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We are a global management consultancy that delivers exceptional outcomes and sustainable change


Part II: How to improve digital project delivery in financial services

September 4, 2023 | Business Transformation

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We are running a two-part series on the challenges of digital delivery in the financial services industry. This is the second and final article in the series in which we discuss solutions to the challenges. Read Part I here.

At a Glance

  • In an industry that relies heavily on digital systems and processes, suboptimal digital project delivery can be costly in many ways
  • Different types of behaviours and cultural differences among senior leaders and individual employees can affect a bank’s ability to deliver its digital projects on time and on budget.
  • A deep dive into current projects to understand their processes and how far they have progressed is an important aspect to help deliver measurable outcomes

A bank’s success in delivering its digital projects within specified timelines and budgets depends largely on its operational processes, management controls, and organisational culture.

When a bank faces challenges such as outdated processes, budget overruns, insufficient project visibility, siloed behaviours across business and IT departments, and a lack of effective key performance indicators (KPIs) reporting, what measures can be taken to facilitate transformational change?

In this article, we discuss three potential solutions and their mechanisms in detail.

Improving the Project Management Lifecycle Process

The Project Management Lifecycle Process is a structured approach that outlines each task and activity, that contributes to the likelihood of project success. Improvements to this process can be made in the following areas (non-exhaustive):

1. Improving functional requirements

This process should include tighter controls over the creation and modification of functional requirements. This is because frequent changes at a late phase of the project, can lead to budget overruns and project delays.

2. Systematic Resource & Capacity Planning Analysis

This process should include a comprehensive analysis of internal and external resources and the capacity plans for all relevant functions, stakeholders, and technical environments. This is because not having the right resources, with the right skills and the right time will impact the activities of the project causing potential delays.

Improving the Project Management Control System  

Based on Renoir’s observations, some of these actions can be taken in the Project Management Lifecycle Management Control System (MCS) to achieve better results:  

1. Prioritisation 

The approach to prioritising key project activities and overarching project sequences should be standardised. These should also factor in their links to Business Unit (BU) strategies. Implementers of key project activities need to have a clear view of the whole programme, to enable project synergies and interdependencies.  

2. Effective stage gates 

The stage gate process, which divides a large project into a series of decision points with gates between them, is essential to project progress. It is, therefore, important to dedicate these gates specifically to projects and to clearly outline and communicate the objective criteria. Compliance with these criteria must be emphasised at each decision point to ensure the project stays on track.  

Changing behaviour and culture  

As the central figure in the theory of organisations, Philip Selznick once put it, “Organisations are made up of individuals, and there is no organisation without individuals.”  

It is important to recognise the role of individual employees in understanding the complex mechanisms of organisational functioning. Their actions or inactions can bring about change or hinder progress within an organisation, and in this case, the financial institution they work for.  

Based on the findings from Renoir’s engagement with prominent banks in Asia, we make several observations about how the different types of behaviours and cultural differences among senior leaders and individual employees can affect a bank’s ability to deliver its digital projects on time and on budget.   

Given that digital projects rely on interdependent actions carried out by multiple actors within the bank, the differences in employee behaviours can affect the specific routine, resulting in project delays. Here are the steps that can be taken to address the behavioural and cultural differences between managers and individual employees:  

1. Strict adherence to process 

Firstly, it is essential to evaluate existing processes to check for optimisation, particularly in terms of sequence and artefact handling. This evaluation is necessary before introducing new ways of working within the organisation, which can be properly applied through change management.  

2. Documentation discipline 

Project documentation may be insufficient due to a lack of discipline among individual employees who have been assigned to record it. Changing this routine will improve the robustness of the recorded project information.  

3. Improve understanding of agile methodologies  

The understanding of agile methodology such as the concept of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) can be improved between the business and IT units. With a better mutual understanding between both units, it fosters a closer and seamless collaboration, thus accelerating the development of a project.   

Prioritising excellence in digital project delivery  

In an industry that relies heavily on digital systems and processes, we understand the importance of prioritising excellence in digital project delivery as any suboptimal performance can be costly to an organisation in many ways.  

At Renoir, we focus on measurable outcomes using a proven bottom-up, end-to-end approach. Our methodology involves a comprehensive analysis of opportunities across your value chain. At the same time, we actively engage with people at all levels within your organisation.  

Our subject matter experts understand the evolving banking landscape and the varying regulatory requirements in different countries and regions. As such, we apply a meticulous planning approach to mitigate risk and ensure regulatory compliance throughout the transformation process. 

We need experts to help us develop a roadmap based on our current strategy.

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