An Insurance Industry Takes a Bold Step with agile42
A major player in the insurance industry began the transformation from a Waterfall project management method to an Agile approach in 2014 with the implementation of two successful pilot teams. When moving forward and scaling beyond these pilots required a more comprehensive approach, the company partnered with agile42 in the summer of 2015. Unlike other coaching companies, agile42’s Enterprise Transition Framework™ (ETF) offered a pathway to success, an important consideration for any company, especially one in a risk-averse industry.
Today, with the help of agile42’s unique empirical approach and trademarked tools, the company, currently with seven agile teams and more in the immediate pipeline, continues to move closer to becoming fully agile.
Evaluating current conditions
The company signed a three month contract with agile42 in April. The following month a coach led a two day assessment, which included collecting survey and interview responses from senior level to line-workers, to create a current snapshot of the company as a whole. From there, a transition team, consisting of company employees chosen from mid-management and below, presented the assessment findings at the senior level workshop.
Assessment results revealed the company to be a strong and stable organization, with quality people, exceptional benefits and a consistent vision of continuing responsible growth. Company culture is mostly control and reality-oriented due to strong regulatory responsibilities. Team cultures ranged from mostly control to cultivator, with some incubators for cultivating people and exploring possibilities.
Based on the assessment, agile42 suggested several recommendations and immediately began the Strategic Planning phase. Under the guidance of the coach, the company’s aforementioned transition team outlined the company’s journey by utilizing an agile42 organizational change tool called the Agile Strategy Map™. Combining the insights of the assessment with the business goals, the Agile Strategy Map™ process allowed the company to envision and identify the success criteria necessary to move forward today and ultimately become more agile in the future.
Putting training into practice
Following training and chartering, the company launched their first Sprint and coaching began in earnest.
For the next several weeks, agile42 coaches supported the teams through three Sprints. Teaching Scrum Masters the management skills to nurture and sustain the teams along the way, coaches continued to assist product owners in creating a prioritized backlog of work, while setting clear expectations of delivery. With timely filings with the state required in this industry, a definitive timeline for delivery is essential.
Coaches additionally encouraged teams to think outside the box and customize their agile journey. As a result, several Scrum Masters formed a Guild, which meets weekly to discuss team issues and share solutions. “We’re trying to encourage a similar guild for product owners,” says a Scrum Master speaking for the group.
As part of agile42’s Team Coaching Framework™ (TCF) all team members received access to online coaching resources. Solutions to common challenges or “coaching cards,” submitted by team members of other national and international companies agile42 has trained, provide possible resolutions to issues. On the flip side, team members from the insurance company can also submit cards. Tools from the tool library as well as ones attached to individual cards by agile coaches deliver additional insight and support. No other coaching company offers this type of extended coaching.
Promising results and beneficial change
Near the end of the engagement, agile42 conducted a second assessment survey and compared the results with the first with the bulk of responses now in the “practicing” level or moving toward mastery.
With seven agile teams operating successfully, the company is definitely headed in the right direction. Of course, challenges still exist.
For further information, please contact our North America office.
agile42 supports organizations in agile software development and agile transitions by training and coaching managers and employees in agile methods and agile leadership.