Project Management

Three Large Banks, Three Different Approaches to Agile Adoption

PMI Durham Highlands Chapter

Kevin Aguanno is the agile practice lead for Procept Associates Ltd., one of PMI’s first Registered Education Providers, specializing in training and project and programme strategy consulting. Author of over 30 books, audiobooks and DVDs on project management topics, he teaches agile methods at several universities and at conferences around the world. He spends most of his time helping large, complex organizations integrate agile project management methods into their governance frameworks.

As the use of agile methods spreads into larger organizations, senior managers struggle to decide their agile adoption strategy. In helping many clients develop and implement their adoption strategies, I have seen many variations in approach and results. Here are three stories from three large Canadian banks who each took a different adoption approach. I am choosing these specific stories as the companies are all about the same size, in the same geographic market, in the same industry and are governed by the same regulators. With so many challenges in common, the only major difference is their different strategic approaches. In this article, I have called them Bank A, Bank B and Bank C.

Many teams within all of the banks had been experimenting with agile, but were doing so without formal endorsement by the owners of the banks’ delivery and governance processes; in essence, these teams were trying to stay “under the radar” and not to catch the attention of the process auditors. This article does not examine these stealthy agile initiatives; rather, it focuses on the official agile deployments within the banks.

Bank A: Early Adoption with High Resistance
Bank A was the first major Canadian bank to take a formal plunge into agile waters in 2007. The team that owned the bank’s waterfall-based project delivery method was asked to develop an agile…


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