Road Report: Methodologies Get Provoked and Hacked at OPEX Financial Services

OPEX Financial Services

Last week I attended the OPEX Financial Services conference near Austin. Reflecting on the event, I was reminded of how important it is to challenge the mindset toward the status quo.

It all started with John Mansfield’s keynote Operational Excellence Methodologies and Their Blind Spots when he asserted that at Fidelity they are “methodology agnostic.” Sparking a flurry of comments, John provoked the audience to get us thinking and talking. During the session, we partnered to discover and discuss blind spots in our methodologies. Doug Sheldon and I had a good laugh over our blind spots around Six Sigma and Agile — too slow and too fast, respectively.

In his presentation Hacking the System, John Green of Pacific Union Financial continued the theme by purporting that the methodologies themselves get in the way of change. He discussed simple, practical ways to get past the methodology “noise” and get the job done.

And, it’s not just the methodologies that need to be challenged — it’s our attitudes. When asked to share attitudes toward the areas of Process, Control, and Governance, the attendees used words like “hard,” “political,” “time-consuming,” and “ugly.” Then, an attendee from Oregon Community Credit Union (OCCU) broke ranks and offered a positive, even celebratory take on these areas. I found her attitudes toward these subjects unique and refreshing.

These provocations, hacks, and challenges to mindsets reminded me of the best-selling book First, Break All the Rules, wherein you intentionally break virtually every rule held sacred by conventional wisdom when it comes to managing people. Perhaps this mindset, too, would push us to disrupt and transform our businesses…even our industry…to be game-changers.

Personally, I enjoyed being challenged with sometimes outrageous suggestions by Mansfield, Green and others at the conference. I’m re-committed to asking thought-provoking questions that challenge the fundamental ways things are done. In the case at TrackVia: Why can’t people just build their own business software apps according to their own processes and methodology?

Traditionally, if you wanted a custom software application, you have to write a business requirements document and make your case to IT. ‘If’ IT accepts the project, you then collaborate on a technical requirements document, wait in the queue for 6 to 9 months, help with user acceptance testing, and so on. Of course, that’s all before your rollout begins!

The common alternative to the custom software scenario above is packaged software that maybe meets 70% of your requirements, and still takes months to deploy. In either case, that’s a painfully long time to wait.

So, how do we disrupt this and change the game? At TrackVia we’ve set out to empower business departments to build and maintain their own apps, according to their requirements, and with the pre-approval of IT.

Using point and click, drag and drop, and simple logic-based rules, businesses can have apps in a matter of weeks. No sophisticated coding required. Plus the platform is secure, compliant, and highly reliable, making it an easy approval process with IT.

Keeping with this theme from OPEX, we at TrackVia are challenging the ‘methodology status quo’ to solve real problems and produce tangible results. How are you challenging your methodologies?

Read this product brief for financial services to learn more about TrackVia and how we can help!


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