Driving Successful Project Outcomes with Dual-Track Agile
Our financial services customer needed help upgrading a user module for their business clients to manage 401(k) benefits enrollment. By running dual-track agile on the project, we improved the application development process and user experience, resulting in more enrollment completions and fewer customer service calls.
What We Did
Our financial services customer manages 401(k) enrollment for their clients.
They needed to improve the enrollment and registration experience to increase completion rates. The existing enrollment process could be done by hand or online by working through a series of tedious steps that left many users dropping out of the process before completing it. In fact, a higher percentage of people would complete the enrollment on paper than through the online process.
Our customer sought out our expertise to improve the online experience with the following goals:
- shift more users to the electronic enrollment process
- see a higher registration completion rate
- increase the number of people who were contributing to their retirement accounts
Collaborative Discovery & Roadmap
After reviewing the customer’s marketing analysis and refining the problem statement, we conducted a collaborative Discovery workshop. In the workshop, we led user experience journey mapping and persona development and then used these as guidance for the product roadmap and forecasting.
To meet the rigorous demands of the financial industry, we needed to demonstrate product updates every two weeks to two different sets of project stakeholders. We developed a sprint cadence that supported our customer’s needs with a predictable schedule to complement their busy calendars.
Our product owner, designer, and team lead met with legal, marketing, and regulatory groups to understand requirements and submit the product for approvals across those departments.
We implemented dual-track agile practices to meet the challenges of this project. By running design and development in tandem, we could incorporate and address two distinct sets of our stakeholders’ needs—planning and reviewing.
One week would feature a demo of the product in action, and the next week would be a story check-in to keep our priorities aligned with user needs. The design feeds development, which in turn informs design, all within one cohesive product team.
Tech, Testing, & Hand-Off
Following the project roadmap and forecasting in the planning phases, we developed a web-based, responsive application. We guided them through user testing, prioritizing the mobile experience knowing many clients would be enrolling on their phones.
We streamlined the process to allow for a simplified enrollment journey for most users and created a second journey to accommodate users with more complex considerations.
Users struggled to make investment decisions in the previous online enrollment process. We conducted research to help them invest responsibly for retirement and incorporated our findings into the design of the new system.
For example, we added low, middle, and high paycheck allocation options as benchmarks users could reference when deciding how much to invest. This involved coordinating with disparate groups within the customer to balance advanced Behavioral Finance concepts against regulatory compliance.
Our work resulted in customer success! We had a clear metric up front as a baseline. On a quarterly basis, we reviewed the metrics, and they improved.
Key results included:
- more users opting for the online enrollment experience instead of the manual, paper-based process
- more users successfully completing the enrollment process
- fewer users with UX issues during the application process, leading to a reduction in customer service calls
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