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Agile Transformation In A Financial Company: A Case Study

In today’s digital economy, Agile is not just confined to the IT and Development domains. Today, Financial sectors even made a headway towards implementing the Agile methodology. At the point, when any financial service decides to go Agile, it bodes well for the progress to be executed in stages.    According to one recent study made by the Harvard Business Review (hbr),  around four-fifths of the respondents said that they are successfully executing Agile methodology in the crucial part of the vital business frames. Below image will specify those crucial business functions-   Discussed below is the case study on ‘Agile transformation in a Financial services company’. It is a story of how Agile practices and principles helped a global financial company towards achieving better business agility. Company Profile The client is a global financial institution with offices spread across Asia and US. Inspired by the success stories that Agile Transformation brought, and with an objective to improve time-to-market for applications delivered this company attempted in bringing added value to both business lines and clients. They chose the Agile framework for the purpose.  While the company showed a lot of interest to bring in change, they also realised that achieving benefits with Agile Transformation would be no small deal, given the complexities of their organization structure, product management, budgeting and the existing waterfall practices that were thriving within the teams! The company realized very soon that in order to have an Agile transformation, at first, they need to build an Agile mindset!  So, the company decided to introduce some external coaches who can help in the journey of transforming to Agile ways of working. Our expert coaches worked with them to address this tricky situation using a multi-pronged, organization-wide approach to help the client teams build their positive experiences, step by step.  Engagement Type Process and Technical Coaching. Business Challenge Finding a way to respond to an increasingly changing competitive landscape, including a much larger direct competitor. Technical Challenge To find the ways to overcome the industry-related challenges with practices that help deliver high-value applications faster and frequently, leading to improved time to market. The Burning Platform Slow-down in making releases and lack of innovation. Key drivers for slow-down are- Detailed Document Requirements  Complex Quarterly planning Domain bottlenecks Developer Context Switching Phase-gate approach to Software Development Integrating Testing Cycles Goals of Transformation Frequent high-value releases, faster speed to market, sustainable transformation, Better follow-through on execution, higher quality.   Proposed Solution “Big Bang” enterprise transformation to address business imperatives for increasing customer focus and pace of innovation. This decision was due to the high degree of interdependence between the teams and the need to establish an enterprise operational framework for staffing, delivery, and governance. Sprint Cadence was common for all the Scrum Teams Common ALM Tool for all the Scrum teams Setting up the Agile Coaching Office External Coaches – Initially Coaches were mapped to BU’s and later the Coaches were assigned at the Program level which resulted in better ROI from Coaches Assess the current situation and rally leadership around an organization-wide change roadmap. Design a plan leveraging Scrum, XP, Lean Startup and other change approaches and techniques and begin execution. Started with Scrum then introduced XP in the teams. Lean startup approach was taken for Product Management which helped only in building features for which the customers were interested in the product. Adjust the plan as needed, scale out small successes, and offer recommendations for sustaining results. Help client initiate culture shifts throughout the organization Setup the Enterprise Transformation Dashboard to assess the progress and monitor the ROI from Transformation Internal Coaches Competency Development Program – To develop internal coaches for sustaining the transformation effort Launch interactive community practices within the organization for teams to learn by sharing Benefits (What Client Got) Our expert coaches worked with them to address long-standing issues delivering high-quality products to the market quickly and consistently. With our guidance, they finally saw the positive and long-lasting effects of a successful Agile transformation that enabled them to visualize— and hopefully, achieve—a nearly limitless future. Together, the Director of IT and our coaches looked at high-level strategies for reducing cycle time, improving the quality of both the existing and future code base, eliminating silos of information, demonstrating what Agile leadership looks like, and ensuring program leadership participated in the decision-making regarding changes on the technology side. A comprehensive assessment of the client’s cultural and business baseline, from which to work toward an organization-wide culture, delivery, and leadership shift Increased visibility into product delivery obstacles Drastically decreased delivery cycle time, removing an “integration window” Workflow and technical training and coaching to stand up high-performance teams Program coaching to ensure leadership decisions supported transformation goals and objectives Visible improvement in the overall quality of production code as well as test code Coaches partnered with software engineers to blend roles and set teams on a path toward becoming more cross-functional—a key ingredient in all high-yield software teams. Software Craftsmanship by using Agile Engineering Practices Delivering high-quality consumable value quickly before the relevant market opportunity is past Advising leadership and helping lead the transformation program, implementing just-in-time changes so that the company could excel in a rapidly changing business landscape Looking for opportunities to align people and processes to ensure continuous improvement Leading the coaching community in the execution of the change management program by involving company’s leadership in Coaching office operations Restructuring the thinking and organizational execution patterns so that portfolio planning and execution is used to manage key initiatives Teams also started delivering monitoring and automation frameworks that implemented continuous integration and automated deployment. Created a portfolio leadership team to manage and implement one Product Backlog with multiple Product Owners Working with HR to define the roles Facilitating conversations between business and IT helping them visualize the work being done Limiting team work-in-progress to help them focus on the products that are most important to the bottom line All parties were able to see the release from a program point of view and to truly understand that the goal of every department is to satisfy and delight customers. Our coaches also delivered several Lean Startup workshops to the product strategy innovation group. These one-to-two-day sessions are designed to help company leaders choose future products and investment opportunities. One of the biggest initial wins for the systems teams was a shortened delivery cycle. What used to take months now took weeks. Quality improved too. One of the was our coaches helped the team in accomplishing this was by introducing teams to continuous integration. Fruit of the Transformation In the wake of executing the Agile technique in the financial territories, organizations started experiencing: Delivery cycles tremendously reduced Teams implementing continuous integration, continuous deployment and some teams working toward continuous delivery Teams releasing consumable value in smaller increments of better quality faster Improved alignment between teams and between department groups Transformed company culture, extending Agility beyond software teams This, exactly, is what we achieved through our Agile transformation. This is not to say that we helped the team eliminate their existing limitations completely. Our Agile efforts essentially made every impediment visible and helped the team to work in unison towards a common goal.  Is your team ready for a similar Agile transformation?

