Implementing lean processes at a financial advisory firm

The Situation

A Canadian Investment Management Company partnered with Continuus Technologies to implement a multi-year front, middle, and back office application upgrade program. During the partnership, our consultants noticed that the firm’s internal IT team was struggling with the firm’s approach to project management and implementation. Although they had some knowledge of agile and lean processes, IT projects were taking far too long, which caused employees to search for workaround “solutions” that were not always the best answer to their challenges. To help improve project turnaround time, the firm was using an ever-growing list of consultants, which forced the IT team to forego working on internal projects in favor of managing external partners.

The Continuus Approach

Our consultants worked with the firm’s IT team to help them move from a waterfall to an agile approach for project development and management. We encouraged the IT team to work more closely with business analysts, which led to greater understanding of the challenges both groups were facing and the value each could bring to the solution. Short (15 minute) daily meetings and visualization techniques helped anyone involved in a particular project to understand the progress that occurred the previous day and what would happen next. Most importantly, our consultants worked on number of change management initiatives to help the more efficient processes we developed be accepted and implemented across the entire firm.

Results

Working with Continuus allowed the firm to capitalize on the IT team’s tenure and knowledge of past projects while injecting a new way of thinking that got the firm out of a project management rut. The internal team has become so adept at deploying projects to different environments, that what once was an hours-long process the team tried to avoid at all costs has now become something they do every day, generally in less than an hour. Most importantly, because the internal team now has a way to more efficiently kick off and implement IT work, the firm is outsourcing less work, which is saving both time and money.