Five years ago, a Belgian financial market infrastructure provider who delivers services all across the globe, came to us for assistance in the Agile transformation of their Information & Cyber Security division. After successfully completing the project, we’ve continued our collaboration and are to this day helping the company with expanding their Agile practices.
From strategy to transformation
Five years ago, our client’s CIO had asked McKinsey to do a study on what their strategy should be for the IT division. McKinsey suggested they go through an Agile transformation. Since this company had never done anything Agile, they turned to us for help. First, to set up some pilots to try the Agile way of working, and then to lead their whole Agile transformation.
Ludovic Nesse was there since the beginning. He has helped the client in multiple areas, all related to Agile practices. “After the pilots, the first thing we helped build was an Agile Centre of Excellence, to standardise and harmonise the Agile way of working across the various IT divisions. We brought all the Agile coaches in the same place, to make sure we all worked in the same way,” Ludovic says. “We also helped them develop some internal capabilities, such as a Target Operating Model for example. How would they operate under an Agile way of working? Me and my colleagues helped write the Target Operating Model and then supported the roll-out as well.”
But our efforts didn’t end there. We helped the set up a Quarterly Business Review and linked it to the portfolios and the Quarterly Planning practices that the coaches had implemented on a departmental level. We also helped with more ad hoc activities, such as setting up a Maturity Progress Scan on Agility, creating workshops to define business value and KPI’s. And of course, Agile coaching on a tribe and team level, which has been Ludovic’s main focus.
Not your average division
The Information & Cybersecurity division, is not a standard IT department. They required a different approach. “When you talk about Agile, the Scrum framework comes to mind. For this transformation however, we also leveraged frameworks more relevant to Servicing teams such as the Kanban and Scaled framework. That way, we were able to introduce practices that had an immediate impact on the teams,” says Ludovic.
Creating a backlog for example, to give people a clear view of their planned and unplanned work so they could better prioritise and manage it. Setting up Quarterly Plannings in these teams has been a gamechanger too. Teams became more efficient, more predictable. “And the continuous improvement vibe, which is most dear to my heart. Making sure it is part of the team’s habits to always try to find ways to do things better, solve root causes of their issues, automate processes, … Once that seed is planted, they’re good to grow in an autonomous way, without the help of their coaches. That’s the ultimate goal: delivering sticky change,” Ludovic says.
“Once the seed of the continuous improvement mindset is planted, teams are good to grow on their own, without the help of their coaches.” Ludovic Nesse, Agile Transformation Coach
Of course, any project comes with its challenges. In this case, there were quite a few. “First of all, the whole idea of the Agile transformation was a strategy decision suggested by McKinsey. So a big part of our job was to work on the ‘why’. Why are we going Agile? Why should we want this? As coaches, we needed to convey to the teams what was in it for them. Luckily, we are all ADKAR-certified trainers, so we could utilise those techniques to guide teams through awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and ultimately reinforcement, ensuring successful adoption,” Ludovic explains. “An Agile transformation is all about transforming people. Their way of working, their mindset. The success really depends on the people and their willingness to play the game, their discipline to follow the new ways of working. In that regard, educating leaders on the new roles how peform and leverage them was an important part of our mission as well.”
“An Agile transformation is about transforming people – their way of working, their mindset.” Ludovic Nesse, Agile Transformation Coach
Delivery excellence DNA
In the realm of consulting, client satisfaction is a testament to a job well done. For Ludovic and his colleagues, their longevity with the client – almost five years and counting – speaks volumes. “We’ve worked with other consultancy companies at the client as well, but we seem to be the ones that stick around the longest. I think the main reason for that is our delivery excellence DNA,” Ludovic says. “We get into the mud, roll up our sleeves, and work alongside the teams at the client to create tangible tools and methods. This really has an impact on the teams and enables them to progress more quickly compared to the more traditional, theoretical Agile coaching that you might find elsewhere.”
Our change management approach also brought added value in rolling-out and embedding the operating models which really transformed these teams. We saw positive impacts from the teams that had incorporated the Agile way of working into their daily activities such as higher predictability, reduction of outstanding tickets in backlogs, increase in customer satisfaction of service delivered, service improvements…. The backlog and Quarterly Planning not only helped them to improve their work processes, but also increased employee satisfaction and reduced the burn-out risk by finding a sustainable pace for each squad and tribe.
“Our delivery excellence DNA, the fact that we roll up our sleeves and work alongside the teams to create tangible tools and methods sets us apart from the more theoretical Agile coaching you might find elsewhere.” Ludovic Nesse, Agile Transformation Coach
About Projective Group
Established in 2006, Projective Group is a leading Financial Services change specialist.
We are recognised within the industry as a complete solutions provider, partnering with clients in Financial Services to provide resolutions that are both holistic and pragmatic. We have evolved to become a trusted partner for companies that want to thrive and prosper in an ever-changing Financial Services landscape.