Agile project management methods have been widely proven, especially in IT projects, since their emergence in the 1990s. They are now widespread and appreciated for the many benefits they bring, especially in terms of time savings. and productivity. On the other hand, it is only in recent years that institutions such as market banks have been interested in it. If they do not necessarily adopt the entirety of an agile method, some concepts are nonetheless retained. So what do agile methods really bring to market banks?
A rather late discovery
While they appeared for the first time in the computer industry in the 1990s, agile methods are still little adopted by the market banks. Why do these companies, often associated with a rather dynamic, innovative and seemingly forward-looking image, seem to discover agile methods only in recent years? However, their software development needs are very high, usually with significant complexity, both in terms of business processes and security. Market banks often have a reputation for employing talented developers, but that’s not enough.
Market banks, on the other hand, face more operational constraints and regulatory rules than companies in the IT industry. These constraints and controls, put in place to ensure that the strict rules governing these companies are respected, could therefore hinder the implementation of new methods, and explain why the agile methods only break through in this area in recent years. and at a much less steady pace than in other areas.
On the other hand, the Agile Manifesto which defines the twelve great principles of the methodology may very well not be applied to the letter. Transformation to an agile method can therefore be done in stages, not all agile principles being applied literally and comprehensively. The introduction of agility within the market banks is therefore rather heterogeneous and is specific to each company. Nevertheless, once the shift is made, we can only note that the gradual abandonment of old project management methods in favor of agile methods brings many advantages.
For example, the flexibility provided by an agile method makes it possible to manage all unforeseen events effectively. The project is divided into short stages, with a specific objective. At the end of each stage, the deliverables are tested. If the result is positive, move on to the next step, otherwise the development team corrects the problems before continuing. If changes occur in the demand or structure of the team, the objectives are modified accordingly.
Ultimately, an agile method will bring flexibility for project management, higher quality deliverables as they are tested continuously, and better control of the overall budget.
Automated rules and controls for better control
Many rules govern the market banks, which apply to the heart of IT projects. Many controls and validations are implemented at different levels, because any breach of a rule can be very expensive later on the company.
In this sense, a classic method like “Waterfall” can be reassuring. This so-called “cascading” or “V-cycle” method consists of sequentially following predefined steps, from the analysis of needs to the production and maintenance of the product, to the writing of the functional specifications. , budgeting and comprehensive planning of developments. All stages are planned and all deliverables are validated and tested before delivery. There can sometimes be many validation processes, and we can move to the next phase only when 100% of the developed solution is validated. Full control, and reassuring, therefore applies.
Is this one of the reasons why agility sometimes struggles to make its way into these companies? Without a doubt. When switching to an agile method, it can sometimes feel like losing some control. Decisions are no longer centralized and the teams are autonomous. Is this a weakness? Does the final quality decrease? No, of course.
On the other hand, the use of an agile method will make it possible to cut out what was then a big project, in several smaller, better targeted, and finally better controlled . A short delivery cycle, a greater involvement of teams and end-users who enter the validation process from the beginning, an iterative process … all agile elements that will ultimately allow to better control the development and quality of the process. product code, improve productivity and reduce delays.
On the other hand, “agility” does not mean “less control”. Controls and validations will always be as numerous and binding. On the other hand, most of them can be automated, thus freeing up time for those who were in charge until then. The ability to deliver application parts quickly and frequently allows for finer control. An anomaly or a design error is thus more quickly identified and corrected with a cost much lower than it would have been if the problem had been identified at the end of the project. Thanks to regular reviews, end-users can validate or invalidate developments in progress in a matter of minutes, and reorient developments as needed. So we get a flexibility that does no