This photo was taken pre-corona.
ING is always working to improve its banking applications for mobile and desktop devices. That’s why Chapter Leads Haritha and Wojciech joined forces on the One Web / One App project. Haritha works for ING Netherlands and Wojciech for ING Belgium. To get ING’s new banking apps up and running they cross borders virtually every day.
You’re working together on the One Web / One App project. What’s that about?
Our tribes develop and manage ING’s banking apps for mobile devices and desktops. In the past ING has been running different banking applications in every country. But that is changing. As a result, our customers will experience the best possible customer journey. The great thing is that by having just one app for Belgium and the Netherlands, it will ‘connect you to freedom’. And that’s also our motto, our purpose.
What do you mean by freedom?
Our customers should be free to do their banking anywhere, anytime they want, in whatever way will fit them perfectly. And that thinking doesn’t apply to customers only. It’s also about creating the right environment for all our employees. We believe everyone should be free to work in the ways that suit them – to free them up to build the career of their dreams.
What do the tribes look like?
We have about 410 engineers working closely together at ING Belgium and ING Netherlands. They are split into two tribes with 50 chapters and about 80 squads. One tribe focuses on digital retail applications, the other one on digital business banking.
Both countries work closely on most projects. However, we also work with other countries and external parties. How we do this depends on the needs of each project. On One Web / One App for example, we work closely with engineers from Spain, India and Romania.
So, you can see how we always make sure we have the right people working on the right jobs. The important thing is that we want to roll the app out as a combined app for both countries, so both parties have been involved right from the start.
Is it an efficient way of working?
Yes, it is. Initially, we wanted our teams to get to know each other properly and make sure everyone was on the same page. That resulted in a lot of train travel between both countries. It was always our intention to switch to connecting remotely after a while.
Covid 19 only speeded things up on that end. It’s just as efficient as everyone working in the same building. And since our ultimate goal is to launch our applications globally, it’s a great thing to have people from all over the world working on them.
What are your biggest milestones in this project so far?
First we launched a pilot version of our new banking app for our colleagues and their families to test it out. This was a huge step towards getting the application ready for the market, because we were able to monitor the feedback we were getting, which helped us refine the app. Now we are finishing the roll out of the new retail banking app to all customers in Belgium.
What technologies do your engineers use to create the apps?
Back end engineers work with Java 8 but we will switch to Java 11 soon. We use Spring Boot framework, and follow test driven development. We also implemented functional programming paradigms. Additionally, we use Linux and shell scripting.
On the front-end, we work with Polymer and Web Components. We like to give our engineers the freedom and encouragement to explore new technologies that ING may be able to implement in the future. In fact, we just formed a new team that focuses on clearing legacy and seeing how we can bring in new technologies. Right now we are exploring options to migrate to cloud technologies.
What are the next steps for the One Web / One App project?
We are releasing the new digital retail app in Belgium as we speak. Then we will roll it out in other countries as well. And why not all over the world? Of course we will keep adding new features and improve existing ones. All based on the feedback of our customers. And we also want to open it up to business banking as well. There’s still a lot to look forward to.
I love the combination of technology and working with people with different backgrounds and needs. It requires a lot of tuning and adapting, but it gives me a lot of energy.
Also, ING cares about its people. The way they handle Covid 19 really makes us feel safe. We get the freedom to come up with our own ideas, to learn and to grow. And there is plenty of time to celebrate successes and have fun with all these great people.
Even in the Covid-19 times, teams try to keep up the spirit and make online collaboration fun. Next to work meetings, we organize little games or virtual coffee meetings.
I also love working agile. We can release new functionalities and apps fast and gradually. That makes it more interesting for us as engineers. The job also comes with a lot of variety. I combine coaching with improving how we work and concrete projects. Every day is different!