Agile Transformation In A Financial Company: A Case Study

1K
Agile Transformation In A Financial Company: A Case Study

In today’s digital economy, Agile is not just confined to the IT and Development domains. Today, Financial sectors even made a headway towards implementing the Agile methodology. At the point, when any financial service decides to go Agile, it bodes well for the progress to be executed in stages.   

According to one recent study made by the Harvard Business Review (hbr),  around four-fifths of the respondents said that they are successfully executing Agile methodology in the crucial part of the vital business frames. Below image will specify those crucial business functions-

 

Discussed below is the case study on ‘Agile transformation in a Financial services company’. It is a story of how Agile practices and principles helped a global financial company towards achieving better business agility.

Company Profile

The client is a global financial institution with offices spread across Asia and US. Inspired by the success stories that Agile Transformation brought, and with an objective to improve time-to-market for applications delivered this company attempted in bringing added value to both business lines and clients. They chose the Agile framework for the purpose. 

While the company showed a lot of interest to bring in change, they also realised that achieving benefits with Agile Transformation would be no small deal, given the complexities of their organization structure, product management, budgeting and the existing waterfall practices that were thriving within the teams!

The company realized very soon that in order to have an Agile transformation, at first, they need to build an Agile mindset! 

So, the company decided to introduce some external coaches who can help in the journey of transforming to Agile ways of working. Our expert coaches worked with them to address this tricky situation using a multi-pronged, organization-wide approach to help the client teams build their positive experiences, step by step. 

Engagement Type

Process and Technical Coaching.

Business Challenge

Finding a way to respond to an increasingly changing competitive landscape, including a much larger direct competitor.

Technical Challenge

To find the ways to overcome the industry-related challenges with practices that help deliver high-value applications faster and frequently, leading to improved time to market.

The Burning Platform

Slow-down in making releases and lack of innovation. Key drivers for slow-down are-

  • Detailed Document Requirements 
  • Complex Quarterly planning
  • Domain bottlenecks
  • Developer Context Switching
  • Phase-gate approach to Software Development
  • Integrating Testing Cycles

Goals of Transformation

Frequent high-value releases, faster speed to market, sustainable transformation, Better follow-through on execution, higher quality.

