Barclays Agile Awards 2016

We are excited and proud to announce that a project started with Underscore partners and associates has won the highest accolade in the Barclays Agility Conference: Barclays UK Team of the Year and the Overall Winner category. We’ll describe the project, changes we introduced, and technologies used.

Starting out

Two years ago, a small team of four Underscore partners and associates joined the Barclays Wealth Management onboarding team in Canary Wharf, London.

We were invited to join the existing team based on our reputation for delivering software in difficult circumstances. In this case, a two year old waterfall project had struggled to deliver a new onboarding system for International Banking and so the business was looking for a fresh start.

Delivering and growing

Five months later we celebrated the first delivery of a system enabling relationship managers to onboard new clients in days where previously it would take weeks or months.

In the subsequent eighteen months the team of four grew to over twenty Scala developers working in International Banking, Business Banking, Private Banking, and Corporate Banking, and are replacing another two internal waterfall projects.

Metrics

In December 2016, the bank recognised the success of these teams and awarded us the highest accolade in the Barclays Agility Conference: Barclays UK Team of the Year and the Overall Winner category.

The team competed against 57 nominated teams out of 2,500 change projects across Barclays.

Some metrics that helped us win are:

  • a 350% increase in business account onboarding
  • +66 Net Promoter Score (really good)
  • £25mn waterfall investment replaced with £3mn
  • 24 times efficiency improvement

We will be building on this success and will continue to improve the onboarding process for Barclays.

Technology choices

Technically the team use the following technologies:

  • Scala 2.11 and 2.12
  • cats
  • shapeless
  • scalaz
  • argonaut
  • http4s
  • Liftweb
  • Jetty and JBoss
  • Linux servers

We develop on Macs and Linux, use git and Teamcity, and develop with a range of IDEs from IntelliJ to Emacs to Vim.

Agile

Our process is authentically agile, by which I mean it isn’t a prescriptive Scrum, XP, or other commercial brand of Agile. Each team has evolved its process to enable it to reliably produce valuable software each iteration.

Conclusions

A successful technology project requires the convergence of good tools, good people, and a good environment. We were able to achieve all three at Barclays resulting in the delivery of an outstanding success.


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