The west coast based credit union had been in the industry for over six decades with over 800 million assets and over 40,000 customers. The organization prides itself in helping their customers and improving their banking experience. From starting with commercial business services, they had expanded offerings to include personal banking and savings product as well. The IT organization was using JIRA for their basic project management needs.
Business division was responsible for identifying major initiatives and technology was responsible for implementation. The technology division had four major groups including development, testing, operations and project management. Management within both divisions were responsible for making key decisions; hand-offs were plenty and culture was in need of a transformation. The leadership team wanted to train their employees on Agile mindset and principles and were looking for a training partner.
Agile Brains Engagement
The initial conversations between the leadership team within the credit union and Agile Brains were very fruitful. Our team of consultants suggested starting an “Agile for Executive Leaders” workshop before moving towards Agile project management training. One of the key requests was to engage both business and technology leaders in the workshop. The Enterprise Coach from Agile Brains conducted a highly engaging session with leaders concluding that “Agile transformation” is a joint initiative and will only work with support from both departments.
A tiger team of 3 coaches was engaged to help the credit union conduct value-stream mapping workshop. Initial themes including Lending, Commercial, Personal and Savings were identified. Portfolio products were highlighted ranging from checking, premier checking, mobile banking, money market to certificate of deposits. Our team assisted the leaders to prioritize the products using a simple P1 through P4 framework built on Lean-Agile principles.
In a short period of 3 weeks, the foundation and buy-in was complete. We assisted in building cross-functional Agile teams which included representatives from business serving as product owners, developers, testers and support engineers. Each team was provided support by the program management office with a dedicated scrum master.
Agile roles were instituted and a role-based playbook was created for the credit union. Sprint 0 was launched for 3 pilot teams and iteration-based ceremonies were added to the calendar. One of the major challenges was getting the organization to start thinking about products and move away from project. Our goal was to create a product-centric value-based delivery organization.
Our team also assisted in propagating these changes into the JIRA hierarchy as well. Initially JIRA projects were setup based on functional roles (business requirements, engineering, QA, deployment and support); in the new world, JIRA projects would correspond to the different customer products the credit union was supporting.
Business Value Delivered
Agile Brains assisted the credit union for a duration of 4 months with follow on support on a per-product delivery basis. Key outcomes included:
Over 15 leaders trained in Agile and Design Thinking mindset and priciples
Over 120+ employees trained on Agile principles with custom role-based workshops
Successful creation of 6 playbooks identifying success metrics and performance indicators
Setting up the Agile transformation roadmap for the credit union with on-going as-needed support
Building cross-functional teams with increased accountability and a shift-left mindset while identifying and fixing defects early in the lifecycle
Delivery of the first ever mobile app with key minimum features in a record 8 weeks from current state to production
Creation of a centralized Agile Center of Excellence with leaders from business and technology evaluating process on a monthly basis
Use of Agile metrics including velocity, burn-down, flow diagrams and releases for future delivery needs
Decrease in time-to-market by over 34% by building minimum viable products using prioritized features and capabilities
Changing the mindset from a project-centric to a product-driven financial institution