Redefining consulting solutions through agile

With offices across the US and Canada, our client is one of the largest players in the retirement, health, and benefits in North America.

Services Provided

Rapid Prototyping

Rapid Prototyping

Strategy

Strategy

Design

Design

Engineering

Engineering

Systems Hosting

Systems & Hosting

Product Success

Product Success

Challenge

Uniting and growing through adoption of agile design and development

During our engagement, we were faced with the question of how we could disturb the status quo and innovate in a company that has been operating the same way for 50 years.

Our Response

Introduce Agile Design and Development

Show, don't tell

Provide the sales teams with prototypes that can demo the client’s offering quickly and effectively- this is both for their external clients and internal stakeholders

Consolidate

Unite an organization among different lines of business (LOBs)

Educate and grow

Provide coaching and training on the shift from waterfall development to agile development practises

Trail blaze

Impact the organization by influencing their approach to technology, solutions and their relationship with the end user

Prototypes over Presentations

Being a sales-driven organization, our client relies on interest from prospects to facilitate the planning and development of new technology-driven solutions. This results in the reactive creation of an experience vs proactive planning. In order to shift their mindset to adopt our product strategy methods, we repeatedly demonstrated the value of building a comprehensive prototype which told a simple story and solved key problems using intuitive user experience design principles. Over time, we began to change the way they approached prospects by providing them with demos for products such as innovative member and client portals, calculators, responsive web applications, and mobile apps. Presenting a tangible, working demo of the product they were selling has helped to solidify their reputation as an innovative leader in their market and win them business in shorter sales cycle.

Bridging Segmented LOBs

With very distinct verticals, different LOBs rarely communicated on client initiatives. We created custom kick-off strategy sessions at the onset of every project bringing together upwards of 20 employees from as many as 7 offices spanning multiple provinces and states. Pulling together all the stakeholders and creating a simple forum to identify the features and dependencies required has helped to create a communication bridge as well as a solid 360 degree product strategy that focussed on putting the user first, instead of the client’s silos dictating the feature requirements.

Introducing Agile Development to a Waterfall Shop

At the start of 2015, our client was finally ready to take on their first agile project alongside Intersect. We guided them on some of the fundamentals such as: the creation of user stories for development, proper sprint review structure and how to conduct backlog refinement and planning meetings. We sent front-end developers and designers to work side-by-side with their teams to help instill the importance of collaboration and integration in agile development. We introduced new documentation methods using tools like Pivotal Tracker and processes like Continuous Integration. We have a casual, strong relationship with this team as they reach out frequently for advice or insight when they have questions or want to talk through an approach to a project we aren’t involved in.

Building an Innovation Firm

Our partnership has led our client to adopt a new approach to product strategy and development, create internal bridges between LOBs, and re-structure their IT department to adopt agile development practices. They are no longer afraid of the iterative approach agile offers – in fact, they are beginning to embrace it. We are starting to get open-ended briefs – they are asking us to help them to better define the problem and work together on the right approach to a product that will offer a solution. We are looking for simple experiences that real users can leverage to understand complicated government policies. With our partnership and their ability to embrace change and innovation, our client is set-up to blaze a new future in the industry.

Outcome

We have built a strategic, trusting relationship with this client that has formed into a valuable partnership. With over 10 products prototyped in 2 years (both high a low-fidelity), and each of them in development for market release, we are part of the product development team used to generate innovative solutions.