Private Equity Investment Management Firm-

AGILE Transformation

Initial Scenario

A multinational private equity alternative investment management and financial services firm in New York City had been using Agile project management tool (JIRA) to manage their technology initiatives. With over 500 billion dollars of assets under management, delivering projects on time was the key. The firm specialized in private equity, real estate, credit and hedge fund markets and would receive technology support requests from variety of stakeholders.

 

Most teams were using Agile as their delivery methodology and cross functional teams were working tirelessly to meet all their stakeholder needs often spending 80+ hour weeks. Execution was challenging especially with supporting multiple product lines and prioritization was ad-hoc. Additionally, numerous high-priority support requests would come within sprints and had the team members constantly switching focus to meet demand. The leadership team felt the need to explore an external consulting group of Agile and JIRA experts were needed to identify ways on how they could operate with increased efficiency and productivity.

All requirements were broken into Epics, Tasks and Sub-tasks and delivery was tracked by the number of Epics delivered. Subsequently, there was lack of consistency of what defined an Epic.

How Agile Brains assisted

The Agile Brains team was asked to complete a firm-wide assessment focusing on current processes, culture and tool-usage. Our team of Agile and JIRA consultants started with an assessment with interviews of Senior Leadership teams including the CTO, the Senior Managing Directors and Senior Vice-Presidents. The assessment results showed that even though teams were using Agile, however, they had not been formally trained on Agile principles and roles. The project management tool, JIRA, had numerous data modelling challenges un-used custom fields, un-used screen schemes and un-used workflows.

 

The assessment laid out the recommended training, coaching and consulting needs of the firm. Individual team members were to go through hybrid ScrumBan training to deliver on high-priority support requests. Intake for new initiatives was instituted on monthly executions and delivery metrics were captured along with risk-tracking was captured within the tool. Retrospectives were no longer optional and a firm-wide R2 (Retrospective of Retrospectives) was implemented. The revised SDLC framework 2.0 was created and implemented for all groups within technology.

On the JIRA front, Agile Brains assisted in removing all un-used custom fields, un-used screens, schemes and workflows helping the firm build an underlying consistent scalable data-model. Permission schemes for different product lines were created allowing teams to maintain focus and avoid task-switching.

Business Value Delivered

After spending a year with the firm, the delivery landscape had changed.

 

  • Technology leadership was now using Goals and Initiatives to communicate business divisions on value delivered

  • Creation of JIRA dashboards for leadership and management reporting focusing on capacity and velocity

  • 63% of un-used custom fields were deprecated based on usage

  • Creation of a centralized JIRA steering committee which frequently meets and review all tooling requests for the firm

  • Increased developer productivity by over 40% focusing on high priority initiatives and features

  • Consistency in over 1400+ spaces and pages on Confluence used by business and technology teams

  • Support issues were separately tracked (over 1800 completed) and allowed the firm to build tiger teams for triaging support requests

  • Over 170 Projects were consolidated and archived helping create a scalable and reliable data framework

  • Use of JIRA and Confluence for HR, Finance and recruitment teams to manage requests and feature needs

 

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