How to set up a digital project that works!
Alain Fischer exposes his own vision about the way you must set up a digital project that works !
Alain Pierre Fischer
Chief Digital Officer – GBIS
Alain Fischer began his career within Axa’s Life Insurance Actuary Department. He was appointed Project Manager within the Economic and Financial Research Department of Chevreux in 1997, before becoming Head of Research & Sales Technology.
In 2007, he joined Societe Generale Corporate & Investment Banking’s (SG CIB) Cash Equity team as Global Head of Projects & Organization and then later became Global Head of Operations and Technology for the Research and Strategy department. In 2013, he was appointed Global Head of e-Business for Global Markets.
Alain Fischer is a graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Informatique et de Mathématiques Appliquées, in France.
How to set up a digital project that works !
Like most large groups around the world, Société Générale has embraced agile approaches in IT projects for some time. But they can be expensive, lengthy and sometimes with late projects deliveries. Therefore, we have developed our own practices for our Global Banking & Investor Solutions activities, designed to better fit with our short time to market ambitions. One area where our difference is particularly apparent lies in the way we assemble the teams working on our projects: at a time where "pizza teams" are popular, we prefer an organization based on "3-heads teams".
Every project is co-led by 3 persons, each one is responsible for a distinct aspect of the product to deliver and collectively accountable for the outcome:
- the business leader -or product owner, as (s)he is known in the agile vocabulary- cares about the use case to be addressed,
- the UX leader focuses on the user experience, ergonomics and graphic design,
- and the IT leader manages all the technical aspects, from the front-end to the back-end, going through the API.
During the initial stages of the project, the team aims designing a product that is targeting a real, well-defined need, perfectly fit for its target users, while ensuring that it is technically feasible from the onset. Thus, its first task is to deliver a full set of specifications, taking the form of a MVP ("Minimum Viable Product"), covering the functions to be included, the complete user journey (validated with a sample of actual customers or business users) and the software services which are necessary to make it happen. In further sprints, while still actively involved, the business and UX leaders let the development team take the lead, under the helm of the IT leader.
At first look, this approach may sound like older methodologies. But it has a few distinctive advantages that make all the difference. First, the 3 heads-lead team principle is extraordinarily more efficient than the standard steering models, where there are multiple committees with overlapping mandates, countless participants and diluted responsibilities. In addition, the tight collaboration between the 3 leaders offers an insurance that all the important aspects of the development cycle are covered and converging toward a useful product in a minimum time.
Now generalized for all projects designed for the Global Banking & Investor Solutions activities, these simple principles bring excellent results. Our teams deliver finished products in a matter of a few months, at a much more competitive cost, with outcomes with a higher added value and addressing all user needs.