Penrod Blog

Nichols For Your Thoughts Part 1: Agile Process

Justin Nichols, Penrod’s Vice President of Product and Practice, believes that success is driven by process. He enjoys preserving our competitive advantage and continuously evolving our process in order to keep up with technology innovations and economic shifts.

Process is the key to consistency and reliability within an organization. Process enables an organization’s competitive advantage, helps drive growth, profitability and increases efficiency. A perfect process does not exist; processes are fluid and need to evolve with changing environmental variables. How leaders create and adapt their processes, will often make the difference between stagnation and value creation.

To successfully iterate and improve process it is important to have a strategic process methodology, audit current business process and identify where new processes should be put in place or removed. Choosing which process to tackle first can be tricky. An effective way to select which processes to improve can be accomplished by ranking processes by business value, then sizing them to see where the largest “effort to value” improvements can be made.

Using the agile t-shirt sizing methodology can help identify where value can be quickly realized. T-shirt sizing gives teams a way to easily gauge the relative size of a project. By assigning a size (S, M, L, XL) to each project, then using the Fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8) to assign values, leaders can quickly identify where the most value will be realized.



ABC Bank has 3 processes it’s looking to implement or improve. Business value will be ranked 0-100.

  1. Automate loan document creation
  2. Improve Marketing automation processes
  3. Enable new ways to provide customer service through a self-service portal



Based on the effort to value scores, ABC Bank should first improve the Loan Automation process by automating it. Now that ABC Bank has chosen to move its process from manual loan document creation to an automated process, they need to ask themselves the following questions:

  • How does the current process work?
  • What will the new process accomplish?
  • How do we foresee the new process working?
  • What are the success metrics for the new process?
  • How will this new process affect our employees and customers?
  • Who should be involved in the process creation?
  • What tools do we need to automate?
  • Which internal and external systems will this interact with?
  • What resources do we need to achieve our goals?
  • Are there any roadblocks to accomplishing our goals?
  • How often should we revisit/refine this process to ensure it’s meeting our organization’s needs?

Answering these questions will help build out the process map and outline the processes key success metrics. The process map should define what the process accomplishes, who is responsible, what tools will be used, what outputs are expected and how the success of the business process can be determined. The purpose of mapping is to help organizations outline their process workflow and become more efficient.

Scheduling the process to be reviewed on a regular basis will help ensure that ABC Bank is actualizing value, keeping up with technological advancements and iteratively improving the process. Analyzing successes, failures and new environmental variables are the most important steps to successfully improving process framework.

Process creation and improvement is not always easy and can be mundane at times. However, where it lacks in flash it makes up in importance. It can be the single driver to improve efficiency, create value and edge out the competition.


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