 

Proposed Solution

  • “Big Bang” enterprise transformation to address business imperatives for increasing customer focus and pace of innovation. This decision was due to the high degree of interdependence between the teams and the need to establish an enterprise operational framework for staffing, delivery, and governance.
  • Sprint Cadence was common for all the Scrum Teams
  • Common ALM Tool for all the Scrum teams
  • Setting up the Agile Coaching Office
  • External Coaches – Initially Coaches were mapped to BU’s and later the Coaches were assigned at the Program level which resulted in better ROI from Coaches
  • Assess the current situation and rally leadership around an organization-wide change roadmap.
  • Design a plan leveraging Scrum, XP, Lean Startup and other change approaches and techniques and begin execution. Started with Scrum then introduced XP in the teams. Lean startup approach was taken for Product Management which helped only in building features for which the customers were interested in the product.
  • Adjust the plan as needed, scale out small successes, and offer recommendations for sustaining results.
  • Help client initiate culture shifts throughout the organization
  • Setup the Enterprise Transformation Dashboard to assess the progress and monitor the ROI from Transformation
  • Internal Coaches Competency Development Program – To develop internal coaches for sustaining the transformation effort
  • Launch interactive community practices within the organization for teams to learn by sharing

Benefits (What Client Got)

  • Our expert coaches worked with them to address long-standing issues delivering high-quality products to the market quickly and consistently. With our guidance, they finally saw the positive and long-lasting effects of a successful Agile transformation that enabled them to visualize— and hopefully, achieve—a nearly limitless future.
  • Together, the Director of IT and our coaches looked at high-level strategies for reducing cycle time, improving the quality of both the existing and future code base, eliminating silos of information, demonstrating what Agile leadership looks like, and ensuring program leadership participated in the decision-making regarding changes on the technology side.
  • A comprehensive assessment of the client’s cultural and business baseline, from which to work toward an organization-wide culture, delivery, and leadership shift
  • Increased visibility into product delivery obstacles
  • Drastically decreased delivery cycle time, removing an “integration window”
  • Workflow and technical training and coaching to stand up high-performance teams
  • Program coaching to ensure leadership decisions supported transformation goals and objectives
  • Visible improvement in the overall quality of production code as well as test code
  • Coaches partnered with software engineers to blend roles and set teams on a path toward becoming more cross-functional—a key ingredient in all high-yield software teams.
  • Software Craftsmanship by using Agile Engineering Practices
  • Delivering high-quality consumable value quickly before the relevant market opportunity is past
  • Advising leadership and helping lead the transformation program, implementing just-in-time changes so that the company could excel in a rapidly changing business landscape
  • Looking for opportunities to align people and processes to ensure continuous improvement
  • Leading the coaching community in the execution of the change management program by involving company’s leadership in Coaching office operations
  • Restructuring the thinking and organizational execution patterns so that portfolio planning and execution is used to manage key initiatives
  • Teams also started delivering monitoring and automation frameworks that implemented continuous integration and automated deployment.
  • Created a portfolio leadership team to manage and implement one Product Backlog with multiple Product Owners
  • Working with HR to define the roles
  • Facilitating conversations between business and IT helping them visualize the work being done
  • Limiting team work-in-progress to help them focus on the products that are most important to the bottom line
  • All parties were able to see the release from a program point of view and to truly understand that the goal of every department is to satisfy and delight customers.
  • Our coaches also delivered several Lean Startup workshops to the product strategy innovation group. These one-to-two-day sessions are designed to help company leaders choose future products and investment opportunities.
  • One of the biggest initial wins for the systems teams was a shortened delivery cycle. What used to take months now took weeks. Quality improved too. One of the was our coaches helped the team in accomplishing this was by introducing teams to continuous integration.

Fruit of the Transformation

In the wake of executing the Agile technique in the financial territories, organizations started experiencing:

  • Delivery cycles tremendously reduced
  • Teams implementing continuous integration, continuous deployment and some teams working toward continuous delivery
  • Teams releasing consumable value in smaller increments of better quality faster
  • Improved alignment between teams and between department groups
  • Transformed company culture, extending Agility beyond software teams

This, exactly, is what we achieved through our Agile transformation. This is not to say that we helped the team eliminate their existing limitations completely. Our Agile efforts essentially made every impediment visible and helped the team to work in unison towards a common goal. 

Is your team ready for a similar Agile transformation?

Sandeep

Sandeep Kshirsagar

trainer

Sandeep is an Agile mentor with more than 12 years of experience as a Developer, Test Engineer, Automation Engineer, Scrum Master and an Agile Coach. He is presently working as an Agile Coach at Knowledgehut Solutions Pvt Ltd. Up until this point, he has prepared 800+ programming experts and trained more than 450+ programming experts in Agile journey at different organizations.
 

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