Using Agile on a Financial Services Transformation

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I recently got the chance to co-write an experience report for the Agile2020 conference with one of my stakeholders, Cárlon Halmenschlager Szymanski.

This project was one of my very favorites from my career as a consultant because it was a multi-year effort with multiple feature teams, resulting in a complete transformation of the credit systems at the client! In the paper, we talk about how most financial services projects are not the perfect candidates for using agile and how we overcome those challenges in our specific case.

Jennitta Andrea coined the term “Agile Cinderella Project” where the glass slipper of agile fits perfectly- where the team is small and co-located, has a dedicated business product owner who can answer any and all questions and where the domain is simple or well-known. Our credit project from 2016 didn’t have any of these characteristics! We had two feature teams spread across four continents, no dedicated business product owner (I was a technical product owner with multiple business stakeholders globally) and a domain that was both complex and unknown (since the previous feature team had turned over when we joined the team). We also had mandatory compliance dates we had to meet (with mandatory scope too!)

Sound familiar? Sounds just like every other financial services project I’ve been on as well!

What’s a team to do? We actually took what Jennitta herself recommends in her paper- a pragmatic middle path, being as agile as we could be while making concessions for when we couldn’t be “perfectly” agile.

How did we do this? I don’t want to give away the whole paper and we used a lot of different tools, but my favorite was visual models! Check out the paper for all the details by downloading here!



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