During our exciting 2-days Lean-Agile Procurement certification workshop in Auckland some of the participants came and said to us: „Wow this is so awesome, but our boss/peers/etc needs to know about that too!“-As agile we are we setup some FREE one hour slots called Lean Coffee’s, where those participants could invite wherever they liked. This blog post is about what we’ve experienced & learned during those coffee sessions. Be aware, down under is about to take over the Lean-Agile Procurement movement!

As usual we had a very diverse group of 25 attendees in our 2-days certification workshop Lean-Agile Procurement (short LAP) in AucklandConsisting of procurement and sales professionals, agile coaches, digital experts, even some lawyers. We haven’t had just a big diversity between roles and companies, but also on levels. From c-suite, CPO’s over strategic buyer/account manager to Program Managers, etc. we had almost the whole value stream represented. A very good base for open minded exchanges and one of the reason I personally like to work in that domain. Did I mentioned that we've been SOLD OUT!?

However, during the workshop 2-3 attendees came across and told us, that their peers should know about LAP too, because they thought it would bring so much value to their work/business/etc too. That was the moment, where we decided on the spot to offer some 1-hour FREE Lean Coffee sessions. Within minutes the slots were taken by the attendees for various reasons I suppose: Convincing their boss/peers, inspiring other departments, or getting some like-minded people together to start their first pilot project using LAP right away.

We had a comprehensive list of businesses from private and public sector to visit:

  • Air New Zealand

  • Tower Insurance

  • Vodafone

  • University of Auckland

  • ASZ

Day after the workshop we started our first lean coffee session.

Air New Zealand

Jakub Jurkiewicz an enthusiastic Agile Coach at Air NZ asked for this session and made it happen, that we’ve been part of the team meeting of the whole #procurement team of Alistair Prebble, Head of Procurement Air NZ. Some more guys from the digital department squeezed in too so that the room was full.

Each party shared their current status, learnings and pitfalls. It felt like we‘ve cooperated already for years.

It turned out that the procurement team and their digital team has experimented much more as the average company we‘ve met so far. For commodity sourcing cases they‘ve invested in Lean Procurement and digitalization from source to pay as many other company. 

In digital initiatives they‘ve experimented with more collaborative tenders as we did with LAP. They haven‘t gone as far as we did but they for sure will now they‘ve seen how!

Even more interesting to see was that the procurement team of Air NZ has started to make their work visible using Kanban Boards. They are just one step before creating cross-functional teams as Barclays did.


Right after the Business Agility Meetup I went with Jörg Breitenberger, Agile Coach with Vodafone, to a Lean Beer and we had a good exchange about agile transitions, pitfalls and how this could drive enthusiastic employees into demotivated ones. Our key conclusion was we need to onboard everybody, especially the top management so that everybody understands why we‘re becoming agile and how.

Tower Insurance

Bruce McClintock, an extraordinary person with a background in law, economics, IT and Agile wanted to get us in touch with Stu Waddington a like-minded program manager at Tower Insurance. He runs currentely one of the biggest program at Tower in digitalization and we had a lot of stories to share about. One key takeaway was that getting the #RIGHTpartner is key. Especially if we have to deal with a lot of uncertainty and surprises as we go. They‘ve shared their current contractual setup where Tower has agreements on packes of story points with their partners. It works out very good with them, but we shared our concerns about it with them. Because it might be a risk if the partner is in control of the kpi he gets mesured and payed. 

The way how they currentely source is quit traditional and takes a lot of time in a complex environment, what a surprise. They’ve might got some inspiration from LAP for future projects.

University of Auckland 

Xian Fu organised a session with David Rees procurement team and representatives from project management. The university of Auckland is under #publicLaw and we had very interesting and open minded discussions how to apply LAP at #GOV. They run all digitalization already in an #Agile setup and to our surprise David spoke about how they’ve source in a more collaborative approach even before the agile movement 20-30 years ago. We encouraged them to publish the way they did and they definately toke some inspiration out of LAP. Such as to improve the collection of customer needs in a more collaborative approach.

ASB Bank

Last but not least Lean Coffee session was organised by Kerry Walden and she brought us in touch with Mark Jones, General Manager Procurement ASB Bank and Chris from their digital department.

They started the exchange we #DONT run classic tenders any more. We tend to get in touch with our partners, agree on just 3-4 pages contracts and gather customer needs eg. via design thinking workshops.

On the other hand they do have room for improvement in automization of commodity sourcing cases. Or may be I‘ve got them wrong?

What they did naturally we‘d call the #futureOfProcurement. They‘ve started to establish #businessPartnerships and supported the business on site as part of their cross-functional team. It worked out very good with them and after a 6 month experiment they look forward what to do next. That the whole bank is under an Agile Transition definitely helped to encourage running such experiments.


What we‘ve seen and heard about Agile@Procurement in these couple of hours was more promising then what we‘ve seen so far in Europe or the States all over!-The Kiwi's might be still be behind in terms of Business Agility, but if it comes to being open minded in procurement we'd wish, that more companies and leaders are behaving like them. Beware the Kiwi's taking over the lead in the movement Lean-Agile Procurement :-)

We‘d like to encourage you to connect to these leaders and exchange about their learnings. Take an examples of a more customer centric procurement and overcome the classic traps. Or as Ross recentely said, at least similar :-): The future is now, what are you waiting for!

Special thanks goes to Andrea Gregory, Head of Procurement Tower Insurance, who connected the dots and brought us over to New Zealand!

One more thing: We learned a lot to and will definitely repeat it as we think it was a win-win for both parties. Also we will have another 2-days certification workshop in Auckland and may be in Melbourne again end of 2019. Stay tuned and check our workshop calendar