Commerce Bank

Modern Community Banking - Agile Team Process

From bartering to branchless banking, financial services has transformed over the centuries. In our fast-moving information-age, we expect banks to continue innovating and keep pace with the latest digital advancements. The price is high for those that don’t. According to McKinsey, institutions that fail to adopt IT as a key component of their business model stand to lose 20-60% of their profits by 2025. While some financial institutions choose to acquire or rely on partnerships with various technology vendors, Commerce Bank saw the importance and market advantage in a best in class digital experience for their valued customers. They teamed up with Carbon Five to invest in developing in-house product development expertise and innovation strategies that will keep them at the front of the next technology wave.

Design Development Product Management
Tech Stack
  • iOS
  • Android

The Challenge

Commerce Bank is a 150-year-old institution that operates as a community-centered bank with the resources of a much larger financial institution. When their outsourced mobile application was failing to meet customer expectations they resolved to create their own to keep in step with larger financial players. By bringing their application and tech talent in-house, Commerce Bank was able to quickly respond to changing customer demands by releasing new features more frequently, without relying on a third party.

The Solution

Commerce Bank sought out Carbon Five, not only to create custom software but to change the way their teams develop software products altogether. The team utilized Carbon Five’s unique agile development process, integrated lean user experience design, and expert product management coaching to improve team development processes and outcomes.

The Process

From the start, teams were immediately shifted to have design, development, and product working together to align on and iteratively improve the product each day. The integrated team enabled better communication and collaboration between product managers and designers allowing solutions to get to production faster. Product managers own both the product strategy, and the agile process on their team, and balance the needs of the business with learnings from customer testing, in collaboration with developers and designers on the cross-functional team.

New product managers were trained to set feature priority and focus the team on the most important challenges around business and user value. This allowed the team to create simpler, more effective solutions to user pain points and business needs. Focusing on the top user pain points, the team created tailored experiences for iOS and Android. By focusing on prioritization and rapid releases, the team was able to react to user feedback and improve the app quickly.

The Results

Changing from commitment based sprints to weekly iterations allowed the teams to maintain a sustainable pace and velocity over the project. The team worked from product milestones, defined at kickoff, that improved on each major component incrementally in order to push new features to beta testers faster. This increased the cycle of learning from beta testers, resulting in a product that had the best possible features, which were thoroughly user-tested before release.

With integrated, in-house teams leveraging modern methodologies and technologies, Commerce Bank can quickly respond to the needs of their business and account holders to deliver an exceptional customer experience; ensuring their team is ready to innovate for years to come.

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