Financial services (FS) organisations that are succeeding in agile change focus on being rather than doing agile. They start small and share their success stories with each other. The FS firms that are surviving the disruption in the short term and will thrive in the long term are tailoring their approach by project, and adopting agile in a forward-looking basis.

One retail bank in the UK wanted to improve the mortgage application process for its customers. The original goal was simple: Cut the process from a month to a week over a period of five years to improve the customer experience. Initially, the project only involved a small online customer service team, but gradually expanded to 150 people across the bank participating the agile journey. The project grew organically and made the transition easier. Eventually, the bank launched a successful agile program on the solid foundation it built in one area of the business process.

End-to-end business change requires a lot of work, but doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Consider these lessons from the success stories in the FS industry:

1. Focus on being agile, rather than doing agile.

Agile is something to ‘be’; it’s a way of working. FS change leaders need to give teams the freedom to work in a more flexible change environment. However, they are also responsible for quickly assessing projects and respond to user feedback and market forces.

2. Start small and share success stories.

Agile organisations start with a handful of smaller initiatives and share the results. They then add more projects that can embrace similar thinking. It’s important to encourage collaboration to deliver within this framework. By doing this, you can leverage the multi-speed model and consider areas that might benefit from increased agility.

3. Tailor your approach by project.

Remember that every project is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all agile model. Some projects will benefit from a fully agile methodology, while others will require an incremental approach. Take the time to understand what is appropriate, especially before undergoing massive transformation to introduce new processes and governance structures.

4. Adopt agile on a forward-looking basis.

For projects and programs already in flight, intercept them if you can but don’t slow them down. Apply your move to agile on a forward-looking basis by making the changes that you can in a way that will help speed things up. 

The FS firms that develop agile change as a critical capability will not only survive disruption, they will thrive in it and succeed in the long term. So, are you ready to stop ‘doing,’ and start ‘being’ the change?

To learn more, register to download the full report: Time to Join the Revolution: Agile Change in Financial Services

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