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NCB Debuts ‘Agile’ Banking

Digital product delivery at the NCB Financial Group is being pursued at hyper-speed, by the company’s own estimation, with new cross-functional teams at work in a specialist information technology unit, called the Agile Lab.

At the helm within the ever changing working space at the lab – which is configured for comfort, replete with couches, bean bags and sticky pad-adorned kanban boards or white boards used to track the planning process – is 36-year-old John-Matthew Sinclair, who is now five months into the job as programmer and tasked with building the Agile team.

“We are under construction,” Sinclair said last Wednesday on a tour of the facility by Gleaner Business.

Agile Lab was recently allotted its operating space. It has four teams, and at the helm of each is a scrum master, who leads the cycle of product development, called a sprint. The cycle is weekly.

In this new department, built on the philosophy of agility, dozens of professionals from multiple disciplines interface with traditional coders and data scientists or software developers to produce services which make the lives of consumers more “delightful”, as the banking group puts it.

NCB Financial said the lab represented a significant portion of its spend on infor-mation technology. This is expected to accelerate transformation, and shorten NCB’s product development cycle from three years to less than six months.

The NCB Agile Lab opened in April. Its first deliverable, digital online savings accounts, happened four months later. Digital account opening is now being piloted in three branches for customers with driver’s licences and voter ID. Full roll out is expected in 2018.

Published in the Jamaica Gleaner
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