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Corporate communication Act. 15 Sep 2016

BBVA Bancomer’s digital factory, disruption in the way of working

Picture of digital factory

The development of digital solutions for credit products, investments, opening accounts, ATMs, mobile apps, are just part of the daily routine for BBVA Bancomer’s dedicated and idiosyncratic teams.

The works system is absolutely disruptive. Two years ago, BBVA Bancomer started applying this system, operating under the so-called Agile method. These new agile methodologies allow responding to the new challenges without losing the leadership that Bancomer has in the market and in customer care.

One of the areas that applies the Agile methodology is the Business Development area. When it was first implemented, 14 teams (Scrums) started working on different businesses of the bank, such as credit, investments, opening accounts, ATMs, mobile apps and some other. Today, the area works with about 50 Scrum teams. Additionally, the support areas to these teams follow other agile methodologies, such as Kanban.

For the past two years, BBVA Bancomer has been applying the Agile methodology, one of the most disruptive work methods, to respond to the new challenges in the market

The new ways of working in some BBVA Bancomer’s areas provide the flexibility required to react quickly, achieve better turnaround times under the Agile methodology, managing to put out viable products in three months. - BBVA Bancomer

Scrums work with a vision focused on catering to customer needs developing products that generate value. A clear example of this is the BBVA Wallet app, developed by expert mobile app programmers, some of the bank’s merchant acquisition experts, people from cross-functional areas and support areas that offer backing to each team, such as the legal, marketing or infrastructure areas of BBVA Bancomer.

The products are built one part at a time, taking into account current business needs, and once their development reaches a minimum level of viability, they are tested internally with friends and relatives; this feedback helps to progressively improve the product, making the necessary adjustments in a short period of time.

The teams are made up by a combination of profiles. Besides the program manager, who is responsible for the strategy, scrum teams comprise other key stakeholders, such as the product owner, who represents the Business, acts as contact person with the team and defines the goals of the product, collaborating with the team to plan, review and offer details in each iteration (sprints).

Another key profile is the scrum master (facilitator), who leads the team in the implementation of the methodology and makes sure that all team members follow the agile values and principles, removes hurdles, shows team members to operate autonomously, protects them and isolates them from interruptions. Last but not least, the team itself: made up by experts in the different fields that the project requires and which are work autonomously, i.e. there is no supervisor or formal leader; it is the team that defines how the product is going to be built and all of them are responsible for delivering a value proposal to the customer.

In scrum, projects are executed in short and fixed time blocks (iterations lasting one calendar month or even two weeks). Each iteration has to provide a complete result, a product increment that is potentially deliverable.

A key issue is to get people to embrace these new ways of working. Logically, in its early stages, the change is met with uncertainty and reluctance. But then, some of its advantages start showing soon. Being focused on one single issue releases a lot of stress, the work atmosphere is more relaxed and creative, and a casual style ends up taking over, where ties only pop out when required due to circumstances and protocol.

To coordinate all these teams, we’ve created what we call the Digital Factory, which carries out planning exercises every three months, the so called PI (Product Increment) exercises.

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Why are these new ways of working necessary?

Currently, the ways of doing business are changing, and they are changing much faster than we believe. Based on technology, new products and business models are being developed, and any company that fails to promptly react enough risks seeing its market and business share quickly disappear. This is happening across all industries, and the financial industry is no exception.

That is why new ways of working are required, which provide the flexibility required to react quickly, achieve better turnaround times under the Agile methodology, managing to put out viable products in 3 months.

Other areas of the Bank, such as Insurance, Finance, Risks, Transformation have adopted other types of methodologies, which have been adapted to fit the needs of each one of the bank’s areas and products.

The implementation of these different agile work methodologies will continue in the coming months. New scrum teams will be assembled in other areas of BBVA Bancomer to adapt to new market needs and keep on developing products and services that bring value to the customer in this environment.

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