The Potential of Global Agile in Financial Services


The IT environment of financial services firms has to overcome obstacles to ensure business requirements are in sync with IT solutions. The issues encompass regulatory compliance (Basel III and SEPA), technology platforms (delivery channels, core systems, payment processing, risk management, trading, pricing, valuation) and management (cost, time to market and business transformation).

Financial institutions cater to the challenges by accepting agile development methodologies – Scrum, Feature-driven Development (FDD), agile modeling, lean development, Extreme Programming (XP), Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF).

Financial services firms that follow Global Agile understand that handling human resources/team aspect is extremely challenging in Global Agile projects in comparison to a collocated agile scenario.

Global institutions have to overcome stiff challenges because of the complexity of system needs. Human resource problems occur due to factors prevalent in the Global Agile.

Global Agile resources are spread across functional, organizational, and cultural frontiers. The lack of direct communication between personnel results in a low confidence within a team. Cultural differences, the physical distance among others enhance the challenges of global agile development.

Some of the challenges faced by financial institutions while implementing Global Agile development:

Absence of Team Dynamics

Team dynamics are affected when institutions don’t establish the perfect global agile team. Under such circumstances, certain individuals may not have the technical, interpersonal, functional and process capabilities. Cultural differences could also lead to disharmony among team members.

Restrictions to Knowledge Sharing

The lack of an internal communication medium could be a stumbling block in facilitating effective knowledge sharing. Under the circumstances, team members may not have the technical expertise to identify the methodology to be followed.

Inefficient Configuration

Activities such as configuration management need effective planning. Team members functioning as a pair on a particular code find it challenging to work together within a distributed global agile team. A lack of efficient practices could lead to an inferior code.

Lack of Governance

The lack of governance can result in oversight. In project circumstances, PMO personnel may adhere to a practical project management approach and not take a holistic view.

Emphasize On the Team Dynamics for Global Agile Project

Team Structure

A global agile project needs an effective team structure. Team strength, location, and competencies are key proportions. The project personnel must have the right skill set with multitasking abilities. It would be prudent to have a small team size.

Process Management

Processes covering various activities must be streamlined and functioning at optimal level. Small iterations, feedback, regular configuration, and whiteboard meetings are processes that are part of a global agile project. Planning must be undertaken on a regular basis.

Efficient Tools

Efficient ICT infrastructure and project tools are necessary at distinct locations. Technology tools facilitate concurrent meetings across locations. A joint environment for stakeholders would be invaluable.

Training and Development

All the stakeholders must be provided training on a regular basis with regard to global agile methods. Therefore, firms must initiate the PMI-ACP certification process for its PMs. Circulating internal agile process documents would bring about immense benefits.

Team Engagement

The roles of team members must be clearly defined while their expectations from the project must be established.

Financial services firms can implement global agile projects and create top-notch systems by leveraging their distributed skill-set. Global agile practices cannot function in isolation. The positive results from global agile projects will be based on team dynamics and project objectives.

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