DBS Bank

When DBS began their agile journey to become a digital leader, SoftEd partnered with them to support their agile transformation.


The challenge

DBS Bank is a leading financial services company in Asia. Headquartered in Singapore, it has a growing presence in the region with over 22,000 employees and 280 branches across 18 markets.

DBS is internationally recognised as a digital leader in the financial industry. It has been named ‘World’s Best Digital Bank’ by Euromoney, ‘Asia’s Best Bank’ by The Banker and Euromoney, ‘Asian Bank of the Year’ by IFR Asia and ‘Safest Bank in Asia’ by Global Finance. 

Recognising that the banking industry is being disrupted by new technologies, changing customer expectations and non-traditional competition, DBS sought to adopt an agile mindset and an adaptive approach to managing disruption and leveraging market changes.


The solution

Since early 2016, DBS has partnered with SoftEd on their agile journey to support their transformation. This has included training nearly 900 staff in agile principles and practices including agile awareness, facilitation and iteration management, product ownership, testing, exploratory testing and test automation.

“Agile is an organisational tool," says Christine Johnson, Executive Director of Technology & Operations, DBS Bank. "We wanted to look at how we can do things differently - to contextualise banking in the digital age, to bring tech beyond projects, and to understand disruption and competition as the world changes and becomes more complex and competitive."

DBS required a methodology-agnostic agile approach that was context-dependent and found SoftEd offered a wide range of agile courses from foundational programs to role-based training. "We sought awareness training to support learning by doing. We did this to set people up with the right background knowledge – the what, why and how, along with an agile mindset. We could then create a training roadmap and pathways to specific roles," said Ms Johnson.


The result

DBS is now significantly more advanced in their agile journey with high-performing teams developing and a 'one team' approach now evident.

“DBS is a 50-year old bank, with its roots as the Development Bank of Singapore, but our CEO’s vision is for a 22,000-person start-up,” said Ms Johnson.

The bank’s intention is to be customer-centric in its service design, and in doing so, to make banking invisible. The premise being that customers’ lives don’t revolve around banking – banking needs to revolve around customers’ lives instead. This has already translated to the removal of 250 million hours of customer wait time per year.

“Our focus has always been on metrics that matter, on value and on the continuous flow of work. We want brilliance at the basics and to have great outcomes at all levels,” says Ms Johnson.  “Our goal is that the customer can have more responsiveness and predictability (from the bank) and that our teams have even higher engagement – and to see quite clearly how the work they do aligns with wider strategy.”

DBS understands that its success is derived by embracing customer-driven design and disruptive technologies, and in leveraging the power of its competitive advantage – it’s people and culture.  

“We want to continue to build the culture and motivated teams required to deliver increased customer satisfaction, improved quality and improved time to market.”


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The spirit of partnership with SoftEd and DBS is paramount because it’s a real model of what we preach in terms of working together - and the principles and values of this way of working.”

Christine Johnson
Executive Director, Technology & Operations