During last Friday’s IT Leadership Group meeting we had an intriguing conversation on the topic, Transforming IT – TCF’s Journey with Product, Agile and DevOps. Thank you to Tom Butterfield, Executive Vice President, CIO at TCF and his team; Brett Brunick, CTO / Digital EVP at TCF Bank, Chris Chapman, EVP, CIO Wholesale Banking and Corporate Services at TCF Bank, Craig Lindner, Senior Group Manager- IT Strategy and Innovation and Shawn Smith, EVP IT – Infrastructure & Operations at TCF Bank for leading an in-depth conversation! Also, a huge thank you to TCF Bank for hosting our large group.   

So, why the change? This is the question that sparked initial conversation. As we all know, information technology an ever-changing environment. TCF Bank not only wanted to stay in front of this ever-changing environment but also stay in front of the continuous introduction of new technology, fast-tracking digitization, and winning the war on IT talent. These are just a few things that lead to their journey from a project to a product model.   

Where do you start? That’s a great question as many organizations are overwhelmed with the daunting factor that transforming IT is a massive task. First things first, you have to set goals. It is the simplest place to start. Take a look at where you’re at now and where you want to go. Some goals to set in place may include moving at a steady pace, focusing on feedback, taking ownership of your actions, and last but not least being able to adjust your plan along with better utilization of budget. If you aren’t subject to change and lack flexibility, you’re going to run into issues.  

Funding is one of the most prominent challenges organizations face when moving from a project to a product model. Some questions may include; how do you get the necessary funding, and how do you disperse the financing amongst teams, so it’s fair? Below are some takeaways that we discussed:  

  1. Determine IT capacity, which usually happens on an annual basis. What does your budget look like for the year?  
  2. Distribute to product and platform teams base on business strategies.   
  3. Have your teams build roadmaps, surrounded on the amount of money they initially receive. The funding is there; it’s essential to find a way to work with what you have.   

All in all, TCF has noticed many changes since the start of their journey some of those changes including; a change in methodology, adding talent to their team, increasing automation, improved stability and full stack accountability. As they have seen the positive impact this transition has had on their organization their next hurdle, they find themselves at is: how much can we get done?  

What are the biggest challenges you have faced with transforming from a project to a product model?