On Wednesday 14th November, Dock9 hosted an Agile Insurance event at Brand Exchange, London. We were joined by Agile evangelist Craig Lace from Lloyd’s and Paul Fitzpatrick, Head of Digital Performance at Assurant Solutions, Europe.
Recent years have seen a rapid change in the insurance sector. A wave of startups has started to challenge incumbent insurers and brokers, who need to adapt their ways of working to compete and keep their dominant positions.
Agile is a methodology that has shown great results in the insurance sector, allowing faster turnaround of projects and improved performance of products.
Should incumbent insurers be doing the same? And if so, how?
Dock9's Managing Director Mark Lusted kicked off the night by giving a brief introduction to the topics to be discussed and why we felt it necessary to dedicate a night to helping insurers understand the difference between Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, Kanban etc and the gains that can be made from changing their working methods.
Certified Scrum Master and Product Owner Craig Lace, currently working with Lloyd’s, then spoke about the basic concepts and values of Agile. Such as:
- Individuals and interactions over process and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Paul Fitzpatrick, Head of Digital Performance at Protect Your Bubble by Assurant, focussed on revealing how they’re implementing the different “flavours” of Agile into their many different digital teams. He also mentioned that although it can be very useful, Agile is not always the best approach for every project. They have a very well-defined process to identify that, including deciding initial metrics and a baseline of the current performance so they can compare paths with actual data.
Finally, I illustrated how the theory looks like in practice from the point of view of a User Experience Designer. Moving to Agile can be overwhelming for the team as well, without the right mentality. Designers need to design and deliver without knowing the full picture and adapt the designs as we learn more about the requirements, user behaviour and other limitations. Developers unaccustomed to the practice may feel frustrated having to rebuild the same feature. But with good planning and communication (ceremonies), the usual frustrations can be easily avoided.
The event ended with a lively Q&A where more challenges were discussed such as how to deal with legacy systems in this context.
As always, there were also some interesting chats over drinks afterwards and it was excellent to have such great attendance - and great attendees! A big thank you to all of you who came and if you would like to be at the next event then let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.