In Financial Services, Prioritization is the Path to Increased Productivity and Profit
Rapid enterprise growth within the financial services industry presented emerging opportunities for her company that was unable to capitalize on the new possibilities due to a slow response time. Their year-and-a-half development cycle was leading to a loss in their industry market share.
The company had more than 60 projects in progress and 40 more waiting in the queue. The project teams found they were unable to deliver more than 20 small tasks and projects per year due to lack of project and phase definition poor communication, and departmental isolation. Most significantly, projects were not aligned with the company’s strategic goals and vision. According to Ana, “When everything is top priority, nothing is a priority.” Without prioritization, reaction time was too sluggish to realize success when opportunities were presented. “In an industry where right timing is key and the first player takes it all, prioritization is key.”
Taking it to Leadership: Decisions with Value
Ana presented a new way of working, the Scrum@Scale Framework, first to the CEO and then to the entire team. Ana helped them understand that added value derives from completed projects rather than projects in progress. With limited resources, understanding the business value of a project and choosing wisely to reach enterprise goals enables organizational growth.
Ana analyzed the entire process to identify internal and external bottlenecks to come up with a plan. The entire project list was examined, projects were decomposed into features and the expected value was identified; only the projects aligned with the enterprise’s vision and goals were kept. Once the project list was reduced from over 100 to 40 key projects, these were prioritized by projected value added to the company.
Company structure was reorganized from siloed to cross-functional teams. One-week Sprints were implemented for all projects, with Business Analysts working on no more than two projects and development teams working on only one project at a time. With all departments working on the same priority order and expected delivery date, the company could begin to have tribes and squads progressing in a timely way on the backlog.
The Leap of Faith
This company had to take a leap of faith and trust the 180° process changes would prove successful. Initially, product owners feared having fewer projects in progress, but weekly Sprint Reviews focused on highlighting progress mitigated these fears. The ultimate test was the sudden changes created by the pandemic, but the new organizational system proved agile enough to adapt rapidly to the new reality!
Outcomes from Implementing Scrum@Scale
The restructuring and prioritizing were an extraordinary success! After 10 months (eight of them in the middle of a pandemic), the number of projects delivered tripled!
- A record of 69 successfully completed projects
- October was the most profitable month in the company’s history, exceeding previous records by 10% at a time when history was being made by the challenges businesses faced in an pandemic
- Closed the year with a year-over-year growth of 3% in spite of the challenges of a global pandemic
Who is Ana Lucía Paiz Gómez
Ana is a Scrum Inc. Trainer, Agile Transformation Consultant and Registered Scrum Master with ample experience in the technology and tinancial sectors and more than seven years of experience in Scrum and Agile Frameworks. She successfully led Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) projects, Elastic Path (EP) projects, and financial services and banking projects.
She has worked with a wide range of companies, from start-ups to Fortune500 companies, to create the best digital experience for their customers. She has taught a Scrum multi-day Scrum training session at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala.
Ana has extensive hands-on experience implementing Scrum at the team and organization levels as a Scrum Coach and Registered Scrum Master. She holds active Registered Scrum Master, Registered Product Owner, Registered Scrum@Scale Practitioner, and Registered Scrum Trainer credentials from Scrum Inc.™
Her background includes a summa cum laude BS in industrial engineering, first class BS in engineering management, an International Business, Executive & Life Coach Certification, and a cum laude master’s degree in personality profiling, negotiation, and mediation.