Financial services providers all have digital capabilities. That is a given.
But to accelerate transformation and fend off the FinTechs most firms recognise that adopting an agile, iterative developmental approach can unlock the speed, scale, flexibility and resilience they need to keep competitors at bay.
Building game-changing products and delivering a differentiated customer / user experience requires new ways of working. The benefits of agile project delivery – high quality products, reduced costs and faster times to value and market are understood. But skill and knowledge gaps, a lack of executive sponsorship, strategic and operational silos and culture clashes often means that agile projects fail to get off the ground or they hit the buffers.
To overcome these challenges, businesses are looking at adopting a new ecosystem of agile outsourcing partners and in-house teams to transition from legacy systems, update architectures and shift mind sets underpinned by legacy attitudes. If this sounds like your business, what do you need to know to prepare the ground and what do you need to look for in a partner?
Consider this your 4-step agility roadmap
#1 Be clear about your outsourcing objective
Sounds obvious but ask ten CTOs the reasons why agile projects fail and you’ll get probably ten slightly different answers. Inexperience in agile methodology or a lack of best practice knowledge will always be up there. But there will also be common ground on other sticking points: insufficient management support, lack of product ownership, silo mentalities, poor communication etc. An agile partner will help you overcome these challenges.
#2 Understanding your project objectives
Everything will flow from understanding how a project is defined. To prepare the ground, all project stakeholders will need to think about how the product or solution will enhance the user / customer experience or add business value. Whatever the project, it should align with your overarching digital strategy to demonstrate value up the line.
#3 Finding the right partner
Ok so now we’ve got down to the nitty-gritty of what you need to look for. Here’s a very quick checklist to help you test the mettle of a truly agile partner.
- Flexible resourcing – is your partner able to provide agility expertise on demand?
- Expertise – again this sounds obvious but you’ll need to know that the IT consultants you work with are agility Ninjas before you start sprinting. Will a Scrum master be assigned to every project to bring next-level expertise too?
- Reality checks – will your partner help you be realistic about what you can achieve and help you prioritise budget and resource to meet your objectives?
- Collaboration – will your project manager use a project management tool like Jira to collaborate openly and transparently on tasks, milestones, problem solving and project blockers?
- Accountability – will the project manager stay accountable throughout the life cycle of the project?
- Stakeholder training – is training provided to help stakeholders across the business understand the benefits of an agile methodology?
#4 What does success look like?
Agile project delivery means you are evaluating your project at incremental stages and embarking on a continuous cycle of improvement. So you’ll probably focus on how your new outsourcing partner will help you improve process metrics: time to market, on-time delivery, product quality, predictability etc. But don’t forget to think about the positive business outcomes – higher customer satisfaction scores, more app downloads or more website conversations for example.
We hope you’ve found this helpful. We’re here if you need our help.