Incorporating and embracing agile transformation is no longer a “nice to have” for businesses, it’s a must—especially for financial services companies.

While becoming agile is important for all businesses, it has become more crucial than ever for the financial services industries. Banks, credit-card companies, credit unions, stock brokerages, investment funds, etc., are increasingly facing competition from leaders in digital services like Google and Apple. Today’s consumers are seeking simpler and more innovative financial services and products—and the companies that are the quickest to meet those needs will win out in the end.

In order for financial services companies to keep their services in demand, they must embrace agile transformation.
Unfortunately, many financial service companies believe that they’re too large to adopt agile methodologies. This is simply not the case. Instead, it’s a matter of making key changes to internal business processes and using agile tools to run every day procedures.

Avoiding culture shock

One thing a traditional business can encounter while shifting to an agile approach is resistance to change. There may be some culture shock when trying to introduce agile—especially if the business has always been traditionally structured with a waterfall-style hierarchy of management.

Overall, the best way to introduce agile transformation is to avoid rolling out a large company-wide initiative.

Creating small, nimble teams

To further avoid culture shock, companies will need to create small, cross-functional teams to “pilot” the agile transformation. These teams will need to work together to build trust in the organization at large.

From a high-level perspective, these teams are working to decouple the institution and the technology driving it. The teams will eventually span across all important aspects of the enterprise, enabling your business to be agile at scale.

Beating predictability

Financial institutions often run the risk of spending too much time with long-term planning. The downfall to this approach is that the strategies/projects will become obsolete as soon as they’re completed.

This is more crucial in the client experience space where a product or service—like online banking or mobile trading apps—can quickly become outdated.

Instead, focus on short-run sprints to meet objectives. This will allow your teams to pivot if and when they encounter a disruption.

Starting with a specific project

For financial services institutions, it’s best to get started with a project or program that can benefit from a versatile team. In some cases, we’ve noticed that projects that start with a data source and are centered on improving reporting through a digital channel tend to work best.

Presenting clean data

A clean set of data, along with a digital tool to visually present it, can allow financial institutions to quickly and efficiently make business decisions. On-the-go decision-making based on reliable data is what keeps a company nimble and ready to weather coming changes.

Choosing between scrum and kanban

Ideally, you need a place to start when it comes to implementing agile in your decoupled cross-functional team. The first step is deciding on scrum or kanban.

  • Scrum works best with development and weekly sprints for a large complex project.
  • Kanban is great for continuous tasks and managing workload for teams in a specific step.

Choosing the appropriate governance is key to the success of the transformation.

Leveraging disruptive partners

Agile is not an out-of-the-box methodology or process—it may take companies years to find their stride and there will always be room for improvements. This is where a disruptive partner, like Centric Digital, can help to change the culture and expedite the process.