Project Description

Deutsche Telekom: Developing agile leaders through a virtual business simulation

Deutsche Telekom AG is a German telecommunications company with over 200,000 employees. It is by revenue the largest telecommunications company in Europe, and one of the largest integrated telecommunications companies in the world.  They have operations in many global markets, with subsidiary brands such as T-Mobile.

“The Celemi Agile Move simulation was one of the best and most engaging virtual trainings I’ve ever seen and participated in. Everyone could benefit, no matter if agile pro or newbie. We’ve collected great feedback from our participants!”
– Maja Witos, Leadership and culture expert, Deutsche Telekom

The challenge

Deutsche Telekom is currently going through a transformation to start working in more agile ways and would like to implement an agile working culture across the whole organization. Such a large cultural shift is no small feat in such a large, international organization.  In order to implement this change across the whole organization, Deutsche Telekom is running several initiatives within the different segments and an overarching leadership development program called LevelUP! Leading Agile, open to senior level leaders across the company. In 2019 the core part of the program was digital, and the second part consisted of various deep dives face-to-face as well as digital.

Understanding how to apply agile work methods into your own daily work is a challenge for many, especially for those in large, process-driven organizations. Simply learning about agile ways of work and attending lectures and seminars is not enough to grasp this complex topic – coworkers need to actually experience how agile affects their own work. It is also difficult to create alignment in such a large, multi-national organization. Often, coworkers have different understandings of how to approach the same dilemmas, even after they have attended lectures on agile. Celemi Agile Move™ was chosen as one of the modules in Deutsche Telekom’s leadership program to help create alignment and facilitate this change process.

The outcome

Celemi Agile Move™ had coworkers from more than 10 different offices and departments work together and simulate a project team in a VUCA world. They competed against other teams and were given scorecards and feedback on each of their decisions, and how well it aligned with agile working methods. Through discussion, dialogue, and joint decision-making, coworkers aligned on how to best approach common challenges and dilemmas. Debriefs held in the digital classroom ensured that all the groups were aligned and allowed for new knowledge to be created in dialogue between the groups.
Participants revisited their previous learnings from the agile lectures in a playful way and gave instant feedback that they finally knew how to apply these learnings to their daily work. Celemi Agile Move™ was one of the most popular and highly ranked modules of the levelUP! Leading Agile program and is now a part of the standard Deutsche Telekom Leadership standard training portfolio from 2020 on.

Success Factors

Having a facilitator and a gamified format kept participants engaged and excited throughout the entire module, and helped to guide meaningful, insightful dialogue between offices.