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Case Study

Regional Bank's Agility Entices Next Generation Bankers

How do you attract more millennial customers to your bank? They are, after all, the workforce of the future; and more and more the money-earners of today.

Digital Channels help drive growth

For a regional bank in San Francisco, it was all about launching Digital Channels and creating digital solutions such as mobile and online banking apps that would appeal to a demographic that is changing the way people bank.

“One of the key drivers of Digital Channels is to attract millennials in order to grow banking households,” said Jay Johnson, Motion National Agile Practice Director.

Getting there required a more modern approach to product design and software development. The bank was primarily following a waterfall approach, and most of their software applications were being developed by external software vendors. Improving speed to market was proving difficult; business and IT management wanted solutions released faster while maintaining the high quality determined through their Net Promoter Score outcome. Management agreed that building a more responsive approach that can be practically implemented was the way to go. They decided to develop five longstanding and autonomous feature teams, including a Platform Team for technical debt work. The software vendors were aligned with the bank teams to follow a hybrid Scrum and Kanban approach while meeting bank regulation and compliance requirements. And lastly, a Product Management team was created to lead the product delivery prioritization and product discovery innovation.

Establishing an Agile Center of Excellence

“We had experimented with Agile before, but most of it was internally facing,” said Andrew G., the bank’s new Agile Center of Excellence Program Director.

Motion was brought in to increase the Agile adoption rate by adding coaches, providing training, and helping to establish an Agile Center of Excellence (CoE).

Jay Johnson and his team went right to work. “We did a discovery, a five-day Agile session, and then went immediately into coaching,” said Johnson. “We were agile in our implementation of Agile across the organization. We worked with the PMO to create a CoE and built a roadmap that would help them with their product strategy.”

“Teams that have been running with it for a couple of years are looking at concepts of scale. The Digital Channels group is now handling all types of flavors of banking that we have here. We would not have been able to scale up the way we have without Motion," said Andrew.

The CoE works with any business unit that wants to increase their effectiveness and responsiveness, or any team that wants to explore new techniques.

The Agile adoption roadmap provides a clear journey narrative with tactical actions around coaching needs, train-the-trainer needs, technology needs, key role needs, bimodal method implementations, and change management needs.

Motion provided a customized five-day immersive Agile Camp for various teams, followed immediately by mentoring and coaching.

“I don’t think we could have done it on our own. When we started, it was only me and one other person attempting to build the CoE. Motion was instrumental in helping us grow and foster acceptance.”

Andrew G., Agile CoE Program Director

As in many change management situations, there was some initial resistance. One key part of the transformation was to get individuals as well as the organization to organically grow and want to become more agile. Developing and implementing Communities of Practice, Online Practice and Communication with CoE Accelerators, Lunch and Learns, Leadership Awareness Training, and sharing successful results were key to organically growing the transformation.

Learning forums produce passionate advocates

“When we asked who wants to take this Certified Scrum Master course, so many people wanted to do it that we didn’t have enough room for everyone,” said Johnson. “We also provided lunch and learns that had the same type of attendance. The tremendous interest in these activities demonstrated that agility was a very popular topic,” he added.

A permanent “community of practice” group was established. Once a month, the community of practice for Scrum Masters meets and discusses techniques and new projects to work on. They also serve as advocates for other teams within the organization that want to increase their agility.

Agile becoming more integrated and scalable

After three years, Agile has been firmly established and continues to grow within the bank. Motion continues to work with them on performing more complex, integrated projects.