Role: Agile Capability Uplift


  • Client: National Australia Bank
  • Start: September 2010
  • End: -

Stephan has led the Process Improvements at NAB that included the Agile@NAB method.

Significant business improvements have been delivered through this method with many stakeholders and delivery teams “Don't wanting to go back”

Stephan applied his extensive agile knowledge across several projects and BAU teams to coach them hands-on in their transition.

More achievements


Agility has been a significant part of his role as Standards Manager driving the agile strategy. Besides strategic direction, Stephan was often called upon to apply his extensive Agile knowledge hands-on, on several projects and BAU teams.

The internal standards that have been developed under Stephan's process improvement infrastructure are industry leading and have helped National Australia Bank to Jump-start its journey to become more agile so that it can realise better and more business benefits. Stephan has created this infrastructure and continuously "inspired" communities to improve NAB's processes.

Being agile is certainly challenging in an enterprise organisation the size of NAB (6000 IT employees) that is under constant pressure to deliver very high quality services (It will all over the newspapers if NABs core system has incidents) and to deliver increased customer functionality while technology is rapidly evolving and being regulated by auditors.


  • Instil agile knowledge, discipline and culture within the teams to continuously improvements. (Teach how to fish, over giving fish).
  • Train and hands-on Coaching for the delivery team in NABs Agile method to apply the method correctly.


Stephan has led and faciliated the creation of Agile@NAB, which has delivered extensive suite of guidance and training to support the method.

Several projects have been agile coached by Stephan, the most significant being the "Phoenix" project, which received its name after 2 failed attempts to deliver. Stephan engaged with that particular team for the first 3 of the 8 month projects duration.

His philosophy in "agile coaching" teams is that success requires mature processes on three levels:

  • Management and (senior) Stakeholders need to understand and trust agile, so that the transparency adds benefits rather than causing anxiety.
  • Practitioners need to be disciplined to apply the right practices, even under pressure.
  • Hardware, Software Tools and processes need to support the ambitions.

Furthermore, the difference between "agile" and "Agile" is significant in outcomes. Increasing agility is A) Constantly focussing on the essentials and B) Acknowledging that things will change and therefore applying effective processes to deal with the change over resisting. To become agile is a culture change for stakeholders and management as much as it is for the Delivery teams.


Stephan led the organisation to reach agreed standards across all competencies that allow agile to take place within the enterprise policies and regulations. Working with people like Rob Thomsett has been a privilege. Success has been showcased at Agile Australia Conference by NAB Employee Dylan Verheijden (Teach a person how to fish, over giving a single fish).

The success of delivered projects following the Agile@NAB guidance, has created a huge demand throughout the organisation. The peer-2-peer training network that Stephan has implemented as part of his Standards Manager role has delivered a staggering (on average) 600 hours of agile training per month ($1.2M pa savings).

The result of the example project (“Phoenix”) for Stephan's hands-on coaching:

  • The team successfully delivered, on-time, on-budget, exceeding expectations.
  • The customers and delivery team found Agile to be delivering more and better results than traditional method, not wanting to “go back”.
  • The team was able to continue to build up their skills after Stephan left.


  • Agile@NAB is a huge succes. By utilising an internal crowdsourcing model to gain feedback and insights has been instrumental in the implementation and adoption of the method.
  • Articulating risks associated with project shortcuts helped the team and management to collectively take a risk weighed approach to delivery, often resulting in management acknowledging a deeper understanding had changed their minds.
  • Enterprise Solution Architecture processes often failed to align with the agile method of delivering. Many dialogues were needed to find the agreed approach, which has been widely adopted since.
  • Despite the global interest in mobile applications, the technical maturity to apply best practices is lacking. There is much room for improvement across Automated Testing, Automated Deployment, Troubleshooting Incidents and more.

Contact Stephan, or social media (Below)