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Since June 2022, we have been assisting one of Norway's largest banks with expertise in agile consulting, documentation, and tools in one of their most ambitious projects.

Bank's Realisation

Several years ago, the bank recognized the need to change the approach to large projects. Technology is constantly evolving, and banks must be able to handle disruptive technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. This requires the ability to manage continuous changes and efficient problem-solving. The bank realised that agile project methodology could be the solution.

Why SAFe Methodology?

There are several specialised methods within agile work methodology, and the SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) method is particularly suitable for large organisations. SAFe is a framework that helps the organisation address challenges that arise in the best possible way. It assists the organisation in prioritising tasks and ensures visibility across departments and teams. One of the benefits of SAFe is that it enables better communication and collaboration between business and IT – a known barrier in many projects.

To ensure that business and IT work towards the same goals, the SAFe framework utilizes "Agile Release Trains" (ART). An Agile Release Train is a "train" composed of multiple teams that, together with stakeholders, develop and deliver one or more solutions in a value chain. The purpose is to realize benefits by creating solutions that provide value to end-users.

How Has the SAFe Method Been Received Internally?

Banks are traditional institutions, and our consultant from QUARKS expected to encounter internal resistance. Understanding that not everyone would immediately let go of their accustomed ways of working would be natural, right? However, this was not the case with our client – the implementation of SAFe has gone (relatively) smoothly, and the project organisation is divided into logical areas that make it easy for project participants to collaborate across borders.

In situations where resistance occurs, it is even more important for us as consultants not to stop challenging the clients we advise.

At QUARKS, we believe in transformation through targeted work with agile methods and practices. We tailor our projects to the clients' culture and identity as much as possible, knowing that it takes time to change mindsets and become familiar with new ways of working.

SAFe Makes Developing a Common Solution Easier.

In the bank, departments such as business and IT are initially separate, which can make collaboration and project coordination challenging. As the SAFe framework is flexible, we have made local adjustments that allow departments to hold individual and joint planning meetings. This leads to predictability and planning across departments, three months ahead.

Benefits of Using SAFe

A survey involving over 1 million individuals in more than 20,000 companies shows that the SAFe method leads to 10–50% more engaged employees, 30–75% faster time to market, 20–50% increased productivity, and 25–75% better quality of results.

Although the project at the bank is not yet completed, results are evident: We see that the organisation is constantly evolving, and employees' mindsets increasingly align with agile work methods. The project has adopted tools that empower teams to self-organize and make their own decisions. Simultaneously, the teams are aware of the end product and shared goals. The result is that the project and the bank as a whole are better equipped to deliver maximum value to their customers.

Contact Irmelin Skålevik - to learn more about getting started with SAFe or consulting on agile work methodologies 🤝⛳


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