12 August 2021
Civil engineering projects lend themselves to waterfall methods; building a bridge from a fixed point to a fixed point is complex and while obstacles may appear in the process the scope is pretty much fixed. Projects in Capital Markets are a long way from civil engineering – applying the same methods and approaches is a pathway to failure.
The underlying issue is the dynamic nature of the business. It is not fixed. The scope can be defined, but it is the scope as understood at that moment in time. The moment you start, it changes. The underlying business changes and the business priorities change; it is about as far from building a bridge as you can get. That is why agile approaches work so well for Capital Markets.
If it was just about agility, the plan would be simple but there are further considerations/influences that drive successful delivery from service providers:
Embrace the Jeff Bezos 2-pizza ethos – small teams work. It is possible to scale by adding further pods, but only to a point. If you find yourself in a large project office stuffed with consultants, you know you are doing it wrong.
Delivering transformations in the Capital Markets is a complex business and it requires industry knowledge to operate effectively. Generalists don’t tend to do so well as they struggle to adapt to the language and critical nuances of the landscape.
Agile working practices go beyond technology build and are equally applicable to business-focused services such as regulatory change, KYC, risk management etc. In fact, we use them ourselves to manage and run our own business.
Big change equals big risk; following the bridge-building approach for a dynamic business will typically lead to big failure. Break that ‘big-change’ down into lots of small changes and you maximise your chances of big-success.