About Coles Payments Services

Coles Group, Australia’s second largest Supermarket Chain has been a household name in Australia for over 100 years. Having recently separated from Wesfarmers and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX: COL), Coles Group has been dedicated to delivering quality, value, and service to Aussie families, making life easier for the 21 million Australian customers who shop with them each week. In late 2018, Coles Group officially completed their demerger from Wesfarmers. As a result of the demerger, there were a lot of changes that took place including in the establishment of the Coles Payment Services division (formally known as Coles Financial Services) – a large group of dedicated team members servicing Coles, Coles subsidiaries and Coles Partners (Officeworks, Target, Kmart, etc.) with merchant products and services. That is, Coles Group operate their own Payments platform; much like a Bank Merchant Acquiring payments business.

As a result of the demerger from Wesfarmers Group, Payment Services, a department of Coles Group, experienced significant change and complexities impacting its technology, business, delivery model, size, and identity. Agile Management Office’s professional services were engaged to assess and establish a best practice delivery governance capability, as well as setting up a central function for the delivery and governance of Projects and Programs. We established a model and framework that would underpin a new Coles Payments operating model and help put them in a great position to execute efficiently and effectively as they move toward their vision of being a world class payment services business.

The Payment Services team is led by the Head of Payments, Shane Harris and Head of Finance Technology, Robert Magnanini; both responsible for creating customer payment experiences that are simple, convenient and efficient for Coles Group and its customers, ensuring alignment and support of the broader Coles Purpose and Strategy.

The Challenge: Managing Projects and Governance

Coles Payment Services underwent significant changes impacting its technology, business, and identity as a result of the demerger. In continuation of this change to improve and excel in today’s landscape, Agile Management Office (AMO) was engaged to assess and assist in establishing a best practice delivery and governance capability. Using AMO’s proven method, we commenced a detailed assessment which identified the following backdrop of pre-existing challenges contributing to the complexities of establishing a best practice delivery governance capability:

  • Complexities and new requirements in business dealings derived from the demerger,
  • Existing Brands (i.e. Target, Officeworks, Kmart, etc.) becoming newly added customers added strain on existing resources,
  • Resource & Leadership Changes,
  • Payment Services Size, Scale & Silo Working Culture, and
  • Poor visibility and profiling of the newly established Coles Payment Services Function and how it fits into the organisational structure.

As a result of a significant demerger program and substantial growth in such little time, Coles Payment Services were experiencing several changes and growing pains to their delivery and operations. The purpose of running this project was to define and implement a best-practice delivery and governance capability, in the form of a highly collaborative team that supports delivery of projects from ideation through to successful closure. The project was not without its complexities. Coles Payment Services, whilst somewhat disparate from the rest of Coles Group, forms part of a much larger organisation and must adhere to a suite of standards and rules set out by the organisation. The goal was to assist in the development of a centralised function for the delivery and governance of Projects and Programs within Payment Services. A Framework was also to be delivered, which would underpin the operating model of Payment Services into the future.

The Solution: Establish a Specialised Team for Portfolio Harmonisation

With a clear vision and demand for this new internal function and supporting framework, Agile Management Office utilised its proprietary methodology, set out on a deep dive to better understand the issues facing the team.

Through our intensive review, we made over 300 actionable observations. Using outputs from our assessment, we devised a Minimum Value Proposition (MVP) for Coles Payment Services to focus on the challenges that will drive operational effectiveness and maximise return on investment.

The Agile Management Office team worked collaboratively and transparently with Coles team members by utilising virtual sprints; ran workshops with the relevant stakeholders to align all members on the current processes and work with them in the definition of new processes in order to address issues and opportunities and to ensure that they embraced them. The capabilities were defined and workshopped with relevant members. To keep the teams, lean and agile, we defined virtual teams for each capability area; balancing the numbers and client representation to ensure we made quick but knowledgeable decisions, empowering the individuals whilst transferring our knowledge and capabilities to them. We instituted a centralised knowledge centre leveraging existing technology and introduced the ‘Payment Services Governance Framework’ including a suite of documents and processes that underpinned every capability.

Results: Enhanced Collaboration, Improved Transparency, and Cultural Uplift

When it comes to measuring success, and in addition to collecting metrics from implemented processes, the AMO team like to seek direct feedback from our customers. Feedback was collected at all stakeholder levels and consolidated it into a single view. We rolled out the newly established Framework, one that would continue to evolve and mature over time (as part of the Coles commitment to continuous improvement).

Whilst doing so we also asked team members throughout the engagement, to complete short surveys and provide feedback so that we could optimise and improve our roll out strategy in real time. This helped ensure maximum success. The purpose of our surveys was to demonstrate evidencing progress against issues and roadblocks, positive impacts the rollout was having and collaboration.

The evidence was clear. By the end of the rollout, and having faced challenges caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic, the pulse check scores were significantly improved. Over 73% responded that positive impacts were experienced by the roll out of the Framework and addressing over 90% of the 300 items identified during our initial assessment. Rather than meeting the planned outcomes of the Project, we exceeded them and met the Project on time and on budget with no change requests required during the engagement. In turn we helped Payment Services reduce bottlenecks, increase maturity to a level 3 and improve their employee satisfaction by 15% in less than a year, 8% above the Coles Group wide average!

Client Feedback & Testimonials

When asked to comment on AMO’s outputs, Project Sponsor Head of Payment Services, Shane Harris said “The work delivered by the AMO team will put is in a great position to execute efficiently as we move toward our vision of a world class payment services business.”

Stuart Baker, Senior Manager Design and Demand (and owner of the newly established Portfolio Support Team) stated that “AMO provided a great service in the rollout of the Coles Payments Governance Framework. We could not have done it without them.” Baker continued that “Collaboration, lifting the covers off what we do, alignment with executive and senior leadership, creating an understanding on why we have governance” were all aspects of why the AMO project was a success.


As a result of the demerger from Wesfarmers Group, Payment Services, a department of Coles Group, experienced significant change and complexities impacting its technology, business, delivery model, size, and identity.


Underwent a detailed capability assessment process, developed out an end to end framework and aligned governance, projects and strategy.


We established a model and framework that would underpin their operating model and help put them in a great position to execute efficiently as they move toward their vision of a world class payments services business.