Agile approach can work in banks: ex-IBM CIO

Agile can work in a bank, according to former IBM and Telstra chief information officer Jeff Smith, who says there’s no difference in the approach between a technology and financial services company. 

“The reality is you still have leadership practices,” Smith – who has just been appointed to ANZ’s International Technology and Digital Business Advisory Panel – told bluenotes on video

“What agile does is give you a good framework… and ultimately [help] measure the things that matter.” - Jeff Smith

“A leader’s role is quite simply, in any company – you give your teams clarity of purpose, you create a good productive work environment and you inspire them to do great things.

“What agile does is give you a good framework… and ultimately [help] measure the things that matter."

Smith said there was a misconception agile is just technology practices companies use to build products. He joins ANZ after three years rolling out the agile framework at IBM.

The key to working with agile, Smith says, is figure out the measures that matter for the problems you are trying to solve.

“In a tech company your measures… [are around] how fast you can get from design to completing it,” he said.  “The cycle time it takes from [deciding] to put new features in in a product till the time it actually is in a customer’s hands.”

The implementation of agile may cause some ‘anxiety” among leaders, Smith says, but staff are quick to adapt in his experience.

“Practitioners lap it up,” he said. ‘They get better at a faster rate than we ever give them credit for, independent of technology or where they’re working.” 

Smith also touched on his experience so far with the advisory board, outlining the sorts of challenges looming on the technology and digital front. Watch the videos above to find out more.

Andrew Cornell is managing editor at bluenotes

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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