The COVID-19 pandemic has put lights on the importance of speeding up digitalisation to any business processes. Companies of various industries are rushing in embracing digital transformation, going beyond maintaining relevance. It was a period of realising what being agile means and why it is needed in every business sector. Agility should be part of the working culture, going beyond nice-to-hear buzzwords.
In this blog, we’d like to put more weight on the challenges and adjustment process of embarking agile within the banking, financial services and insurance industry.
Financial technology or fintech has introduced the use of technology into financial systems. Customers embrace the convenience it offers while helping them progress in their financial goals. In the bigger picture, fintech unlocked a new range of possibilities in managing financial services. New entities emerge to grab the opportunities while the existing financial institutions like banking respond to the challenges by levelling their system towards digitalisation.
The trend of branchless banking, either coming out as part of existing finance entities or new ones, is proving how fast the industry is shifting towards digitalisation. In the fast-paced and ever-evolving landscape of the industry, being agile is of utmost importance.
The Agile Way of Working1 should be seen as a culture needed by companies of the industry aiming to successfully strive to win the market while delivering excellence to customers. With that point said, it is very crucial to understand some shifts the organizations need to undergo, especially the teams experiencing.
From “Adjusting” to “Adhering” Agile
During the early days of adopting agile practices to business processes, teams started off their journey from the "adjusting" mode – not all team members are equipped with hands-on agile experience. In order to get everyone onboard with the same agile visions, we tagged this initial setup as a stage of experimentation, adaptation, and a flexible approach to agile methodologies.
So, what does adhering to agile mean? To adhere to agile principles referred as staying committed to consistently following agile practices, principles, and processes without significant deviations. The challenge is how to smoothly direct the teams to adapt a new working structure.
Adaptability should be seeded within the teams during initial implementations, adjusting to adhering agile. Having adaptability onboard is essential for the initial learning curve and the transition to the "adhering" mode is imperative as teams mature in their agile journey.
It would require patience and commitment to shift from the adjusting phase to the more structured phase, the adhering. Managements and banking leaders should be the team's assistant in the process considering that this shift can be a bumpy ride for some individuals within the teams. However, flowing it right, the bank will garner teams of excellence.
5 Reasons to push adhering agile forward
Adhering to agile is crucial to ensure effective collaboration within teams. This eventually will lead to a consistent pursuit of value-added impact for themselves as individuals and the bank as companies. Here are five reasons why management should take a closer look on the importance of the adhering process.
1. Solidifying Agile Practices
The "adjusting" phase offers flexibility and is marked by experimentations, however, at times we can sense the lack of consistency. When teams begin to show their commitment to Agile practices, it is certain that they have successfully shifted to the "Adhering" agile. Their consistency in agile practices ensures continuous collaborations within teams culture and operations. Agile would become part of their day-to-day working culture.
2. Driving Value-Focused Impact
Agile in banking is expected to up-level the value delivery process to customers and stakeholders. Once teams adhere to agile, they would find themselves better equipped to continuously improve the value they deliver. They would have a clearer working framework and established processes that enable them to prioritize and execute tasks effectively. Such culture would bring a positive impact to the bank performance.
3. Enhancing Outcomes
As teams adhere to agile practices, they are more committed to bringing improved value at times. They understand the importance of setting clear objectives, measuring progress, and achieving tangible results. Seeding the grit to deliver improved performance is essential to the banking industry where performance and results are amongst the key metrics of success.
4. Efficiency and Predictability
Adhering to agile helps to improve team collaboration as the methodology promotes efficiency and predictability through its framework. Teams have a clearer image on what to expect from each sprint or iteration and how their actions correlate and/or impact each other. This environment set-up not only fosters better communications and transparency but also allows teams to structure better planning and tasks allocation. The bank would have support of teams that can respond to obstacles and challenges efficiently, and any internal bumps would become more predictable to the teams.
5. Continuous Improvement
Adhering to agile means expanding teams reach to strive for growth as they will continuously seek for improvement through the value they deliver. They would foster agility in their day-to-day working process, reviewing their effectiveness, identify bottlenecks, and seek ways to optimize their workflows. Agile teams always strive for improvement in their collaborations and as individuals. This ensures the Agile Way of Working remains effective and stays relevant throughout.
Challenges are common in teams adapting to change. However what is also common to occur is that everyone puts all of their focus onto the end goal, missing appointments with the adjustment process itself. Goals are changing based on projects, leaderships, visions, etc. What always stays and is carried forward would be the teams and their experience during the dynamic of the process.
Agile banking should be an unavoidable term for banking striving for continuous improvement and excellence. Banking management should be fully present during the transition process of adopting agile, from the early adjusting to being able to adhere to agile.
1 Agile Way of Working is a phrase used to describe how teams collaborate under agile ground rules and understandings to complete shared expectations in carrying out particular tasks to achieve the pre-set objectives.