Big bang Agile

The irony of going Agile in a big bang is lost on those who don’t understand “agile”.

Credit Suisse is the latest

Credit Suisse’s new technology chief wants her team to adopt agile working practices and develop a «robust engineering culture.» … joined the Swiss bank as chief technology and operations officer in January … The move emulates cross-town rival UBS’s shift to agile working methods introduced when its CEO Ralph Hamers took over more than a year ago… Effectively immediately the following employees will report directly …

The new IT boss is a 24-year veteran of Goldman Sachs

What could possibly go wrong?

Credit Suisse culture is not a great one

the Swiss credit institute has quietly been offloading risks from its exposure to U.S.-sanctioned Russian oligarchs, … Hedge funds and other investors that bought securitized portfolios of these deals, backed by the ultra-luxury status items, were asked in a letter this week to “destroy and permanently erase” any evidence of the transaction… just one week after a Suisse Secrets whistleblower with access to sensitive client records inundated Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung with leaks showcasing the bank’s long-standing ties to international drug lords and corrupt regime officials who hid money stolen from their countries.

But that aside, the focus of all banks is on enrichment of the shareholders, quintessential Friedmanism. It is difficult to find financial organisations with different values. This means the only way to sell new ways of working is to make more money as a result than would have been made previously with harsher and more rigid ways of working. It doesn’t matter if you are creating a more adaptable future, let alone  making people happier, if you can’t immediately show the money.

Fortunately, we often can produce immediate results to pay the piper.  You better make damn sure you do at somewhere like Credit Suisse.

So this big bang transformation will be bulldozed through, starting with the worst possible step, a reorganisation.  People will be driven, and costs cut, including laying off staff and deferring essential training and maintenance, to hide the J-curve and deliver the magic. Then those responsible will move on.

At Teal Unicorn, we sometimes find ourselves climbing amongst the smoking ruins.  After they’ve been burnes by the big consulting firms, they’re more amenable to talking to to boutique consultancies who actually care.