Large-Scale Agile Transformation : A Case Study Conducted in the Banking Industry with a Focus on Organizational, Managerial, and Cultural Aspects

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Abstract: In today's competitive market, established organizations need to adapt in order to survive. One way to do this is by transforming to agile. Since its origin in the IT industry, the agile approach has been embraced by several different industries. One industry where several major players have undergone an agile transformation is the banking industry, an industry which is characterized by strict regulatory requirements, complex organizational structure, and extensive use of technology. By conducting a case study exploring the agile transformation inside three large banks in Sweden, the motivating factors behind transforming to large-scale agile as well as the key aspects to consider when pursuing an agile transformation have been investigated. The study aims to contribute academically to existing research within the implementation of large-scale agile in the banking industry as well as practically by outlining driving factors and critical considerations when pursuing an agile transformation. An understanding of that the traditional ways of working did not suit today's dynamic market in combination with a need to increase market speed and faster respond to changes in customer needs were found to be the main motivating factors behind why the banks decided to transform to an agile approach. The theoretical and empirical findings led to the identification of five aspects to consider when transforming to large-scale agile. The five aspects are: The role of management, adjusting the method or framework to the organization, the people side of change, knowledge and education as well as the role of HR. Out of these five aspects, our findings indicate that the people side of change is the most challenging one but also the most crucial one to manage in order to accomplish a successful implementation. An active management support throughout the entire transformation journey, change-positive people in positions of leadership, adjustment of chosen methods or frameworks, and adequate funding for knowledge and education were discovered to be critical for a successful transformation. Furthermore, it was discovered that by integrating the HR function early in the transformation, many of the challenges associated with change management and leadership could be mitigated.

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