Improving software development project execution at a financial services company



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Information Technology (IT) is inextricably tied to financial services; the business can no longer view IT as simply a part of discretionary spending. More particular to the financial services industry, technology is a way to gain competitive advantage through innovation. Financial services companies discover ways to utilize technology in order to generate product and process innovation, for example, consider the innovation to use scanners and, more recently, smart phones to deposit checks from home or elsewhere instead of with an ATM or a teller at a brick and mortar bank. As the market becomes more competitive, financial services companies must rely even more on product and process innovation. A key enabler of this innovation is the ability to fully understand the current state of how business value is delivered through the use of IT. This understanding can in turn help financial services companies to plan more effectively both strategically and tactically as the environmental factors change constantly. As companies spend vast amounts of money on projects, it is imperative to understand how ideas flow through a life cycle and are ultimately realized by some process or product offering that in turn deliver some value to the business. The goal of IT for the business is often stated as an improvement in triumvirate: better, faster, cheaper. The difficulty with this goal is that these facets are often mutually exclusive. How then, can IT deliver? This thesis will examine how one financial services company may improve its software project delivery process by examining its historical and current operating state and then discussing some recommendations to achieve improvement.