COVID-19 is shifting the needs of banking customers—from more virtual banking and working capital to other supportive offers that bolster financial security. To meet these needs, banks are becoming more innovative. One way they are doing that is by integrating Agile methodologies into the M&A process for greater resilience, competitiveness and growth in the years ahead.

A more flexible way to higher M&A value

Due to stringent regulation in the industry, banks tend to use the Waterfall project delivery method for merger integration. However, leaders are turning towards the more flexible and highly iterative Agile integration method to advance their innovation and customer-centric agendas in the face of COVID-19’s economic uncertainty. Doing so can help banks more easily adapt to and address fast-changing market needs, while also more quickly achieving their targeted M&A outcomes—from cost efficiency to innovation.

Our experience executing M&A integrations in the context of COVID-19 reaffirms the need for banks to be more flexible in the way they approach these endeavors. In an unpredictable environment—and in integrations where innovation must be sustained—an agile, iterative approach can be more effective.

What an Agile + Waterfall approach to M&A can do

Blended Agile-Waterfall approaches have been around for a while. Yet there are few, if any, banking industry use cases for bimodal delivery transformation, at scale, during an M&A integration. That is changing.

By first assessing the value of a blended approach and giving it the ‘green light’, a bank can expect to increase its customer focus, encourage innovation, reduce delivery risk and improve the transparency of its merger integration.

How does this happen? A milestone roadmap, built through collaborative cross-functional team sessions, guides project leadership to track progress and align activities with regulatory requirements. Agile sprints manage the implementation in ways that keep teams well informed of the work being conducted across the organization and can be iterative based on team feedback. It yields higher levels of program flexibility, making it simpler and easier for banks to successfully execute their merger integration.

How banks can adopt a blended approach

To increase the flexibility in your banking merger integration, we suggest a three-step approach:

1. Select the right teams for Agile delivery

Decide where Agile can add the most value by picking work sets that drive innovation, and match those with teams that are versed in the Agile method.

2. Build an outcome-based plan

A single, integrated delivery plan that applies both Waterfall and Agile concepts can make for a more strategic merger that meets expectations.

3. Enable Agile within integration teams

Adjust training approaches and create new programs to wisely and purposefully introduce—not force—Agile into your integration teams.

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Leading banks will redefine what “good” looks like to deliver both integration success and innovation by embracing Agile as a cornerstone of their integration approach.

Get more from your bank’s M&A

A blended Waterfall + Agile M&A integration approach that follows the three steps we’ve set out allows banks to extract more value from their mergers—both delivering their intended outcomes and increasing their innovation muscle. We have the experience, skills and capabilities to help you make it happen. Read our report or contact our team to learn more.

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