The financial industry and sector is seeing a shift towards more technologically-oriented and digitized systems, causing financial institutions to adapt more efficiently. The platforms, applications, and financial market systems being used by professionals within the industry are ever evolving, requiring financial institutions to have greater flexibility and speed than ever before.

Agile methodologies have come to hold a crucially important role in implementations and the delivery of software for financial institutions. The adoption of Agile has become the key to finding success in these increasingly technologically-advanced times.

Changes to the industry have caused financial professionals to have to face new challenges and hurdles in order to keep their operations running smoothly and efficiently, while also providing high-value service to their customers. This article will explore the critical importance of Agile, and the role it has come to play in successful implementations.

Understanding Agile Principles

The Agile methodology first came about in 2001, when a collective of software developers came together to create the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. The primary objective of this manifesto was to establish that customers should be treated as more than mere assets to be collected throughout the software development process, and that people should be the priority.

From this came 12 core principles that lie at the heart of any strong Agile strategy:

  • Satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  • Always be prepared for changing requirements and harness them for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  • Deliver working software frequently with only short intervals in between.
  • Ensure daily collaboration between developers and other businesspeople.
  • Build projects around motivated individuals and provide them with support and trust.
  • Prioritize face-to-face interactions as the most efficient and effective method for communication.
  • Measure progress primarily through working software.
  • Promote sustainable development through Agile processes that enable sponsors, developers, and users to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  • Continually give attention to technical excellence and good design.
  • Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  • The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

These core principles are the foundation of Agile and provide the framework for financial professionals looking to adopt the methodology for their own software implementations and deliveries.

Enabling Cross-Functionality and Collaboration

In order for Agile methodologies to work effectively and successfully, collaboration across all areas of a business must work together to achieve cross-functionality at a fairly massive scale. This requires financial institutions to have the organizational structures necessary to support one another, rather than inhibiting departments from working with each other.

However, this kind of large-scale collaboration is not the traditional methodology financial institutions have followed. Thus, many find it difficult to enact effective lines of communications and collaborative systems. The key to finding success with Agile – and to truly enable cross-functionality – is continuous feedback and adaptation.

Unity within Financial Teams

When properly employed, Agile has the ability to empower financial teams to be self-governing, eliminating the superiority of one team over the other. By providing the right support and resources, agile teams can make necessary implementation and delivery decisions at much faster rates.

Additionally, Agile brings together financial teams by unifying them under a central and universally understood purpose: to provide the highest value possible for customers. This often requires an adoption of not only Agile, but of DevOps strategies as well that helps to automate and optimize the development processes.

Creating Greater Value for Customers

The reality of financial markets and its relevant systems in today’s times is that customers have come to expect a higher standard of technological literacy from financial institutions. As such, developing systems and utilizing methodologies that emphasize the importance of speed of delivery have become overwhelmingly important.

The first principle and main priority of Agile is the satisfaction of customers through continuous and early delivery of software. The entire Agile methodology, in fact, is designed and centered around increased value being provided for the customer. This makes the utilization of Agile within a financial institution’s development processes a major factor for successful implementations.

Embracing Innovative Technologies

To employ Agile successfully, financial institutions must recognize the importance of scalability within their operations and systems to meet changing market and consumer demands. To confront the issue of scalability, innovative technologies and DevOps strategies must be utilized alongside Agile.

Technology such as cloud-computing has proven to be highly useful and effective in creating digital infrastructures that are able to scale development operations quickly. Other advanced technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, have unique benefits such as the ability to predict risk and changing trends that allow financial institutions to think ahead and plan for changes.

Finding Continued Success with Agile

The key to finding not only initial, but continued success with Agile is to recognize that not every development or financial team is going to be the same. Moreover, teams and their needs will evolve as market systems evolve, making the need for innovative and flexible methodologies essential in the face of change.

Agile emphasizes adaptability and encourages cross-training within a financial institution, removing barriers that otherwise make it difficult for financial teams to evolve alongside development teams through collaboration.

Final Thoughts

Innovation in the financial industry is more important than ever. By embracing the Agile methodology, professionals enable their businesses to achieve much greater flexibility, scalability, and collaboration – three factors that are necessary for success in the digital realm.

As the world continues to become more digitally-oriented, it is crucial for professionals within the financial space to take the necessary steps to optimize their implementations and deliveries.

Agile is the key for unifying IT departments with a larger financial team. Through this unity, financial institutions can establish themselves as true competitors within the digital and online space by greatly increasing the value they are providing for their customers and creating a highly effective, cross-functional team.

This article was written by Mauro Mambretti, to speak further with him about this, please email and we will get back to you.