What is Agile and Why Does it Matter?
Agile principles are integrated into the Banker’s Toolbox development process
Though you’ve probably heard the word “agile” before, you may not have heard it in this context. To software developers, the word “agile” corresponds with a better way to, well, develop. So what is agile, and why does it matter in banking?
Agile principles were created to eliminate silos, long lead times and other barriers that slowed down the software development process. Agile introduces feedback loops, transparency, and you guessed it – agility – to the development process. Prior to the 1990s, it took the automotive industry six or more years to design a new car. Later, when agile principles became more common, that time was cut in half. Today, agile principles are essentially the norm in software companies.
Here at Banker’s Toolbox, our developers have implemented what are called scrum practices. A methodology under the agile “umbrella,” scrum allows the team to respond to change as it happens as opposed to following a plan that was defined a year or 18 months ago, for example. (In the waterfall example in the image below, a team would take several months before releasing and/or welcoming feedback for their product. With agile, feedback is integrated every step of the way.)
Agile also ensures we’re actually building the right products. By iterating every week or two, the development team is able to determine what is the best thing that we should be working on right now. Embracing change, making sure we’re moving in the right direction, and providing real value to our customers is an important part of our development process.
Banker’s Toolbox invests 30% of its revenue back into research and development. By doing so, we are able to continuously provide the highest quality products that satisfy our customers’ standards. We even involve customers in the feedback process by holding regular working group sessions where we welcome customers’ input before a product is released.
“With agile principles, we’re able to pay attention to the needs of the industry and our customers,” said Vice President of Research and Development Mark Ragan. “We can adapt faster, and we’re not locked into a plan for the long term.”
Believe it or not, some financial institutions are beginning to adopt agile principles, as well. “Some say it’s the future of retaining relevancy for banking as a whole,” wrote John Ginovsky, contributing editor at Banking Exchange. Many financial institutions are adopting agile principles as a way to remain relevant, create efficiencies, and provide value to customers in new ways. Whether or not this is adopted large-scale remains to be seen.
In the software world, the agile method is a dynamic way for developers to pivot, iterate and prioritize what they are working on. For us at Banker’s Toolbox, it’s a critical piece of the product development strategy. It allows for efficiencies and ultimately, better output in the form of excellent products. We’re proud of that!
To learn more about the risk management solutions developed by Banker’s Toolbox, visit our website.