Customer Story – Large Financial Company Agile Adoption

Financial Service Agile Case Study:

cPrime evolves a team in the “doldrums” into a collaborative Agile culture.

 

At a Glance

Industry: Financial Services Employees:265,000 employees Interviewee: Program Manager Key Points:
  • An agile transformation at one of the largest financial services organizations in the world.
  • With the pressure of financial application complexities, company realizes faster releases and predictability.
  • A collaborative culture is created from a new agile process. cPrime given two thumbs up after selected out of three other vendors

Overview:

In an effort to understand our customer’s experience with cPrime, I’ve set out to conduct several interviews with key clients to understand the reasons for why they chose to go Agile, why they selected cPrime as a vendor and what they have noticed as the biggest benefit from performance improvement since the engagements. The interview below is with the Program Manager of one of the world’s largest financial services organizations. The Program Manager orchestrates all the development and direction of all applications. Here is their story.

Challenges:

Communication

“The biggest challenges were the communication between the teams. There was degradation in communication, in the culture of the teams. They were definitely really down in the doldrums I guess you could say.”

Inflexible releases

“We have quite a few products, and just getting them all on the same page for a release was difficult with a very waterfall fashion. It was very structured and if anybody was behind, it created almost a domino effect.”

Lacking transparency

“Because there wasn’t a lot of transparency either and that really hurt the teams because we’re removed from each other. You start to assume some incorrect things about people and about what’s going on and then, you extrapolate.”

Complexity of systems

“Since it’s a financial system of record, it adds another layer of complexity on top of having the application work with five other applications.”

Choosing Agile:

The group knew they needed to change and to change fast. They had a dysfunctional environment and it was hurting their performance. They decided to do something about it. “We had actually got a focus group together because everybody was down in the doldrums, and when I was running through that focus group, all these pain points were listed on a big spreadsheet of what everybody was dealing with, whether it was poor communication or mistrust or the releases were inflexible.” “One of the ideas that we threw out there was to try a new process because anything’s better than what we got right now.”

Choosing cPrime

The Program Manager evaluated three agile services companies; they chose cPrime because:

Coaches Expertise

“I wasn’t looking for the cheapest. I was looking for someone that’s going to do it right because this was my opportunity to make a change. I rather get it done the right way.”

Understanding of Unique Needs

“The half-day assessment was something that the other companies didn’t have baked in. cPrime wanted to understand our special circumstances.”

Responsiveness

“I’m told from my senior manager, “Make it happen,” so even the responsiveness of having someone email you back within a day really helpful”

The Value of Coaching

“One of the pitches, they wanted to do a standard two-day training session, but they didn’t actually talk about doing coaching at all and the value of that afterwards. cPrime didn’t seem to either upsell or try to downplay the importance of coaching. They just put it out there and said, “Hey, here’s what you really need to do this and to do it right.”

The Plan:

cPrime prescribed a full transformation for 80 people total.

Assessment

They conducted an initial assessment to understand the pains of the group and formulate a transformation backlog. They presented their findings to the teams and to get buy-in from executives and stakeholders.

Training

cPrime lead training courses for 45 people on the west coast and 30 on the east coast. They conducted three main trainings to align the group’s teams:
  • Agile for Teams
  • Requirements Workshops
  • ALM Tool Training

Coaching

After the trainings, they received ongoing coaching for their sprints after the training. Coaching reinforced what the teams had learned in training. “We tried to make sure that we got everybody on the same page and it was really helpful we could get the same coach to help us out in a consistent manner”

Outcome:

Improved Predictability

“I would say the biggest benefit is more predictable releases right now and there’s definitely more of a cadence with the team.”

Better Communication

“There’s better communication and the culture has definitely improved.”

Increased Transparency

“That transparency is increased and that’s helped even when there are issues. That’s helped to at least make them acceptable or a bit more understandable when you understand that each day, you’re getting an update on what it is and how it’s progressing.”

Coordination among Teams

“Probably the biggest thing that we took away is really the most practical of things, meeting on a daily basis, meeting in between teams and having that coordination, using better tools such as using JIRA as an example to help keep people on the same track.”

Evaluation of cPrime:

“I’d absolutely give cPrime a thumbs up. I think you guys did a great job. You guys have definitely done it before and you have your act together for sure. It was very professional.” “There was a lot of follow-up and I felt that that was very helpful, especially when you come into an organization, and I’m sure we’re not the only ones, where you’ve got people scrambling because of poor processes. It was very helpful, very accommodating.”