How Viborg Municipality created new results with agile working methods

By: Rasmus Thy Grøn, Partner in LEAD

Agile working methods to solve complex welfare tasks

When it comes to using agile working methods to solve complex welfare tasks, Viborg Municipality is a frontrunner. In collaboration with LEAD, Viborg Municipality has developed a new agile working method called "SamLab" (short for coherence lab), which is used as a lever to create new results in relation to the strategic goal of creating more coherence for citizens.

Through the use of agile working methods, where teams with the right people and the right mandate collaborate across disciplines and organization, new innovative solutions to complex issues have been created for the benefit of citizens. Read on for inspiration on how you can work with agile methods and strengthen cross-functional collaboration in your organization for the benefit of citizens.

"We won't get new results if we keep doing the same thing!"

This realization was the starting point for the work and development of the agile working method "SamLab" in Viborg Municipality. Like many other public organizations, Viborg Municipality is facing a situation where tasks are increasingly complex and must be solved across disciplines and departments. When creating solutions to questions such as "How do we ensure an optimal and efficient transition for vulnerable young people between the family area and the adult area - including aftercare?" or "Which initiatives can contribute the most to Viborg Municipality increasing the number of internships and student jobs? it requires interdisciplinary teams to manage and create holistic and effective solutions.

There are not necessarily easy solutions to the complex issues public organizations face. But there are working methods that make it possible to develop solutions to complex issues faster and more efficiently. This is certainly the experience with the development and use of the agile working method SamLab in Viborg Municipality.

The welfare issues of the future cannot be solved with yesterday's familiar methods. There is a need to re-evaluate the classic approaches and working methods in the production of welfare. Public organizations have two options they can take advantage of.

They can use existing methods to solve new types of problems with the expectation that it will create a new outcome. Or they can supplement their existing methods with new ones, recognizing that some types of methods are better suited to handling complex and complex problems.

Focus on coherent and holistic problem solving

Since 2018, Viborg Municipality has focused on the goal of "We want to create more coherence for the citizen." In this work, Viborg Municipality has been concerned with how the citizen's experience of coherence can be improved through strengthened collaboration across disciplines, areas and organization. Viborg Municipality chose agile and sprint-inspired working methods as the tool to realize these potentials.

SamLab - where complex cross-disciplinary challenges are given extra power

SamLab is an agile working method where selected initiatives in Viborg Municipality are given extra power through a 6-week sprint. Here, 7-9 carefully selected employees are brought together in a team and tasked with solving a complex problem in just 6 weeks. To be selected for SamLab, the problems must have a high innovation potential, be cross-cutting and contain a complexity that means they have not been solved in day-to-day operations.

"The purpose of SamLab is to come together in a cross-disciplinary collaboration on the core task with the citizen at the center."
- Lasse Jacobsen, Municipal Director in Viborg Municipality

The vision is that with the right team and the right mandate, challenges can be solved faster and better than in traditional workflows where hierarchical structures, lengthy work processes, competing decision-making paradigms and logics can be barriers. When putting together the team, the focus is on ensuring that all relevant disciplines are represented. The team therefore consists of employees from different areas of the municipality with different skills, professional specialties and management levels. This ensures that the team has access to all the necessary resources to solve the problem.

SamLab gives extra power to ideas that can help solve complex cross-cutting issues. Ideas that would otherwise have a hard time in the busy daily life of operations, organizational boundaries and conflicts of interest.

6 intense sprint days

In SamLab, the traditional marathon approach to projects has been replaced with a sprint. 6 days spread over 6 weeks, the team has 6 days to create a solution to their problem. During the 6 intense sprint days, representatives from the executive team attend to help prioritize the team's ideas and direction. This ensures constant support from the executive team - both in terms of thinking innovatively and testing the solutions in practice.

Holistic efforts

In Viborg Municipality, SamLab is an agile working method for handling complex tasks across disciplines and departments. By bringing together a team consisting of the right players with the right mandate, collaboration across disciplines and organization has been significantly strengthened and new innovative solutions to complex issues have been created.

SamLab has had a visible effect on the entire organization, which is increasingly prioritizing holistic efforts for the benefit of citizens. The positive results and experiences from Viborg Municipality show that agile working methods such as SamLab are valuable methods for creating new and effective solutions in a short time - also in public organizations.

Agile working methods are an obvious addition to public organizations' existing toolboxes and a tool that the public sector can benefit from when working with the complex welfare task.

Contact us to learn more about what we can do for your business

Are you facing an organizational change? Do you need strategic advice or a leadership development program?

Contact us and together we will tailor a process that develops the exact competencies and structures that strengthen and future-proof your organization.

Rasmus Thy Grøn,

Partner and responsible for the business area Management Team Development

Phone: +45 20 21 94 25


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