We had to roll out video conferencing worldwide for our employees in the span of a weekend, which is not for the faint of heart. If you think about the 200,000 employees we have, we’ve been able to roll this out at that pace, which speaks not only to the technical powers we have in general in the company, but also how flexible we are when things like this happen. . It was all because we wanted to make sure our people could provide the best possible service to our customers. Remember, we have people who work in our call centers, and they were influenced, and we have people who work in branches, and they are influenced, etc.
One of the things that was really clear when the pandemic broke out was how quickly our teams were able to implement new software. Many talk about being able to build quickly and being agile. There’s the Paycheck Protection Program, and this was the ability to offer small businesses that didn’t have that much traffic, etc., loans through the government. We had about a week to put this in place, and we were able to get that portal up and running in about a week. We had it fully automated in a matter of two weeks and we were able to provide more funding than any other lender in both 2020 and 2021, which was just incredible. The fact that we were able to build that because of the technology we’ve invested in over the years, to build that quickly and scale it up to such a large volume for our customers was tremendous.
But we were also able to make some fundamental changes in mobile. We have been able to improve things that may seem simple. We have a product in our mobile application called QuickDeposit, and this is where you can deposit a check. But as many know, checks are sometimes large numbers. Traditionally, we asked people to enter branches to help prevent fraud. Thanks to the technology we have, we were able to increase limits in a way that ensured that we could properly manage fraud and customers who previously had to come to a branch or ATM could make deposits electronically. Those are the kinds of things that we’ve seen change, but the pace that we’ve moved isn’t just limited to the Chase part of the business, but we saw this all over JP Morgan.
There is one piece that I think is important on this Laurel. I was in a meeting and here I am a new person in the organization working on the Paycheck Protection Program. I remember there was someone on Zoom. We had a conversation and I assumed because I was new and they were in the meeting that they were on my team, and the person said, “Oh no, I’m not on your team, but I know you’re new and you needed help. And so I’m here to help, and I thought I’d navigate.” And that has stayed with me about the culture of this organization and how we focus on the customer both externally and internally, to really make sure we provide the best possible service.
laurel: That certainly requires an agile mindset. So, how does JPMorgan Chase transform into an agile organization? You have given a few examples. Obviously, you couldn’t have reacted so quickly to the US government’s Payroll Protection Act if you hadn’t already worked on some of these opportunities and opportunities to become more agile. So, what lessons have you learned along the way and how have your teams and clients benefited from this shift?
Gill: Oh yeah. An agile transformation is very difficult to do. A lot of people make agile transformations, so it sounds like it should be easy. You have your scrums, and you have your various ceremonies and retrospectives, and you use a tool to manage your backlog and you are gold. One of the big challenges we faced as a company in JPMorgan was that we were more organized around our software and platforms than around our customer and the experiences back. That made it really frustrating for teams because it meant you probably needed 10, maybe 12 different organizations to agree on building something. It was not clear who owned it. The architectures were sometimes a bit more vulnerable because you were working with multiple teams. If you want to switch quickly or innovate, then that is not a model in which you can really operate. You can force it, but it takes a lot more meetings. It is difficult to know who the decision makers are. You can slow down and sometimes an application or solution seems like many teams built it. There’s Conway’s Law, and you’ve probably mentioned it in other podcasts before, but Dr. Conway said your software will reflect how you are organized. That’s really what we saw. So, instead of just trying to find a way to navigate around it, we as an organization said, “We’re going to be really agile, and we’re going to accept Conway’s law, and we’re going to organize around our products back. ”
In the community and consumer bank, we’ve organized about 100 products, so we have a thousand teams aligned around these products. For example, a product is something like opening an account. So I want to open an account on mobile or web. There is one product for this. There is one product leader, one design leader, one data leader, and one technology leader who are responsible for that product. Now we know who can manage the backlog. Now we know who can make any architectural decisions. Now we understand who is responsible for making sure we have innovation and we understand customer needs. That has allowed us to move quickly because if I have to move, I can work with the account opening team, they can make the decisions, they can manage a backlog and they can adapt when we have business such as the Salary Protection Program or other types of efforts out there. But it also gives more purpose to the individual teams because they determine their destiny, they have more autonomy and they work together between technology and product design and data so that we can build the right solutions we need. This ensures a great experience for the people in the organization.
By the way, all of JPMC is moving to work this way. This not only allows us to switch faster, it also gives our employees a better work-life balance and less frustration, because it is easier to know where you are. You have that purpose and you accept that you are part of a certain team. I said we can respond more quickly when there’s a challenge, but it’s not just those challenges like PPP or a pandemic that we need to address, Laurel. There are places where our customers’ needs change every day. And organizing around products in this way allows us to understand our customers’ data, and we can experiment, and we can adapt in a really flexible way to what our customers really need, versus what we think they need. and building something that doesn’t really resonate with them. It allows us to work in a truly agile way, which we couldn’t do before and it’s incredible to be able to make such a change on such a scale.