Building a Digital Bank – The Lessons I Learned Part 5

The mission was to launch a new bank in one year.

And that mission was completed successfully.

This is the last in my series of blog posts on the lessons learned from my experience in a challenging project to launch a digital bank in Australia (from London) within a year. The rest of the series are available here;

Lesson One: Success is a Mindset

Lesson Two: The Extra Mile

Lesson Three: First Time Right

Lesson Four: The Seven Ps

Lesson Five: From Struggle Comes Success

When MVP 1 was delivered the work did not stop there, we had MVP 2 and MVP 3 to start planning and look to implement as well and more importantly at that stage get signed off by the exec team in Australia, so I jumped on a plane and spent a week in Sydney with them working through the successes and lessons learnt from MVP 1 to make MVP 2 and 3 even more effective.

Due to some issues outside of our control full launch was delayed a few months so first there was a soft launch to friends and family which proved to be highly effective, when the Neobank finally launched we had already started with MVP 2 and were 3 months in at that stage with further development rollout looking to the future and where they wanted to tech to take them.

It is fair to say that the results of COVID-19 across the globe at this point did slow all projects down which was unfortunate but expected at that point. The major project that was planned was delayed as the bank wanted to move into lending. This required additions to their current banking license as well as investment funds.

Thankfully since the world is starting to recover from the realities and effects of COVID-19 so is business and fund investments. Along with this, due to the fact the technology that has been created is so effective, they are now being courted by household financial services names who want to get their hands on the tech used as a white-label service, a true testament to what was produced installed and launched all within a 12-month period.

Lessons Learned

Giving deadlines is important especially when working with 3rd party providers. Only give firm, deliverable dates when you are sure you can deliver.

Sometimes no matter how successful you become, mother nature turns round and reminds you how the world should be. From struggle comes success with a lot of determination and a little luck.

Taking The Lessons Forward

This was a very challenging project. One that has shaped my career, my knowledge and my approach. If it is possible to launch a digital bank in a year (and I know that it is), then what is achievable in a quarter?

From a technology perspective, in the banking and finance space, a lot is achievable in 90 days. (A view shared in the Capital Markets industry, click here). But very often, in reality, IT projects linger for years and years with very little discernible benefit. This is what drove the evolution of The 90 Day Accelerators; We all know of the merits of Agile methodology and what I and the team implemented was nothing new in that respect, but with compartmentalisation and every team member is given the responsibility to deliver on specific areas of the project this allowed us to provide “first time right, exact fit” solution for MVP-1 within the 90 day period, the benefits of this of somewhat self-explanatory but when people hear that we built core banking infrastructure that with other core technology allowed them to have an approved solution and subsequent limited banking license approval and start trading within a year well that turns heads, and questions… The main one being HOW?! Well, if this type of delivery approach is of interest then my response is simple, ask me and I will talk you through it.

Click here to read part 4 ‘The Seven Ps’

Click here to read more of Nick’s blog posts


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