"From Doing Agile to Being Agile Together” - One Organisation’s Foray into the World of Agile

An experience report of a large financial organisation of Being Agile

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Outline/structure of the Session

Context Setting

Who we are:

  • Large multinational providing financial services for the last 40+ years
  • Trusted brand, privately held
  • Strong technical capabilities
  • Large mainframe legacy systems

The Operating Environment:

  • Disruption in the Financial services industry
    • Accelerated rate of technological change leading to shifting customer preferences in terms of how people address their financial needs
    • New opportunities
    • Customer segmentation
  • Tightened regulatory considerations

Our Agile Journey

How we responded to the changed environment in which we operate :

  • Review of the Technology Delivery Model
  • Focus on Digital
  • Creation of governance groups to help projects adopt recommended practices and tools that facilitate the ability to respond to changing needs without being overly prescriptive about the details in a bid to retain the quality of agility (ability to respond quickly and effectively to changing needs)
  • Encouraged process innovation

What we learnt:

  • Governance forums were helpful to define and coach process and tools
  • Teams adopted the spirit of “Doing Agile”
  • Teams and people varied significantly in their understanding of what the goal of a changed way of working would entail and what it was to achieve
  • Different departments (Business and Technology) interpreted agility and adapted their processes to the same in silo resulting in process friction and delays in areas of collaboration

The Current Focus: “Being Agile Together”:

  • Concentrate on a common culture and belief system as opposed to processes and tools
  • Survey based approach to understand the challenges at various hierarchies (focus on 5 pillars)
  • Building Top level alignment (training and coaching at the top most level)
  • Driving convergence through the creation of a cross functional (Business and Technology) agile forum
  • Creating a common agile language
    • Definition of a set of common generic agile principles for Business and Technology around which techniques and practices are to be built
    • Common set of Agile Foundational Training focussing on “Being Agile”
    • Coaching

Learning Outcome

  • Importance of Being Agile
  • Need for custom-centric approach
  • Identifying target audience and taking them on same page
  • Challenges faced by large companies in adopting Agile large scale

Target Audience

CXO, Heads, Process Consultants, Agile Teams, Non IT Teams

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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  • Naresh Jain
    By Naresh Jain  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Thanks Sachin. This looks like an interesting experience report.

    Can you please explain what the 5 pillars are? [Survey based approach to understand the challenges at various hierarchies (focus on 5 pillars)]

    Also I'm very interested in common generic agile principles for Business and Technology. Can you please give some examples of what your teams have put together?

    • Purabi Misra
      By Purabi Misra  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Naresh. Thank you for taking the time to go through our proposal and for giving us your comments.

      The pillars that are referred to are constructs around which we build our approach to transformation. These pillars are essentially everything that impacts an individual in a professional setting, for example; Individuals, Engineering Methods, Teams etc.

      The generic principles evolved out of a need for convergence of "agile efforts" across departments. These are basically a summarization of the 12 agile principles under 4 heads;  These Principles are further flushed into generic goals under which each department will define their own techniques to achieve the same. 

      Sachin and I plan to address, both, the Principles as well as the Pillars in detail in our talk. I hope this has answered any questions that you may have had, in case you still require further clarification, please do let me now. Thanks once again.




      • Naresh Jain
        By Naresh Jain  ~  2 years ago
        reply Reply

        Thanks Purabi.

        Can you please list the 5 pillars, 4 heads (under which the 12 principles were grouped) and the goals for each head? This will help us understand the core value proposition of the proposal.

        Also we would need slides and video (from an earlier presentation or a fresh one created) to help us understand your presentation skills.

        • Sachin goel
          By Sachin goel  ~  2 years ago
          reply Reply

          (On behalf of Purabi, as she is having issues in login).

          In our study, we have proposed 5 dimensions which need focus for Agility:

          Individuals, Team, Leadership, Engineering/Process, Environment/Culture

          The study is also establishing general principles for the organisation to accept Agile as Core value for the team:

          1- Deliver Customer Value

          2- Adapt to Feedback

          3- Collaboration Culture

          4- Adaption to Changes

          We feed that each department can build their own focus areas / practices under these principles to Be Agile. As an example for Tech, the practices under "Deliver Customer Value" could be

          a- Requirements prioritisation

          b- Incremental Value Delivery

          c- Built in quality journey




          • Naresh Jain
            By Naresh Jain  ~  2 years ago
            reply Reply

            Thanks Sachin. This helps. Its been a month since we've asked for the slides and video. Any updates on that?