Implementing agile delivery in a global retail bank

A global retail bank had established a standalone Digital Solutions division to keep on top of the threat from fintech companies that had emerged to challenge traditional banking models. Moving to more Agile ways of working was key, whilst still adhering to established bank delivery controls. 

Challenge

The desire to show early benefit and to scale across the global regions led to the rapid growth of the Digital Solutions division. There were several different cross-functional teams, all relatively siloed, replicated across the different regional areas, with little central coordination at a portfolio level for initiative planning and execution and no common method for delivering change aligned to the bank’s standards. This led to business disconnects and a sub-optimal delivery reputation. 

 

The objective  

 

To produce a step-change in delivery cadence and reputation, transforming digital delivery to produce:  

 

  • A re-worked Agile operating model, based on a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) approach  
  • Centralised control to plan and manage a portfolio of digital delivery on the existing chosen toolset, Jira, integrating the required bank controls into the Agile operating model  
  • A more formalised approach for the provision of application business services, system and process APIs to allow more effective integration with the legacy estate.  
Approach

Project One supported in a number of roles, providing operating model, Agile transition, digital delivery and Agile portfolio and programme management expertise. We:

 

  • Deployed a team with relevant skills quickly, established senior stakeholder confidence and plugged leadership gaps  
  • Defined a strategic goal for making application Business Services available through system and process APIs, building in efficiency and standardisation to the way the new digital banking layer interacted with the legacy systems 
  • Commenced the Business Services transformation journey, implementing across a number of on and off-shore delivery centres, applying a scaled Agile approach to increase agility, reliability and repeatability  
  • Explored how the wider bank had applied their risk controls to delivery and drove a pilot to prove out how controls can be met within Agile delivery, as part of an Agile backlog 
  • Brought together the business desire to scale Agile delivery effectively and leverage their existing delivery tooling. This provided a means to direct the diverse change portfolio across 14 cross-functional domains running change initiatives in different ways  
  • Conducted a portfolio health check and Agile operating model review. 
Outcome

Brought the delivery portfolio under robust control with appropriate surrounding governance, increasing predictability and pace, whilst complying with the bank risk and controls framework. The centralised portfolio process, aligned to the Scaled Agile Framework, was defined and adopted across all 14 cross-functional teams, providing a single consistent way for each to plan, execute and centrally govern the Agile portfolio. In addition, a struggling programme to deploy a new open banking platform was rescued and delivered into production. 

“Project One has been working in the Digital Solutions area to implement a scaled agile delivery approach within the portfolio. They have been instrumental in turning the team into a successful delivery engine, balancing the need for agility with the need for control and excellence.”

Global Head of Digital Messaging

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