Triggering a cultural shift within a bank is challenging to say the least, but it’s a challenge that German cooperative bank Volksbank Raiffeisen Würzburg is relishing as it draws up its roadmap for digitalization. The bank has chosen Meister’s productivity tools MeisterTask and MindMeister to help drive its digital transformation strategy and increase transparency, using templates to achieve user acceptance of the new software from the get-go. VR Bank Würzburg’s ultimate goal is to deeply entrench lean management and agile project management practices into the bank’s culture and philosophy – and to involve its staff in every step of the process.

Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Würzburg: Using MeisterTask & MindMeister to Drive Digital Transformation (Success Story)

Businesses all over the world are working frantically on their digital transformation roadmaps as they try to figure out how to make their operational processes more efficient and more sustainable, while at the same time keeping them scalable. They are busy evaluating just how prepared they are to embrace new ways of working, to collaborate successfully in an increasingly digital world.

These are issues that have also concerned German cooperative bank Volksbank Raiffeisenbank (VR) Würzburg. Established over 100 years ago, the bank now has around 30 branches and employs 350 people. And although it already provides a full service to its around 88,000 customers, the bank is determined to be well prepared for all future challenges by putting the necessary procedures in place internally.

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Sebastian Kraft, Head of Organizational Development at Volksbank Raiffeisenbank (VR) Würzburg, explains:

We wanted to modernize the way we all worked together.

Sebastian Kraft

He and his team have been working on new procedural, organizational, and operational structures.
Day-to-day operations at VR Bank Würzburg were also hindered by outdated tools, the lack of clear infrastructure, and overcomplicated and confusing communication and information structures. With this in mind, the management decided it was time to bring in new tools and methods based on three key criteria: they had to be collaborative, digital and secure.

Multi-Project Management, which involves coordinating several different projects while factoring in multiple resources and a whole range of parameters, is a huge deal for us. But it requires a level of transparency that we were finding very difficult to achieve. We also wanted to completely rethink our approach to team organization and self-management.

Sebastian Kraft

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Boosting Efficiency Step by Step

Triggering a cultural shift within a bank is challenging to say the least. There are different teams using different tools, with no standard rules for how they are supposed to manage processes. Which means there is no smooth flow of information, and inconsistencies in the levels of knowledge among staff make it all but impossible for teams to collaborate seamlessly. This is where a collaborative productivity tool like MeisterTask comes in: because transparency is no longer an issue.

There is another significant challenge that cannot be overlooked: how do you usher in change without overwhelming your employees? VR Bank Würzburg thought long and hard about it and came up with the idea of providing staff with templates (in the form of preconfigured project boards or engaging digital mind maps). This made the process of showing new staff how to work with the tool quick and easy, while also highlighting the advantages of an online, collaborative approach. Which is key to user acceptance.

“Identify New, Attractive Tools”

In the days before MeisterTask, VR Bank Würzburg took a more classic approach to project management. But with time it became clear that an agile approach would allow many of the bank’s processes to be managed more quickly and easily. So the bank drew on elements of both philosophies. Throughout the streamlining process it was the aim of Sebastian Kraft and his team to, “Overhaul processes and identify new, attractive tools that could drive transformation and that would be used willingly and consistently.”

Since the bank was already used to applying lean management principles and using Kanban boards, the advantages of a project management tool like MeisterTask were immediately obvious: flexibility, structure and focus would be at the heart of all future projects, with day-to-day tasks supported by agile principles.

Read more about agile project management using MeisterTask in our blog post.

The bank realized the benefits of adding a mind mapping tool to complement MeisterTask, allowing ideas to be gathered and developed collaboratively. Remote working in particular also made a collaborative platform even more of a necessity. All of the bank staff are now actively practising and developing this type of creative collaboration, from trainees to executives. Even consulting strategies are laid out in mind maps.

MindMeister and MeisterTask are built to complement each other and as such integrate seamlessly:

We develop topics and ideas using mind maps in MindMeister. This is how, collaboratively across the entire bank, we are able to build solutions from ideas. We are then able to define tasks, for example, which can be implemented logically and according to priority in MeisterTask projects.

Sebastian Kraft

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Why Choose the Meister Suite?

The bank started with around 50 licenses, then began to implement the tools gradually for project management and team self-organization. This strategy was made easier by Meister’s flexible subscription model, which allows licenses to be rolled out step by step, and also by the fact that the licenses can be distributed flexibly as required.

Obviously, we always have to be mindful of fulfilling the specific requirements of a bank, for example in terms of security. In that respect, the Meister Suite was an easy choice: the servers are located in an ISO-certified data center in Frankfurt and all of the tools are EU-GDPR-compliant. This was absolutely critical for us as a bank on account of the sensitive nature of the data.

Sebastian Kraft

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Benefits and Change

The products in the Meister Suite have had a major impact on team and self-management in particular, according to Sebastian Kraft: “The intuitive Kanban boards in MeisterTask lend immediate structure to information and streamline communication. The ‘virtual desk’ looks much cleaner, and it’s so much easier to maintain an overview of current tasks and projects.”

The bank’s executives appreciate significantly greater transparency: MeisterTask has put paid to any bank-wide alignment and communication issues. The decision-makers now have an up-to-date overview of all relevant topics, which makes the prioritization process much more efficient. Each individual member of staff can also keep an eye on what’s happening in their own team or at the bank generally, making it easier to plan their own tasks accordingly.

Change Requires Patience

Digital Transformation within a bank requires patience, the right tools, and tenacity. It’s a cultural shift — a long journey, no question!

Sebastian Kraft

Kraft continues: “It’s our goal to embed these new ways of working even more deeply into our culture and to make sure all of our teams are excited about using Kanban boards and mind maps. So I see MeisterTask and MindMeister as drivers of the digitalization of methods such as lean management, but also as powerful alternatives to, for example, classic activity lists in Excel.”

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