Case Studies » Leading National Bank

Implementing SAFe

Breaking down silos and creating organizational change

With hundreds of Agile teams to track and manage, visibility and strategic alignment are critical to ensuring success in financial services.

A Fortune 100 financial services company found themselves struggling with two extremely common problems in today’s digital world—how to provide leadership visibility into the work in the trenches, and how to connect that work to the organization’s strategic priorities. With a lack of clear visibility into 500 Agile teams split across 20 domains, project leaders relied on manual efforts to communicate project data, groom product backlogs, and facilitate prioritization discussions, but their efforts still did not yield the desired transparency.

Adding to the disorder, at times, individual teams made decisions about work to pursue that did not always align with the strategic priorities of the organization. Seeking change, the company turned to Celerity, a trusted partner with deep experience breaking down silos, facilitating enterprise organizational change and developing portfolio management solutions.

Using SAFe and Jira Align to create a solid, strategic foundation for the organization’s future

Celerity’s goals were to not only provide better visibility into the teams, but also for the teams to see the connection between their work and the goals of the organization so they could set priorities accordingly. To ensure a sustainable solution, Celerity brought in a team of transformation and portfolio management experts to:

  • Evaluate the organization’s current state
  • Capture future state requirements
  • Conduct analysis of leading portfolio management tools
  • Explore how well those tools could solve the client’s pain-points
  • Coordinate product demos to help the company choose their new solution

Celerity’s comprehensive tool analysis resulted in the client choosing Jira Align, a tool enabling visibility into the strategy, work and outcomes of all 500 teams across the organization. Working closely with the organization’s leadership team and key users, Celerity also implemented a modified version of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) in conjunction with implementing Jira Align.

During implementation, Celerity refined the client’s portfolio management processes and provided tool configuration, process and tool standards, set-up, administration, training, and rollout support for all 500 teams—close to 1500 users. Celerity also developed train-the-trainer curricula so the organization was able to take over the administration of the tool on their own. After a piloting run, the organizational change solution was rolled out in waves and was largely complete and in use within six months.

ROI that would make any financial institution proud

The leaders at this major financial services company now have a customized, consolidated view of all work in progress across all 500 teams. There are multiple portfolios representing each of the business domains, with product backlogs prioritized in alignment with the organization’s strategic initiatives. In addition, at any time, leadership can see the teams’ allocations to categories of work and the amount of time they are spending in each area, allowing them to adjust work plans faster to ensure project milestones are met.

With a more transparent view and an efficient prioritization method, leaders can now react faster to changes in the marketplace or demands from regulators. When faced with a recent critical security issue, the organization was able to quickly respond, shift resources to this urgent issue, and monitor progress without any manual efforts, enabling much swifter remediation than was possible in the past.

Additionally, the modified SAFe framework, combined with Jira Align, provides a foundation for ongoing continuous improvements, including forecasting and capacity planning. Where this client previously had little visibility into their 500 teams, they now have processes and a tool in place to enable efficient response to the needs of the organization’s strategy, marketplace demands, and their customers.

Before Celerity

Scaled agile frameworkSiloed decisions that don’t necessarily connect to strategic priorities

Breaking down silosLack of visibility into team progress

organizational changeNo connection of work to strategic initiatives

SAFeNo foundation for ongoing improvements across teams

With Celerity

SAFeDecisions empowered by portfolios that align to corporate goals

SAFeTransparency into team progress

SAFeFull alignment of work to strategic initiatives

SAFeScalable capabilities for more efficient portfolio management

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