motivated Center of Excellence, we bring together Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches from the company. With sensitivity, we establish the agile ways of working at different levels of the company in different business units. Our goal is to accompany process changes within our company and to fully establish constant self-reflection as an elemental part of agile working.
  • How we use it: An agile mindset and agile product development are both becoming increasingly relevant at ALDI SOUTH IT. In the area of product development, we create transparency about the value stream and operational work processes. We rely on countless variations of Kanban boards to make the actual workflows visible and to identify potential deficits. In addition, we provide support in setting the right focus: focus on the customer, focus on the highest value contribution, focus on the right thing at the right time – sometimes also focus on deliberately leaving things out. Exemplary results manifest themselves in direct customer contact, reduced time-to-market, shortened decision chains, as well as cross-functional and continuously improving teams.

We help new or existing teams to find their own paths to success and to fully exploit their potential. For us, agility is a sustainable attitude and approach to work, rather than a process that we impose on existing ways of working. As an introduction to the topic, we offer training, micro-learning and tools on different topics from the agile world: Scrum, Kanban, user stories, retrospectives and much more. We support you in establishing the necessary framework for projects, programmes and teams to enable you to adopt an agile way of working in the best possible way. Especially when introducing agile working methods, we rely on agility and use regular, methodologically structured “Lessons learned” formats in order to implement the approach in the best possible way. This enables the teams to identify risks and their own potential in their collaboration to date, and to jointly enter into the concrete solution-finding process. For us, learning together is a core component – that’s why we have established an agile community within the company, linking fresh agile people with experienced experts to share knowledge and learn from one another.

Design Thinking 

  • What it is: Design Thinking is an approach to complex problems. The method is based on the way designers and architects work: they design something, see if they have understood the problem correctly, then discard it or develop an idea further. With Design Thinking it is possible to develop innovative products and services quickly and flexibly. The focus is always on what the user wants and needs. 
  • How we use it: At ALDI SOUTH IT we also use design thinking, for example to offer customers a better shopping experience. The colleagues use a wide range of methods in the preparation of workshops. Every process is basically the same, there are always six phases: understand, observe, summarise, ideate, prototype, test.  

During the Design Thinking Workshops, employees work together regardless of gender, age, hierarchical level and expertise, to incorporate different perspectives into the task at hand. The goal and challenge is to develop new, innovative and sometimes also untypical ideas for ALDI SOUTH, which are then transformed into initial concepts, which are first developed within the workshop using Lego Serious Play (LSP), SAP Scenes, or with the help of various craft-making materials, before they are further tested. 

Design Thinking is used, for example, when departments know their objectives (“We want to achieve something/become better in department A”) or have a problem that is still unclear to them and the solution is still open.  

Working Out Loud (WOL) 

  • What it is: Working Out Loud is a working and learning method based on the collaboration of four to five people. Employees share their knowledge about networks with others and therefore expand their own know-how. In so-called circles (groups), the participants work on their goals with the help of the other members (so-called peer coaching). WOL can help individuals to build relationships, achieve goals, develop skills and establish new behaviours. For companies, WOL is a method that can lead to greater agility and reduce information silos. 
  • How we use it: More and more employees and managers become part of a circle or plan a circle that is formed as soon as there are enough participants. Every employee can partake in the twelve-week WOL-circles.

The WOL model was created at ALDI SOUTH IT by two employees who were interested in the method and were convinced that it would contribute to the further development of ALDI SOUTH and its employees. “After only a few weeks of my first circle, I came to the conclusion that this was exactly what I was looking for and that it had much more potential to support the company’s change processes,” explains Dennis from the Enterprise Collaboration team. Dennis presented the approach in 2019 within the scope of the idea management programme, and since 2020 WOL has also been used within ALDI SOUTH IT. 

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) 

  • What it is: OKR is an agile management method based on the joint implementation of goals. It helps to focus by defining and pursuing only a few important goals, with the objectives and key results of the company, departments and employees being visible to the entire team at all times. This transparency helps to avoid duplication of work and facilitates coordination. OKR originates from the chip manufacturer Intel, whose employee Andy Grove developed the method. One of the best-known companies working with the OKR method is Google. 
  • How we use it: ALDI SOUTH IT uses OKRs, for example, in the area of Strategy & Innovation. To enable an accurate measurement of OKRs, strategic corporate goals are first considered and then related topics are identified – such as Customer Value, Projects, and Ecosystem. For each topic, the participants agree on objectives to be achieved. The degree of fulfilment is determined by the achievement of key results (target states). Each objective is subject to two to five key results. 

At three-month intervals, objectives and their desired results for the respective cycle are presented and adjusted where necessary. Within the cycle, the objectives are presented in meetings every two weeks depending on how well they have been achieved. The OKR Bi-Weekly serves the purpose of transparency within the team, as well as the relation between the OKR Sets and the strategic goals of the company. After a cycle, the completed OKRs are discussed before the next cycle begins.

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