Client Story

PGIM Fixed Income

Unleashing innovation by creating organizational agility

Institutional asset managers manage the investments of companies, mutual funds, governments, and pension funds. However, like other financial institutions, these organizations often grapple with the balance between new technology, vendor systems and legacy applications that may hinder their ability to respond to market and regulatory trends. We worked with PGIM Fixed Income, a business unit of PGIM, the global asset management business of Prudential Financial, Inc., to enable their teams to adopt more agile ways of working to support business growth in today’s complex, volatile marketplace.

Key successes

  • Built an innovative agile operating model in six weeks
  • Implemented agile processes rapidly to drive innovation across the technology team and wider organization
  • Enhanced the technology team’s ability to deliver business value more consistently and with predictability
  • Enabled the technology team’s shift to remote working and ability to continue to deliver against their objectives without pause

Evolving with market and regulatory changes

Fixed income asset managers like PGIM Fixed Income are focused on delivering investment returns and servicing their clients. To help accomplish this goal consistently and sustainably they must increase agility to respond to economic and industry trends. These developments range from marketplace volatility to the rise of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, increasing regulatory change, and industry competition.

Transforming technology delivery

When Phillip Dundas joined PGIM Fixed Income as CTO, he realized the technology team had opportunities for increased operational efficiencies. Unpredictable lead times until new technology was delivered were further constrained by a highly committed, yet understaffed team. As a result, their solutions didn’t always quite meet business needs. Dundas turned to us for help with creating organizational agility that would align the technology team and wider business around ensuring continuous value delivery.

PA enabled us to rapidly develop a new operating model and transform our culture and delivery model at a time when we were still staffing up our technology team. To flip to a more agile delivery literally overnight has been transformational”
CTO PGIM Fixed Income

Creating an agile operating model at speed

Our diverse team provided agile, financial services, operating model and transformation expertise. We began by conducting stakeholder interviews to understand the current versus desired target state. To have a clear view of the current state, our agile experts performed an agile maturity assessment which scored the team and identified specific areas for improvement. We then planned agile change management and communications and rapidly designed a new operating model, working iteratively.

To equip teams, we conducted agile coaching and training, provided scrum masters, assessed DevOps maturity, conducted people management training and developed an internal change network. We also transformed backlog prioritization and optimized the issue work management system to create greater clarity around decision making and the development process. Together, we created a new operating model in six weeks and built PGIM Fixed Income's agile culture over a period of nine months.

During this time, we supported the recruitment of many new roles to bolster the team’s transformation and substantial growth: defining new skills needed and backfilling roles until new talent was hired. We transitioned 12 teams to agile ways of working, then enabled teams to maintain their culture and processes when they moved to remote work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To streamline this transition, we moved quarterly planning entirely virtual: creating sprint planning boards, risk boards and the cycle board in a digital tool and trained users on how to use it. As a result, 150 stakeholders from across technology and the business were able to review the solutions planned for delivery over the coming quarter. This first-of-its-kind transparency helps strengthen the ongoing partnership between the business and technology, while increasing the pace of innovation.

PA have been a critical partner for us in our agile transformation as we accelerate the delivery of value to the business. In particular, they have been invaluable in helping our rapid transition to remote working in the face of COVID-19, coaching and supporting our agile teams virtually and running our first entirely remote quarterly planning exercise for over 150 team members and stakeholders. As a result, we have been able to continue delivering against our objectives without pause”
CTO PGIM Fixed Income

Key metrics:

  • Six weeks: time to train all teams on agile ways of working
  • 36 per cent: measured increase in agile maturity five months after project start
  • Nine months: time to create a fully embedded agile culture that stands on its own

With a new agile culture, business and technology teams at PGIM Fixed Income are asking questions and prioritizing initiatives to drive value. Morale is better too, as the tech team is less focused on operational problem solving, and more engaged with driving innovation and delivering results. Teams enjoy one sprint every quarter to work on their own initiatives, awakening greater creativity and self-improvement. PGIM Fixed Income's clients benefit by working with an organization that’s matching pace with market changes, while protecting the investments that open up new possibilities.

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