Agile Success Story – Bank of America

Agile Success Story – Bank of America

Do you think that your organization is too large or too old to succeed with Agile and Scrum? Think again. This agile success story for Bank of America illustrates how Agile can be made to work in a large and established organization. Read about how the leadership team for the Global Markets at Bank of America successfully transformed by investing in Scrum Training and Agile Coaching.

The move from waterfall to Scrum was the firsts step in a broader Agile Transformation which was led by key Agile Leaders.  Read below for a summary of the key points. A more detailed write-up of this Bank of America Client Success story is available for download.

Agile Transformation: Going All In!

The Agile transformation in Global Markets at Bank of America began in late 2012. The Director of Global Markets Technology at Bank of America Merrill Lynch wanted to improve the time to deliver solutions and reduce key person dependencies across the 100+ people on his technology team.

He recognized the need for a framework to help organize teams around products, share knowledge, and deliver solutions in a predictable way.

The Director and his leadership team went all in on Scrum. They led by example and took Scrum Master certification training themselves before planning Agile training for the rest of the organization and key business stakeholders.

They provided an environment where people could experiment and take risks. They empowered team members and even went so far as to allow the team members to organize themselves into cross-functional feature teams capable of end to end delivery. And they hired Agile Coaches to help them apply Scrum effectively and reinforce the new habits.

Within 6 months, the leadership realized there was no turning back to their previous ways of working. Within a year, the organization had achieved its goals of predictable delivery and the elimination of key person risks. Plus, the framework provided a means for continuous improvement.

The agile success story for Bank of America Agile included the following:

1. Leading by Example

The leadership team went first in terms of their Agile and Scrum training, and several of them made personal sacrifices to add value to the organization.

2. Outside Expertise

Rather than try to do it on their own, the leaders invested in outside training for Scrum and brought in Agile coaches to help reinforce new habits and ways of working.

3. Managing Expectations

Expectations were properly set that Agile would not be a silver bullet that would magically fix the organization.  In fact, everyone was told to expect it would be chaos for six months.

4. Developing Effective Product Owners

Product Owners with the proper budget authority and ownership were selected to work with the development teams.

5. Encouraging Slack and Team Experimentation

Rather than pounding the team for deadlines and throughput, teams were encouraged to plan up to 20% slack time for learning and team experiments.

A detailed report of the Bank of America transformation to Scrum is available free for you to download.  Get your own copy of the Bank of America Client Success story here.

Will your team be the next agile success story?

You can find more success stories, as well as other resources on our Coaching and Agile Transformation page.

Anthony Mersino

Anthony Mersino is the founder of Vitality Chicago, an Agile Training and Coaching firm devoted to helping Teams THRIVE and Organizations TRANSFORM. He is also the author of two books, Agile Project Management, and Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Interested in learning about
    Interested in learning about the transformation journey at BOA

  2. I’d like to better understand
    I’d like to better understand your business results.

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