Nordea on their Transition to Remote PI Planning with Kendis

As one of Kendis’ biggest customers, Nordea leads over 150 release trains and has 4,600+ Kendis users. According to Roy Boven, the Senior Process Specialist at Nordea, that number is “still growing, which is nice to see”. Roy and his colleague Adam Guja, a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Nordea, joined the Kendis team to lead the webinar “How Nordea Transitioned to Full Remote PI Planning in Three Days with the Help of Kendis”. We discussed the realities behind remote PI Planning in a large company, and the ways they use Kendis to facilitate their ceremonies.


How it Started


Nordea is the largest financial group in the Nordic countries, so when the pandemic shut down the world 3 days prior to their PI Planning, there were many sudden adjustments to be made. To understand their transition to remote PI Planning, let us first run through the context of how Nordea’s teams use agile practices.


Like many other large companies around 2015, Nordea started to adopt agile practices. As they realized the need for a company-wide standard, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) was embraced. SAFe was the fastest growing framework worldwide, and this allowed Nordea to more easily find consultants and employees trained in SAFe practices. 


According to Adam, the adoption started with one value stream and one release train, and scaled up from there. After adding more trains and dependencies, the framework spread across Nordea. This required many large in-person PI planning ceremonies, some having more than 300 participants. Visualization of program boards and dependencies often meant large walls covered in paper and strings, as pictured below in comparison to a Kendis program board. 

Being a geographically divided company often creates a collaboration problem. Nordea was using JIRA to manage their SAFe practices, but they were in need of a tool to manage their dependencies. After exploring their options, Nordea chose Kendis in 2019.


Nordea’s Rollout of Kendis


In early 2020, Nordea established pilot teams that would be the first to use Kendis. The company then designated three people to be an ‘internal Kendis support team’ as teams were learning to use the Kendis software. They were expecting to have 80 team members participate in the first Kendis PI Planning event. 


As this was happening, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. All of the teams at Nordea were set to conduct in-person PI Planning within the next two weeks. One of their release trains found out about the travel ban on Friday, and their PI Planning was set for just three days later, on Monday. As teams scrambled to find a way to hold PI Planning remotely, many joined the pilot Kendis teams, and the expected 80 user test run soon turned into an 800 user event.


This is when Nordea realized Kendis was the best tool to facilitate remote PI Planning, and it quickly spread to be used company-wide. Nordea now has 4,600 active Kendis users!


How does Nordea handle so many users?


Nordea uses self-hosted software and has upgraded their hardware to handle so many users. Roy says it was “actually quite easy to scale and easy to keep track”. They currently have two employees doing user support for all of their users. Collaboration combined with the use of Kendis help articles allows for their teams to work together to find the best uses for Kendis.


Nordea uses a full four level SAFe setup in JIRA. They have customized and upscaled aspects of their Kendis usage to accommodate their 20,000 Jira users. 


“What we also really liked about Kendis is that it’s running on its own database. It’s really a separate application, it’s not a plugin…It doesn’t really influence the performance of Jira” – Roy Boven


According to Roy and Adam, their favorite things about Kendis are the Analytics features, the performance capabilities compared to other tools, and the support team. In reaction to hearing about some of Kendis’ upcoming features, including the Roadmap tool, Roy said he “can already see some people being really happy in Nordea”. 


We at the Kendis team are proud to partner with customers like Nordea, who welcome open dialogue about their experience with Kendis. Hearing customer perspectives allows us to improve our tool according to our users needs. As Roy said, “Kendis has matured a lot over the last three years”, and we are grateful to have customers like Nordea alongside us as we evolve. Thank you Roy and Adam!


If you want to view the entire presentation, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C14L_hKFgSM


To learn more about PI Planning with Kendis, get a free trial or book a demo at kendis.io 

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