Case Studies » Major National Credit Union

Sprint velocity increases by 400% after Celerity improves a national credit union’s organizational alignment

Teams are now in sync about Agile practices, a customer-centric mindset and delivering business value to a $20B portfolio of clients

Organizational alignment engagement at-a-glance

To address backlogs and sluggish progress during a platform migration within the IT operations group at a national credit union, Celerity aligned them around Agile practices, a customer-centric mindset and delivering business value to their 55K+ loan customers, representing a $20B portfolio. This increased sprint velocity by 400%, streamlined processes, improved mindsets and sped progress on the migration.

When alignment is lacking, performance and priorities suffer.

A national credit union’s IT operations group needed help. They were struggling to meet deadlines to migrate their business client’s 55k+ loan, $20 billion portfolio of highly regulated products onto a new platform.

The business client was frustrated. And so was the operations group, as the business constantly shifted their migration priorities. Adding to that, IT only had two SMEs that could handle this level of complexity, causing backups and leaving some tasks incompleted. And because the group was only nominally practicing Agile, its estimates for completion time were often incorrect.

Morale was low and spirits were broken. The credit union engaged Celerity to help the IT operations group determine the root cause of these problems and provide solutions to increase velocity and use resources more effectively.

Services

  • Agile coaching + training
  • Agile transformation
  • People + change management
  • Vision + strategy

Services

  • Agile coaching + training
  • Agile transformation
  • People + change management
  • Vision + strategy

When alignment is lacking, performance and priorities suffer.

A national credit union’s IT operations group needed help. They were struggling to meet deadlines to migrate their business client’s 55k+ loan, $20 billion portfolio of highly regulated products onto a new platform.

The business client was frustrated. And so was the operations group, as the business constantly shifted their migration priorities. Adding to that, IT only had two SMEs that could handle this level of complexity, causing backups and leaving some tasks incompleted. And because the group was only nominally practicing Agile, its estimates for completion time were often incorrect.

Morale was low and spirits were broken. The credit union engaged Celerity to help the IT operations group determine the root cause of these problems and provide solutions to increase velocity and use resources more effectively.

Creating organizational alignment around three key aspects of the platform migration

Celerity quickly saw that the organization was unaligned—unaligned to its business customer, unaligned to its Agile methodology, and unaligned to the business value it needed to provide. By helping develop organizational alignment around these three areas, the IT operations group could be a better partner to its business client and do its part in implementing the major platform change. In turn, updating the platform would increase both efficiency and revenue for the credit union as well as better support member requests and employee functions.

To align the IT operations group with the needs of the business and customer in ways in which everyone wins, Celerity focused on three areas:

Developing a customer-centric mindset

Celerity hypothesized the group missed critical deadlines for the platform migration because they were focused on other work. To test the hypothesis, Celerity held workshops to create a list of all the different kinds of work they performed. This hypothesis was correct; the list was long. So Celerity helped the group categorize the work into several high-priority high-value buckets and the group made a commitment support the platform migration first. The list also revealed that work requests came from many different stakeholders that were not relevant to the big picture. So Celerity introduced the concept of a single backlog for all the team’s work, which would help the group control ancillary requests that distract them from supporting the business client. It would also provide transparency and visibility into the work, which could now be seen in one spot.

Improving Agile practices and creating a planning tool

Looking at the group’s Agile practices, Celerity identified areas of poor scrum hygiene and recommended best practices. The group was just starting their Agile journey and should expect it would take a few sprints to learn and apply Agile concepts effectively. With leaders providing continuous support, coaching, and a conducive environment, the Agile mindset now had a chance to flourish. Celerity also helped the team improve its deadline estimation by creating a sprint planning tool designed to provide a rough estimate of how long each component of the new platform would take.

Focusing the organization on delivering business value

Celerity noticed that the group was more aligned around the tool they worked on than the business function they performed. Celerity helped provide alternative means of structuring the team that focused on empowering individuals to deliver business value autonomously. Celerity also saw the team lacked sufficient breadth and depth of skills, resulting in production bottlenecks. Looking deeper, Celerity found that many team members had mindsets inhibitive to learning, so they provided a competency skills matrix and a plan for on-the-job training, including a plan to develop mindsets open to learning and growth. Finally, Celerity advised them on incorporating Cloud competencies and a DevOps culture into the team. All this was to be adapted iteratively—testing and refining the hypothesis with new information. That way, the team could be aligned to delivering business value, whatever that form took.

Improving Agile practices and increasing sprint volume by 400%

From these organizational alignment efforts, the IT operations group experienced a dramatic turnaround. By developing a mindset putting its business client at the center, it was able to focus its work on the platform migration, supporting a much faster deployment onto the new platform. Improved Agile practices also helped improve sprint velocity, increasing by over 400% over the course of several sprints. Finally, the team increased its focus on delivering business value, following Celerity’s roadmap to teaching team members new skills and a mindset that allowed them to add value, even amidst change and disruption.

Before Celerity

Organizational alignmentFocus on non-client IT needs

Organizational alignmentSlow progress on migration to new platform

Organizational alignmentLow sprint velocity

Organizational alignmentTeam aligned to skills on legacy platform

Nontransparent, numerous sources of work requests

agile principlesPoor Agile hygiene and estimation

With Celerity

Organizational alignmentCustomer-centric mindset prioritizing business client needs

Organizational alignmentRapid, focused and prioritized progress on the platform

Organizational alignment400% improvement in sprint velocity

Organizational alignmentLong-term training plan for skills aligned to business value

Integrated Approach IconWork requests controlled through a single backlog, visible to all

Agile Method IconImproved Agile hygiene and estimation

Leading National Bank

Process mapping

Leading National Bank

Process analysis

Major National Credit Union

Vision and strategy