How to take agile in financial services to the next level

07 July 2021 3 min. read

Properly leveraging agile frameworks can allow financial institutions to – quickly and effectively – enhance their organisation. Robert Voogt, Head of Consulting at Delta Capita Benelux, weighs in on the benefits and how agile performance can be taken to the next level.

Embracing agile as a way of working is becoming indispensable for financial institutions. With agility at their core, these firms can serve their customers better and quicker. In addition, they can speed up the go-to-market of new products, improve their internal efficiency, and bolster their risk management and controls.

For practically any leader in the financial services industry, taking agile to the next level is on their agenda. This journey kicks off with the crucial step of understanding the current maturity level. Assessing your agile maturity will shed light on what benefits can be reaped from further agile development, and at the same time, define the requirement next steps for the transition.

Robert Voogt, Head of Consulting for Benelux, Delta Capita

Across the agile spectrum, there are varying levels of agile maturity. Typically, professionals characterise the first level of agility as applying the agile framework primarily to IT development and project roles, with some functions connecting to business roles. After that, it is developed by introducing new roles, artifacts, and working in a separate part of the organisation.

At this point, transforming the organisation means focusing on the team members directly involved, training developers, using artifacts, and coaching teams in their new way of working. Furthermore, at this first level of agility, you see generally accepted friction between the governance of development and management of other areas in the organisation.

At the next level of agility, one sees more business functions at the front-end, such as in marketing, process management, product management, and data management. T-shaped profiles are introduced and permanent multidisciplinary teams are organised, but mainly at the front-end of the value chain.

During this second phase, transforming the organisation is more about aligning teams and cadence, working on alignment, and introducing accountability for front-end client and business goals in line with agile team structure. At this point, organising ‘alignment’ is a general theme related to governance, planning, budgeting, cadence, performance management, attitude, and senior management style.

At the third level and end of the maturity scale, we see an agile organisational philosophy being introduced as a new organisational structure, redefining functions, and changing collaboration models along the whole value chain. This shift requires a ‘reorganisation’ – with people reapplying for fundamentally changed role profiles. It also necessitates a central change in mentality and culture throughout the organisation.

Agile and lean are translated in integrated structures and adopted from the front to the end of the organisation. Overall integrated accountability for businesses’ goals is allocated to single functions in the new organisation. A new way of governance is introduced throughout the entire organisation – from the front-end to the mid-end and back-end.

Taking your agile framework to the next level

Moving up to the next level of agility offers enormous benefits but requires significant organisational transformation along the value chain, impacting governance structures, job classifications, and collaboration mechanisms. This transition takes experience and insight into each stage’s specifics and pitfalls as a primary factor for success.