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Embedding new ways of working within an IT Infrastructure Division

How a global investment bank delivered a 20% improvement in clarity, alignment, and business value in 6 months

About our client

Our client is the IT Infrastructure Division of a leading global investment bank and financial services company.  

With 400 employees spread across six global locations, the Division services over 40 internal delivery teams and is responsible for procuring, developing, and maintaining many critical systems that underpin the bank’s daily operations.

Business challenge

Multiple transformation attempts to implement more agile ways of working had failed to resolve the misalignment of strategic priorities, inefficiencies, slow delivery, and lack of communication and collaboration across all levels within the Division.

Problem statements

  • How do we globally align on strategic priorities, reduce waste and organise our work so that we can better service our internal customers and regain their confidence?
  • How can we improve productivity and culture and make IT Infrastructure a great place to work?
  • How do we measure improvement to understand if we are on the right track?

Hypothesis involvement

Hypothesis had worked extensively with other divisions within the bank, successfully implementing agile transformation at scale. The success of these engagements provided a level of trust with senior leaders that enabled us to hit the ground running.

 

At the start of the engagement, we established a transformation team that included key leaders within the Division and a Hypothesis Agile Transformation Consultant. We immediately conducted empathy interviews and workshops to understand how work was being done, as well as the root cause of the challenges experienced.  

 

We quickly identified that managers had little visibility on the work front line teams were doing; similarly, frontline teams had no understanding of the business’s strategic priorities.

 

This disconnect was causing significant productivity and cultural challenges within the environment resulting in:

  • Project delays, quality issues and duplication of work
  • Low team morale and employee engagement
  • Limited confidence of internal stakeholders due to slow delivery

Once we understood the environment and had identified the challenges, we were able to develop a strategy covering four key pillars.

01

Purpose

Through a series of workshops, we helped the Division define its purpose, vision and values, which were then communicated throughout the organisation as a guiding ‘north star’.

02

Alignment

Senior leadership was engaged to understand their strategic portfolio of work and we established robust governance structures to ensure only prioritised work was being delivered by front line teams.

 

We establish goals, capabilities and objectives that resulted in direct business value and enabled clear alignment and visibility.

03

Culture

By creating a clear ‘north star’ and better alignment, a new culture began to emerge that was more focused, delivery orientated, and energised towards serving the division’s customers’ highest priorities.

 

We now had the platform to accelerate a true cultural shift and leveraged Hypothesis’ collection of IP to implement a comprehensive plan of training and workshops across the division that would transform their agile capabilities and embed new ways of working.

 

Every week for several months we facilitated multiple training sessions and workshops with leaders and frontline teams both locally and internationally. Subject areas covered included extensive agile training, value stream mapping and alignment, Kanban implementation, OKR implementation, effective communication, user story estimation and splitting, and lean portfolio management.

 

We encouraged team building and team socialisation activities to further support the positive changes that were taking place.

 

As a result, productivity and efficiency improved significantly, as did team morale. Most telling was the shift in customer sentiment towards the Division, which improved dramatically.

04

Measurement

To ensure we were able to track the Division’s progress, we developed a self-assessment survey and reporting tool that was used at the beginning of the engagement to create a baseline, and again every quarter throughout the engagement.

 

The survey was contextual to the outcome of the engagement and consisted of 66 questions that rolled up into five key areas that were tracked for continuous improvement:

  • Alignment
  • Business Value
  • Agility
  • Team & Culture
  • Delivery

The reports also allowed us to focus our coaching efforts on where they were needed most and were a demonstration of ROI for the Executive Leadership team.

The outcome

Empowered teams, a new culture and a clear purpose and vision has seen employee morale and satisfaction improve significantly.

 

Alignment to a strategically prioritised backlog of work and improved use of agile tools and practices has brought greater clarity to the teams and improved visibility work up to the portfolio level.

 

Global dependencies on work are now far more visible and managed with greater collaboration, resulting in improved execution and significantly reduced cycle times.

Key success measures

The use of the reporting tool enabled us to accurately track the Division’s improvement across the five key areas of alignment, business value, agility, team and culture, and delivery.

 

Comparing the baseline results from September 2019 to the final report from month six of the engagement, there was an average improvement of 20%.

Table: Baseline comparison to end of engagement improvement
Baseline comparison
Graph: Baseline comparison to quarterly continuous improvement
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