Agile Transformation Journey
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Agile Transformation Journey

Sachin Nair, CIO, Khan Bank
Sachin Nair, CIO, Khan Bank

Sachin Nair, CIO, Khan Bank

The Need

Khan Bank is Mongolia’s leading and largest private sector bank, having reached over 70% of banking customers in Mongolia over the past 30 years. It has an employee base of 700+ people, with an IT unit of 200+ that caters to the IT and digital needs of the bank. There are more than 200+ IT/ IS projects that are in pipeline YoY, with an upward trend in numbers each year. Khan Bank had been utilizing traditional models of delivery for IS projects, but over time, traditional models resulted in bottlenecks that led to many projects not meeting deadline, scope, or budget targets. The delivery challenge has been accentuated by the dynamic nature of business and the ever-changing technology landscape and shorter cycles for time to market. The Bank has decided to go digital in a big way to position itself as a modern, tech-savvy, digital bank. Delivering on this large scope of dynamic business needs means that delivery and processes need to be nimble, lean, customer-focused, and flexible, with shorter delivery cycles. The following are areas in which the Bank has decided to go agile:

• Break down operating silos and increase cross-team collaboration

• Avoid hard stage gating and instead be adaptive to change in business needs

• Optimize delivery in terms of quality and timelines with a greater focus on the customer

• Be responsive to market forces and customer preferences

• Realign processes and people to be leaner with more effective outcomes

• Deliver value to customers and stakeholders

• Greater satisfaction and happiness for delivery teams

• Adopt agile beyond IS/IT delivery teams To achieve agility goals, Khan Bank partnered with Srijan Technologies for consultation, guidance, collaboration, and implementation of agile transformation.

Khan Bank had been utilizing traditional models of delivery for IS projects, but over time, traditional models resulted in bottlenecks that led to many projects not meeting deadline, scope, or budget targets

The Journey

The journey to going agile included exploring the current setup and limitations, followed by these steps: Define → Refine → Scale → Improve models and processes. It was a two-step process of simultaneous adoption and transformation. The entire agile transformation took a bespoke approach rather than retrofitting an off-the-shelf model. This was done in an incremental way to avoid major disruption in organizational structure and processes, and for greater participation from all stakeholders.

Phase 1 - Laying the foundation

The initial phase focused on helping the Bank skill and ramp up on the agile way of working and mindset across the board. A two-track approach to engagement was taken:

Key Initiatives

• Setting up the Agile Center of Excellence (ACoE), which would take the reins going forward

• Series of trainings, workshops, and maturity assessments

• A set of pilot projects for testing adoption

• Collaborative approach to designing the tools, processes, artifacts, and templates relevant to on-the-ground needs and fit

• Consolidated, bespoke Agile Playbook creation for teams to refer to and adopt Phase 2 - Deep Dive and Going Enterprise Scale Once there was baseline acceptance and adoption of the standard agile model (Scrum and Kanban), the next logical step was taken to build a scaled agile model for enterpriselevel multi-team projects. The process here was to again go incremental with:

• Alignment and buy-in from management stakeholders on approach, impact, and implementation

• Designing a bespoke scaled agile model with suitability being taken into account

• Identifying and putting together a delivery structure based on on-the-ground reality

•Train and ramp-up participating teams

• Identifying value stream-based team structures

• Phased implementation, starting with four pilot programs

• Pilots being led by experienced consulting team staff for more effective, hands-on implementation and adoption

• Realignment of delivery teams and execution structure as necessitated Khan Bank has now identified four value streams that are ready to embark on a scaled agile journey with an overall team span of 90+ members. Key Outcomes of Transformation

• A self-sufficient CoE team to continue the agile journey and expand beyond pilots

• Documentation of customized delivery structure, processes, templates, and metrics

• Departments/teams that were on the fence initially are now ready to take the plunge

• Interdepartmental silos are being broken down

• Closer collaboration with more cross-functional teams

• Roadmap and template for the execution of standard and enterprise-grade projects

• Agile practices being adopted beyond IT development projects Key Learnings

• Have top leadership buy-in and be involved

• Bring the entire organization under the purview of transformation

•Take an incremental and bespoke approach, don’t go “Big Bang”

•Take a bespoke approach and don’t go for off-the-shelf models

• Have a build, operate, transfer model with your consulting partner

• Choose an implementation partner with a hands-on approach (preferably with delivery experience) and who is not just consultative.

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