How Fidelity is Embracing an Agile Mindset

By David Bracken

As global business becomes faster-paced and more complex, we at Fidelity are evolving the way we work to better fit the digital age.

A key component of this effort is to apply the agile approach to project management. More than 700 associates will soon be involved in agile pilot projects as we drive value for our clients at greater speed. The learnings from these pilots will help Fidelity identify the best path forward for scaling agile within the organization.

In June, hundreds of Fidelity associates gathered in person and online to learn more about agile and why it is crucial to the firm’s drive to be a client-obsessed, digital organization. Our keynote speaker, Stephen Denning, author of The Age of Agile, told the audience that agile is a set of values and a mindset—not a technology or a process or even an organizational structure.

“It’s not something you can write down in a manual,” he said. “It’s a different way of understanding and thinking about the world.”

In an agile organization, the goal of everyone is to delight the customer.

Work is continually broken down into smaller, iterative releases and completed by small, autonomous teams. Instead of a top-down bureaucracy, the agile organization functions as a fluid network where ideas can sprout from anywhere. “Those doing work have a clear line of sight to the ultimate end-user, the customer,” Denning said.

Jerome Ruwe, Fidelity’s Head of Agile Delivery Transformation, described agile as a mental model that our teams will use to navigate today’s complex business climate and deliver client value more rapidly.

Ruwe said it can be easy to prioritize process over principle when moving to a more agile way of working. At Fidelity, the goal is to align all associates with a common vision in how we think about our business and our customers.

“There’s no in or out of the model,” he said. “There’s one group of passionate, like-minded leaders excited to determine how far we can take the client experience.”