Kate Cordell, Client Director

Adapting quickly to changing conditions requires new systems and ways of working that help you move rapidly and cost effectively. But how do you transform without disruption? And what is the best way to turn change into a competitive advantage?

The Waterfall model and reliance on manual testing can waste valuable time and cause significant bottlenecks. So how does transitioning to an iterative process, with regular feedback loops, help transform your bank?

Transforming business value through agility

The successful adoption of Agile models can deliver tremendous advantages, including faster time to market, greater business value, improved customer engagement and product/service quality.

They offer businesses an excellent framework for defining, prioritising and realising business value.

Making value to the business central to the change agenda, drives individual ownership and commitment to the value outcome; it connects change teams to the priorities of the business and its customers. Success is based on value delivered, not work done, or assets created, by the teams.

We’ve partnered with leading banking organisations to implement a “User Stories to Value” operating model, applying attributes of:

  • LEAN
  • DevOps
  • Spotify
  • SAFe
  • LeSS
  • Management 3.0

That experience has helped us identify some common challenges and effective solutions.

Operating Models

Agile transformation establishes fit for purpose operating models, oriented around value. As concepts of value, as well as priorities, shift over time (driven by market and demographic forces) so too will models need to evolve and adapt. This means new team structures, new ways of working staffed by people with the right mindset; a mindset that embraces change and a culture of continuous innovation. All of this can mean a painful and uncomfortable transition for the impacted individuals.

Culture and Mindset

It is common for change initiatives to come up against resistance at several levels within an organisation. Changing mindsets and behaviours means taking radical action, whilst acknowledging and mitigating the associated risks.

Flattening management hierarchies requires courage, but can be highly effective in creating cohesive and highly connected teams; it removes the inclination to recreate old territorial boundaries and fiefdoms under new labels.

Experienced change agents, familiar with typical pitfalls and behavioural “anti-patterns”, can provide timely guidance and reassurance along the change journey. We have mobilised “T-shaped” coaches, to partner with client leaders; together they prove highly effective at helping teams understand the “why” of the change and at driving wholehearted adoption.

Team Structures, Ways of Working

Organisations can struggle to get the right representation of the business and customer domains within delivery teams, particularly where change is delivered by a separate technology organisation.

Agile transformation initiatives can stand or fall based on the level of engagement across the change eco-system. The product owner role is pivotal in this regard; it needs to reflect a strong awareness of the eco-system roles and functions that can impact value to the customer, and to the business. For example, issues can arise where business and IT operational teams are underestimated or overlooked, ultimately impacting the customer experience, operational and support effort and overheads.

Product owners need to ensure that user stories, and their acceptance criteria, reflect the domains that directly and indirectly impact the customer.

Architecture and Infrastructure

In our experience, technical capability (assets, tools, infrastructure, skills) can either significantly frustrate or liberate value potential.

Organisations that commit to DevOps as a delivery model, often underestimate the investment required in operational skills and tooling. The right partner can kick start the process by developing a transformation roadmap, tailored to your appetite for investment and risk. A clear set of value-based options, aligned to your business and technology stack, will support your decision making.

A key challenge for IT organisations is demonstrating to the business that they can provide the technology agility that supports their ambitions. Market pressures can be significant on the business to pursue “shadow IT” when their in-house technology teams are slow to respond.  An effective approach can be a multi-speed technology roadmap that accelerates agility where it matters most to the business. We can help shape and optimise the journey to value for IT.

This is an excerpt from our latest report: Preparing for tomorrow, today. Download your copy here.

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