In the process of building a platform for Insurance Brokers, this Insurtech realized there was an opportunity to similarly innovate in the Insurance Carrier space as well. As the Director, Process and Delivery at the company, I was tasked with helping the organization scale their existing processes, and build a comprehensive roadmap of requirements from the various stakeholders, and bring this vision to life. During my time at this company I established and implemented these processes, helped to effectively scale the development team by 200% without a decrease in realized productivity, and aided in the development of the project milestones and deliverables from MVP through to market-launch.
2019 - 2020
Scrum Master / Product Owner
Agile - Scrum
The most prominent challenge to the project was the sheer scope of work the project aimed to undertake. The initial round of requirements gathering resulted in the collection of thousands of individual requirements which the business analyst team compiled en masse into the product backlog. These requirements needed to be prioritized, and organized into a number of product roadmaps for each of the prospective modules.
As with the high volume of requirements and the extensive product backlog, this project was also faced with the challenge of having several major stakeholders both internal and external to our organization. While it is easy to manage requirements and expectations from internal stakeholder groups; the conflicting, contrasting, and-at times-contradictory requirements from external organizations meant that the development of the product roadmap and sprint backlogs required the involvement and consensus of several parties with different priorities. As an Agile Product Owner, it fell to my team and myself to organize and coordinate the priorities of these organizations, and ensure that each set of requirements was prioritized within the backlog in a way which was representative of the overall goal.
In addition to the various constraints and challenges imparted by the project stakeholder and stakeholder organizations, there was also a constraint placed on the project in the form of federal regulations which govern the potential access to information of the partners and their respective employees. To ensure compliance with these federal regulations, a complex integrated security role system needs to be developed which would control these nuanced security roles and ensure that our firm was not exposed to unnecessary liability risk.
For the project, we had identified several initial milestones. These milestones would be developed and released to beta-testers on an ongoing basis. The beta-testers had the option to convert to a full-version release at any time, and migrate their business processes to our platform. New features would be pushed to all users and become immediately available as development was completed.
- The creation of an application which will dynamically create an insurance application as well as any required or supporting documentation based on a single input file, allowing for batch creation of insurance products
- MVP - Adapting the broker CMS Module to allow carriers to manage underwriting decisions and customer policies
- MMP - Integration of a carrier claims system to allow carriers to investigate, document, and process claims submitted by agents or customers
- Establishing a system to allow reinsurance between carriers
- Building an external API, as well as an optional partner portal to allow non-partner brokers to quote, bind, and issue policies
Automation of the policy renewals process, including re-rating, review, and reissuance of policies
- Accounting balancing, reconciliation, commission issuance, and billing
- Management of user access, office codes, global modules settings, and other partner administration
- Population of data analytics, KPI’s, and reporting
- Development of a translation tool for carrier and broker data migration between BMS systems
- Devising a system to manage administration of non-customer relations including contracts, commission agreements, coverholder management and versioning
When working with stakeholder groups internal to your organization, the management of a product backlog is often a relatively straightforward task, as each group ultimately is working towards the same end goal, and thus will frequently align priorities when distilled down through the refinement process. When working with numerous external stakeholders however, as was the case with this project, not only can it be difficult to align the various priorities between each organization, but it can often result in requirements which are in direct conflict with one another. As an Agile Product Owner, it was the responsibility of my team and I to coordinate the gathering of these requirements and liaise between the external organizations to ensure that their respective priorities were represented in the product backlog, even if the decision was made to take the product in a contradictory direction. We did this by taking the time to work with each organization individually, to ensure that the requirements that they were conveying, were indicative of the underlying solution which they were pursuing. By working with each organization to understand the problem which they were trying to solve - we were able to identify unified solutions and build product roadmaps which satisfied the requirements introduced by our stakeholder groups.
Further to the deeply involved processes surrounding the development of the product roadmap and backlogs, we introduced a development process rooted on the concept of continuous delivery. By leveraging continuous deployment, we were able to push new features and functionality to our end users as they were completed. We were also better able to mitigate the risks associated with these conflicting priorities, as we were able to continuously test our solutions and solicit feedback from all of the included stakeholders and user acceptance testers. This allowed us to iterate and pivot where needed, to ensure that we implemented the best solution for our partners. By contrast, if we had maintained a structured development lifecycle (e.g., regular sprint releases), we would have hindered our ability to adapt to our changing requirements as quickly, and would have increased our exposure to the risk of developing functionality which did not deliver the value we had intended.
This project represented the largest scope of work for a project to date. It required coordination between several internal and external stakeholders, development of a suite of product roadmaps and backlogs encompassing nearly two years of planned work, and the implementation of a continuous delivery process which empowered our end users to implement our solution at their convenience as new features were delivered.