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Do methodologies really work for insurance projects? »

Methodologies have always been the main guiding means by which insurance systems are designed and implemented. But is a strong methodology alone enough to give a transformation project every chance?

It might be argued that in some industries, documented methodology structure alone is enough to keep a project on the straight and narrow, but industries with a large cast of actors need significantly more attention to detail in the requirement gathering phase to ensure critical impacts are not left unnoticed.

There can be no doubt that within the multi-faceted world of both life and general insurance, the cast of roles can often run into hundreds. From customers to brokers, contact centres to claim handlers, financial accounting to data analysts, IT support staff to mail houses, underwriters to customer retention teams, the number and complexity of processes and relationships that make up a typical insurance company can feel nigh on impossible to keep on top of. Without tight requirements, scope-creep and change requests, the very real enemies of project delivery, are only a budget breaking discussion away.

Some methodologies such as Agile & Scrum, accept that change is inevitable and use strategies to anticipate their consequences. They attempt to mitigate risk by delivering working software frequently through a reliance on face-to-face communication, closely working with customers, and keeping designs simple. Such methodologies work best when customers have dedicated project resource and the size of the team is small. However, even then, more value is placed on the planning process than on documentation. In many cases analysts never complete requirements documentation and changes are made on verbal agreements.

More standard SDLC’s such as waterfall have less adaptability to change. They require robust requirement gathering workshops and are often based upon isolated departmental views. Although documentation is more thorough, the experience can be draining on clients as they interview, review, change & have little manoeuvre for unforseen issues.

That is not to say that such methodologies are of no use to insurance projects. What they require is solid practice and technique’s tailored to the specific industry they are being deployed for.
The practice methodology needs to check many boxes to truly be the definable difference between a success and failure. It should:
• Be adaptable to any type of project execution methodology, be it the Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, XP, Crystal, Lean Development, ADS or company specific project execution frameworks.
• Deploy an error free mechanism to ensure no business unit impact is left undiscovered
• Supply traceable requirements that can be identified through all phases of the project
• Define clear business ownership
• Reduce and make optimum use of business time
• Provide the business an insight to the effects of their requirements on other departments
• Nurture an democratic solution choice based on project criteria
• Provide a sustainable picture of processes to be used for future projects

All this requires an in depth knowledge of the typical insurance business teams and practices. It must have insurance specific requirement gathering tools that are simple for the business team to use and understand. And it requires a simple, step by step, repeatable process so that the quality of the requirements never falters.

The team at 3CA have developed a set of practices and techniques designed to do all of the above. It’s simply called 3CAP. Every 3CA consultant is trained in it and what is even better is they are willing to share it with you. Whether you’ve engaged 3CA to deliver your whole project, just the requirements, or need one or two additional experts to supplement your existing team, they will share the practice with you. So yes, methodologies really can work for insurance projects, providing you’ve got the know-how, and that’s exactly what you get with 3CAP.

Make sure you keep an eye out for our next insight, which will be an irreverent look into the world of insurance claims and why you have a better chance of injuring yourself putting on your pants, than you do bungee jumping!

 
 
 
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