Case Study

Top U.S. Financial Services Organization Increases Business Agility by 15%

Industry: Financial Services

Number of Teams: 90+

Agility

15.4% ↑

Value

$25M

Summary and Impact

Technology has changed the way consumers interact with financial services companies. Add that to the pressure of industry regulation, global trends, and customer demands, and what you get is financial institutions undergoing digital transformations to stay competitive.

Digital transformation was the journey for the large national financial services firm that came to AgilityHealth® in 2017. Leadership was asking two key questions: How can we get more value out of our existing tech capacity? And secondly, how can we know that our teams are working on the highest priority work?

6-Month Impact

Within the first 6 months of implementing AgilityHealth®, the organization saw the following program improvements:

  • Leadership increased by 32%
  • Culture improved by 62%
  • Foundation (team structure & agility) jumped by 110%
  • Clarity increased by 86%
  • Performance improved by 134%

12-Month Impact

Over 4 quarters, Agile maturity and performance both increased significantly, resulting in a 15.4% rise in overall business agility.

Gains in maturity not only impacted productivity – teams were also demonstrating higher product quality, greater predictability, shorter times to market, and had happier customers.

Facing fierce competition in a strong tech market, our large financial services customer was quickly trying to align the demands of business priorities to their tech capacity before being outplayed by competitors. The answer was thought to be investing in Agile practices, but that strategy did not seem to be paying off. 

The business was pressed to keep up with ever-rising customer demands. Technology teams were tasked to hire for funded business initiatives, but many of these initiatives had no clear roadmap or backlog.  Teams were in constant flux and the ongoing changes made for unstable, unpredictable teams. The question of the hour was, “How can we get more output from existing capacity?”

Key challenges:

  • No visibility into common patterns across teams
  • Inspecting & Adapting was challenging using data compiled into PowerPoint and Excel
  • Increased output was needed from current capacity
  • Teams weren’t delivering higher output that was aligned to business value

A newly-hired Chief Agilist introduced AgilityHealth® and our TeamHealth® Radar Assessment as an experiment. Within a few weeks, the continuous improvement leadership team launched their baseline assessment and had obtained a comprehensive readout from 90+ teams that identified the top areas for improvement. 

After analysis of the baseline assessment results and some internal discovery, the continuous improvement leaders found key roadblocks which were impeding success across the organization:

  • Little to no clarity existed on long-term roadmaps, processes, and near-term backlogs.
  • Lack of sufficient backlog grooming often resulted in high churn during sprints.
  • Teams were dependent on outside items not in their control. Work was not as ready as they thought, therefore reprioritized mid-sprint, creating delays in value delivery. 
  • Team alignment to goals and strategic initiatives was lacking.
  • Lack of accountability meant problems persisted instead of being addressed.

The top areas of improvement were synonymous with information collected during the Inspect and Adapt exercises over the previous two years. Even though these issues had been identified, nothing had been done to resolve them as leaders did not trust the data until it came from the voice of the teams via AgilityHealth.

Here’s what the teams were saying:

Leveraging AgilityHealth, leaders now had what they needed to take action:

  • A repeatable process for collecting and measuring continuous improvement efforts.
  • Clear understanding of where teams stood on their Agile journey.
  • Comprehensive readout from the TeamHealth® Radar baseline assessment results showing where individual team members thought improvement was needed from leaders and within their teams.

Utilizing the data obtained from the TeamHealth Radar, program improvements in the first 6 months equated to:

  • Leadership increased by 32%
  • Culture improved by 62%
  • Foundation (team structure & agility) jumped by 110%
  • Clarity increased by 86%
  • Performance improved by 134%

The company also gained Agility insights and ROI including:

  • More predictable delivery
  • Backlogs were now “ready”, which reduced churn
  • Work was now aligned to strategy and roadmaps
  • The number of Epics delivered in 30 days increased by 267%
  • Teams were now focused and delivered the equivalent of 5 additional teams’ work

The organization realized a return on investment for AgilityHealth in less than a year and achieved a $6 million cost savings, while actually generating $25 million more in value in that given year.

AgilityHealth’s Insights Dashboard depicts a team’s maturity, performance, and overall agility over time. For this organization, you can see their overall business Agility increased by 15.4% within 4 quarters in the Agility Index Over Time chart. This chart combines the Maturity Over Time and Performance Over Time data. In the Maturity Index chart, you can see their 95 teams are in a Run status overall, which is an increase from the Walk status the teams were in after the TeamHealth Radar baseline assessment.

By leveraging AgilityHealth® quarterly for measurement and visualizing business outcomes:

  • The organization is launching higher quality products that better address customer needs and wants.
  • Leaders trust the process, along with the voices of the teams, and realize the value of their Agile investment.

What’s next?

An enterprise transformation does not stop with the first round of assessments. Like other Fortune 500 companies, this organization plans to continue scaling growth and maturity across the enterprise. Ongoing continuous improvement plans include:

  • Increasing momentum and building on the learnings and outcomes already achieved. 
  • Introducing AgilityHealth on an individual role basis. This will accelerate the development of Agile skills by measuring individual role maturity across defined competencies.
  • Continuing to balance technical capacity with an emphasis on maintaining stable, cross-functional teams to create features that delight customers and enable the business to keep growing. 
  • Ensuring data integrity so that tracking items such as Structural Agility (creating and tracking Agile team structures that support business outcomes) is possible and accurate. 
  • Leveraging AgilityHealth’s Insights Dashboard to get an overall view of maturity based on where they’ve been, where they are now, and how they can get where they want to be tomorrow.