Current trends and recommendations on agglomeration of large financial institutions

On May 12-15, 2019, the PMI EMEA Congress 2019 was held in Dublin , which was organized by one of the industry leaders in the development of a project management methodology - the Project Management Institute (PMI) . The Congress brought together more than 700 delegates from 70 countries and 450 organizations and has become a global platform for the exchange of knowledge and experience in applying modern methods and approaches in the field of change management. In many large Russian banks and financial institutions, Agile is currently undergoing a transformation of the change management structure, so the analysis of the experience of agglomeration in other similar organizations is an important factor in the successful and effective implementation of Agile.

As a result of the analysis of Agile trends and presentations presented and seen by me at the Congress, the following conclusions were made and recommendations made:

  • The Agile methodology was originally developed for the flexible management of small products using teams of 7-15 people to efficiently use existing resources. Scaling up the approach to large organizations requires changing approaches to corporate governance, strategic planning, budgeting and thinking of employees within the organization.
  • Implementation of the Agile methodology in some large organizations led to positive results, namely, to increase efficiency, reduce Time to Market (T2M) indicators and reduce the cost of changes, and in some negative consequences: worsen project implementation timelines, planning quality and increased operating costs.
  • An effective way to implement the Agile methodology is to combine the classical approaches of project management with flexible techniques.
  • The national and regional mentality of employees should be considered when implementing the Agile methodology. National circumstances should be reflected in Agile training programs.
  • In the general case, the role of teaching Agile philosophy and changing the way employees think is underestimated. For a successful implementation, it is necessary to radically change the attitude of staff towards the processes within the organization, to the role of teamwork, while highly qualified individuals can leave the company because they lose the feeling of indispensability and uniqueness, the ability to be the only rescue hero who can swim on the beach.
  • Successful use of Agile often requires a fundamental review of the business model and organization structure.
  • The role of the project office, software and portfolio project management in the transition to Agile is usually eliminated in the process of transformation, which is a negative factor. As a result, there is a loss of connection between strategic planning, the development of the organization and the real activities of Agile teams.
  • There is no explicit budgeting for new initiatives, since the budget is allocated to the goals and objectives of the tribe. The expansion mechanisms and modifying the tribe are not key in the methodology. This leads to a slowdown in innovation within the organization.
  • Product quality is declining due to the emphasis on reducing T2M.
  • Regulatory requirements can be implemented using Agile principles, but with particular emphasis on the quality of the end result.
  • The level and quality of communication between departments when using Agile should be significantly increased. With an inadequate level of interaction and understanding, Agile will only increase T2M and the cost of implementing change.
  • Using specialized software for a unified management of tasks, projects, portfolio and project programs, organization performance targets, integration of change processes with ERP and CRM systems, significantly increases the efficiency of Agile application and team interaction.
  • In all Agile practices, special attention is paid to feedback, analysis of sprints within teams, but at a higher level (products, programs, tribes), this connection is lost for ordinary team members.
  • Implementing Agile in a large organization is not a matter of one month, six months, or a year. This is a systematic strategic work for several years with a radical change in all processes and principles of the organization.


  • Top management of the organization should become a guide, the leader of Agile change. It is necessary to speak monthly at the level of each tribe to employees with an overview of current goals, progress in their implementation, analysis of current lessons. Quarterly organize similar meetups between tribal leaders with webcast and open participation of all interested employees of the organization.
  • The role and scope of Agile training needs to be strengthened. Training should focus not only on techniques such as Scrum, Kanban, but also on the ideology and philosophy of Agile, changing the principles of thinking, innovative and innovative analytical approaches. Training should be based on specific examples and practices of large financial institutions, countries and regions. Additionally, it is necessary to conduct psychological testing and identify employees who are not ready for new changes within the company.
  • The project office should play a coordinating and communicative role (monthly and quarterly meetup), be at the head of strategic planning and provide monitoring of the quality of the activities of the tribes.
  • Agile principles should not be mandatory for all projects, especially when it comes to regulatory and regulatory changes. In each case, you need to make informed decisions when using Agile in such cases. The combination of classical and flexible approaches to the implementation of projects is allowed.
  • A special and selective emphasis must be placed on the quality of the final product. A working product is more important than comprehensive documentation, but a quality working product cannot be created without proper documentation and QA, therefore it is necessary to constantly balance on this line, while not compromising the quality of the product.
  • Interaction between departments needs to be taken to a new level. Bureaucratic obstacles, baseless references to processes and GNI in cooperation should be strictly suppressed by the top management of the tribes, and promptly resolved. An appropriate on-line mechanism should be created within the tribe and between the tribes with the appropriate KPIs for all managers. It is necessary to create an atmosphere of common teamwork within the organization, rather than shifting responsibility between units and units. The principle of people and interaction is more important than processes and tools, it is necessary to make the basic when communicating between the tribes.
  • The motivational component of the work, focus on change, non-standard thinking should be combined in a single assessment of employees of all levels with clear and transparent feedback. At the same time, so that the expression of such ideas is not perceived as an increase in the load on chapters, clusters and tribes, transparent mechanisms for expanding teams, increasing the budget, and not its redistribution within the already allocated, must be created.
  • The used backlog IT solutions, dashboards for Scrum, Kanban should not be limited only to their use for DevOps processes and sprint implementation, but should be an information basis for the implementation of user stories and projects, portfolios and project programs, have a connection with the ERP system, communication with KPIs of chapters, clusters, tribes and the organization as a whole.

Materials used:

Presentations of the PMI Leadership Institute Meeting 2019 - EMEA and PMI EMEA Congress 2019:
  • Design Thinking to Improve Your Agile Process, Presenter: Denis Vukosav
  • Artificial Intelligence Horizons in Portfolio Planning, Presenters: Umut Sezen, Christopher Reeves
  • The Journey Towards Agility: Lessons Learned From Successes and Failures, Presenter: Simona Bonghez
  • Product Theater: Successfully Integrating Agile Jira Projects into a Hybrid PMI / PMBOK-based PPM Environment, Presenter: Gerald Aquila
  • Possible Mission: Escape from Earth - Agile Edition - Business Simulation, Presenters: Santi Alcaide, Alfred Maeso Aztarain
  • Survival of the Fittest: Taking Organizational Agility to the Next Level, Presenter: Leonor Viturro
  • Dynamic Governance for Portfolios / Programs / Projects, Presenters: Teodor Darabaneanu, John Buck
  • Agilely Vaulting Over Waterfalls: Applying Agile to Waterfall and Vice Versa, Presenters: Karthik Ramamurthy, Sripriya Narayanasamy
  • A Framework for Applying Agile Practices Within Projects, Programs and Portfolios, Presenter: Nicholas Clemens
  • Planning Matters - Even if You Are Agile !, Presenters: Christopher Worsley, Louise Worsley
  • Embedding Quality Processes in Agile Product Delivery, Presenter: Geetanjali Bhat
  • Product Education Session: Opportunities for Project Managers in the Lean-Agile Enterprise with SAFe, Presenter: Richard Knaster

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