Aug 13, 2021
This week, Dan Neumann is joined
by Brian Pivar, Senior Director of Data and Analytics at
Kraft Heinz Company. There is a lot of Agile in the software
community and Kraft Heinz is one of the companies practicing the
In this episode, Brian shares
extensively about his career at Kraft and how he started the
digital revolution in the organization, promoting a culture change
and encouraging different ways of functioning through Agile. Brian
dives deep into his approach regarding recruiting and developing
talent, as well as emphasizes the importance of following solid
leadership principles that he details during this thoughtful
- Brian describes how Kraft got into the Agile
- Brian joined Kraft three years ago to lead the
Data and Analytics section with the goal of bringing analytics to a
more legacy company. The first two years they had a waterfall
approach, hearing the organization’s needs and prioritizing the top
ones while building a strong data foundation and team.
- One year ago, Kraft started the Digital
Revolution journey and part of it was starting to run Agile in the
- Now ten pods are running Agile with over 100
people, and Kraft is planning to double these numbers in one
- There is a plan to extend Agile to other
sectors of the organization.
- How did Kraft get support for the timeline they
- The board of directors was the one supporting
the migration to become a more digital organization from the
- There is a five-year road map, if you try to
rush the process it won’t be successful.
- What are the aspects where alignment is needed?
How to enable a team to respond to a local context?
- Some of the staff have the technical knowledge
and they are learning more about Agile in the process, through
meetings and effective communication.
- All the conversion to Agile and digitalization
was done virtually, based on collaboration among staff, not always
- Listening to every idea is crucial to know what
will and won’t work for a team.
- How does Kraft enable a unique
- Brian was hired to enable a culture
- Brian protects his team by stating how they
will perform in a different way than the rest of the organization,
following solid leadership principles in micro and macro levels: 1.
Family first. 2. Hiring develops the best. 3. Big bold bets. 4. Let
builders build. 5. Best idea wins. 6. Ownership. 7. Learn and be
curious. 8. Lead by example. 9. Validated learning.
- At Kraft, they built a structure for builders,
from an Associate Data Scientist to Data Scientist, Senior Data
Scientist, Staff Data Scientist until Principal Data Scientist,
this last one being a highly regarded position. They are also
making the transition easier for those who want a pivot in their
- Recruiting and developing talent
- Brian’s five-year plan includes making Kraft be
seen as a tech company, not just a CPG company.
- Hiring young talent and developing it within
the organization once the company has hit a steady
- The culture is impacted by people working from
their homes and not in an office with all the teammates, and Kraft
adapted to these new circumstances through a buddy
Mentioned in this Episode:
Kraft Heinz Company
Your Next Five Moves: Master
the Art of Business Strategy, Patrick Bet-David
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