Healthy growth through strong togetherness

Scaling/SAFe introduction at censhare


Client: censhare GmbH

Methods: SAFe, Scrum, Lean Portfoliomanagement

Year: since 2014

Branch: Integrated software solutions for marketing and communication strategies, global customers

Together, we have managed to rekindle the "we" feeling within censhare in a critical growth phase and accompanied the company on its way to a successful agile transformation. As a result, our client can dedicate himself to the continuous improvement of a platform that increases efficiency, enables creativity and simplifies collaboration across all communication channels.


How do we take agility to the next level in a rapidly growing organisation to keep Censhare growing healthily and meeting the needs of its diverse customer base?


If you draw the line under our collaboration and filter the essence from it, a statement remains very clear in the room:

“We are Censhare!”

The combination of the shared vision for a global product and the reignited Censhare spirit strengthen the entire company.

As a result, transparency and expectation management have improved and the product release has been successfully brought to market.

"With improuv's support, we have strengthened the "we are a censhare team" spirit, which has enabled us to launch the new version of our product and improve employee satisfaction.

Walter Bauer
CTO, Censhare

Our approach

Involving managers from the beginning

Strengthening agile core competences

Product management training

PI Planning

Start of the first release train

Portfolio management

This is how our assignment went

Headquartered in munich and with offices around the world, censhare AG provides integrated software solutions that support the marketing and communication strategies of its global customer base. Starting in the first quarter of 2014, our task was to support censhare in its transformation into a scalable, agile company. The aim was clear: optimising release time and quality, company-wide transparency and meeting the diverse needs of customers.

Together we successfully introduced the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) during a transition period. Since then, it has become established within the organisation.

The Approach

censhare was already familiar with agility - but their previous experience was based on the local use of Scrum. When the company was smaller, this had worked. But now they had to faced the challenge of scaling their organisation to meet the expansion of their business. The local use of Scrum was no longer sufficient.

The company had grown to over 150 people in a relatively short time and was experiencing the effects of exceeding the Dunbar number (approx. 150 employees): this is the "mental limit" of the number of people with whom an individual can maintain social relationships. The individual loses track of the network of colleagues.

A quote from Walter Bauer, CTO of censhare, illustrates the pain point precisely: "I used to have regular personal contact with everyone in the company, but now it's even difficult to maintain this within my own department".

After attending a Leading SAFe training, Walter decided to introduce the Scaled Agile Framework at censhare to consolidate agility throughout the company and prepare for future expansion.

Our joint concept was clear very fast: "Train everyone first, start a release train next".

The CTO and a product owner took part in our Leading SAFe training. Here we introduced them to the mindset and practices behind agile scaling using the Scaled Agile Framework.

The training provided the impetus for an important realisation: we need to adapt the "big picture" together to enable a flexible and scalable agile way of working of that not only the development will benefit, but the organisation as a whole.

Involving the management team from the start

Very many transformations fail because "management is not on board". So before we embarked on the transition journey, we went through a success-critical workshop with censhare executives. The goal was to discuss agility and scalability, align expectations and manage them. After the workshop, we had executive commitment and the green light to implement scaled Lean Agile practices and thus also passed the first major milestone along the way.

Before Censchare could focus on scaling, one important component was still missing: The further development of the agile core strengths of all development teams. Over a period of months, we trained and coached the Scrum teams to develop team potential and prepare them to work with multiple teams. We also trained the teams on how to run the new meetings and the mindset behind scaling. To complete the preparatory training, we trained all Scrum Masters to become Certified Scrum Masters (CSM).

Strengthening agile core competences

Product management training

Product management training. Before we could now devote ourselves to the core topic of scaling, one last preparation step was on the agenda:

In order to bring the entire product management of censhare under one roof, we designed a combination of two-day certification training and sensibly complementary coaching. With this intensive coaching, we were able to support the product managers in preparing the entire backlog.

Now all the preparation steps were completed and together we could start with the scaling of the censhare organisation. A central component of this is PI Planning, in which the goals for the next 10 weeks are set. Before we carried out the first real PI Planning, we practised the process, concept, moderation and goal setting in an intensive training session. Later, this step turned out to be an essential success factor for the first PI Planning.

This meant that all further preparations had been made: The first censhare release train could start.


Portfolio management

To complete the overall concept, one last component was missing: portfolio management. One of the tools we used here was a portfolio kanban. The backlog at portfolio level became more transparent and demand and capacity could be better aligned.

With the addition of portfolio management measures, we have been able to complete the big picture for scaling the censhare organisation and have paved the way for healthy and steady growth of the organisation.

Sustainable changes at censhare

The positive effects of the SAFe implementation and our support were numerous. Walter Bauer, CTO of censhare, passed on the most important ones to us:

And the attractiveness as an employer is also increasing: Good developers expect a modern methodology. We can prove to our applicants that we take agile principles seriously and offer training paths for certified product owners and scrum masters. The fact that we follow a clear agile path definitely makes a difference.

Key Learnings

#1 Get corporate management on board

Get the commitment of your management at the beginning of your Agile transformation.

#2 Enablement of employees

By training your employees, you invest directly in the future. And increase your attractiveness as an employer at the same time.

#3 Invest in team spirit

Proud, satisfied employees develop the most incredible products and help to overcome boundaries.

Lead Coach

How do we want to start?

Our offer is as individual as your task. Talk to us, we listen. We take the time to understand your situation. Holistically. Without obligation. Promise.

Arrange a consultation today.

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