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The Project Manager’s Agile Transformation Journey

The Project Manager’s Agile Transformation Journey

Insights from Bosch

By Johannes Köber
May 17, 2023

Agility, dynamic, and flexibility are trendsetting words, with good reason. In today’s world, everything is very short-lived. Requirements and boundary conditions are constantly changing, long planning phases are often impossible, and products and solutions are developed in close contact with customers. These challenges impact project management practices and project managers, spurring much-cited Agile Transformation.

The Bosch Group is one of the world’s leading technology and service companies, with 420,000 associates, and annual sales of around 88.4 billion euros and is already implementing agile transformation in many units. My Keynote Presentation is about the development of project management and project managers in the Bosch Group. I will focus on two selectively chosen business units that have already gone through the agile transformation: ETAS (Bosch’s Software Development Subsidiary) and Bosch Power Tools.

Bosch has always been driven by the slogan “Invented for life” and seeks to provide the best possible products and services for its customers. To accomplish this, Bosch follows the goal “we drive innovation” and we strive to deliver state-of-the-art software solutions to our clients.

The business unit ETAS is a leading provider of engineering solutions and consulting services for the development of embedded systems. With years of experience and expertise in software and hardware, ETAS offers a wide range of services to clients in the automotive and other sectors. ETAS was founded in 1994 as a Subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH. Today it has a sales revenue of 356 million Euros with 2,300 associates. Their agile journey started in 2011 with Scrum. Today, they have implemented SAFe® at ETAS, but not strictly by the book to focus more on their central and decentralized functions, especially the cross-cutting and support functions.

The second business unit, Bosch Power Tools, is a leading brand that offers a wide range of power and garden tools suitable for both professional and do-it-yourself users. They have a sales revenue of 5.9 billion Euros, which was generated by more than 20,000 associates. They started in 2016 with the first Business Unit Home & Garden and finished in 2019 with the transformation of all 6 Business Units. While ETAS leaned towards SAFe®, Bosch Power Tools created their own agile approach strictly oriented to their business needs.

At ETAS as well as at Bosch Power Tool, there has been a completely new organizational structure. The exciting thing is what happened to the project manager, who is no longer fundamentally represented in most agile approaches. Since ETAS works according to SAFe®, the project manager only exists in exceptions. For project managers, the main role became the product owner, while others became Scrum Masters or Architects depending on their preferences. With Power Tools, the situation is different. In some areas, the project managers are still implemented in the organizational structure, and the trend is still to rebuild more project managers.

Bosch and its esteemed business units have a fascinating history full of remarkable achievements. To explore the wealth of information, best practices, detailed procedures, and current market situations, we invite you to join myself and Stephan Wohlfahrt for our enlightening keynote session on The Project Manager’s Agile Transformation Journey – Insights from Bosch. It’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss!

About the Author

Johannes Köber is currently an undergraduate at the Bosch Central Department for Technology, where he is researching and writing a scientific thesis in the field of Agile project management. He has previously worked in the Corporate Research Project Management Office at Bosch. He has also had the privilege of interning at the Bosch Ansbach plant in the field of Industry 4.0 process optimization as well as with Mercedes-Benz in the field of supply change management. Johannes is an B.Sc. undergraduate student studying industrial engineering with a focus in production management at ESB Business School at the University of Reutlingen, Germany. In his spare time, Johannes is an avid karate competitor, soccer player, and hiker.

Johannes is a Keynote in this year’s Agile and Scrum Online Conference! Check out his presentation details here.

Disclaimer: The ideas, views, and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of International Institute for Learning or any entities they represent.

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