‘All-in’ on Agile
A new Wells Fargo program helps early-career professionals stretch into in-demand, leading-edge roles, while supporting increased use of the customer-centric framework.
In the midst of a big project at work where she helped launch chat features to enhance customer service, then-Contact Center Manager Porsha Malin noticed pivotal work underway, led by her partners on a tech team. She noted they used Agile processes — a collaboration management framework that enables efficient decision-making, and quick pivots when necessary, while remaining focused on delivering value to customers. The experience gave her an idea for her next stretch goal.
“One of the reasons I came to work at Wells Fargo was for the many opportunities I saw to change and grow in my career,” she said. “Especially in this day and age, I started wondering, ‘Should I go back to school? What do I need to do to gain that competitive edge?’”
When Malin discovered the Agile Associates Program through a conversation with a recruiter, she said she was “all-in.”
The Agile Associates Program is an at-will, two-year employment opportunity that gives participants a leg-up into tech-oriented careers. It combines role-based learning, mentoring, job shadowing, on-the-job experience, and certification opportunities, within tracks for leadership positions on Agile teams, known as scrum masters and business analysts. More than 400 people applied for the program in summer 2021, and Malin is now among the 10 people selected to participate in the inaugural cohort.
“This customer-centric way of working maximizes the experience and value created for them as well as to the business. It is crucial to keeping Wells Fargo competitive,” said Ather Williams III, head of Strategy, Digital, and Innovation, or SDI, which developed the Agile Associates Program. “By offering Agile training and certification to present and prospective employees, this program also delivers value for those looking to build their careers. All these things contribute to making Wells Fargo a great place to work.”
Participants in the program are being positioned for roles that are in-demand at Wells Fargo, as Agile becomes a more widely used process for software developers as well as other business teams. With that in mind, the SDI team, working with partners in Human Resources, designed the program to expand job opportunities at Wells Fargo in a competitive tech-focused employment market. The SDI team activated Wells Fargo’s national partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as Hispanic-Serving Institutions to help extend Agile Associates Program opportunities to under-represented segments, and included outreach to veterans and the LGBTQ community.
“An average-size Agile team has eight players,” said Margarita Alvarez, of the SDI team, who helped lead development of the program as part of an Agile team dedicated to the effort. “When you have large, monolithic teams, it can be really challenging to get a point of view from every individual and routine meetings become diluted in value.
“But if you're keeping your teams small and lean, and everyone has a voice at the table … they’re expected — and depended on — to contribute. And that’s really important when you are working to optimize the customer experience holistically.”
“I’m getting the best of both worlds — training while I get experience.” — Tim Goodman, Agile Associates Program participant and Wells Fargo employee
Tim Goodman, an early-career professional like Malin, describes both the program and the Agile process as means toward “incremental success.”
“Agile is all about change and flexibility,” Goodman said. “Once user stories or tasks are given to the team, it is up to the team to self-manage.”
He notes the similarities to how he, Malin, and the others in the Agile Associates Program — many who are recent college graduates — have chosen to effectively manage their careers. He had been interested in learning Agile, but was looking for an opportunity to get the important certification the program offers without having to suspend his employment. As a participant in the Agile Associates Program, he is now on track to be a business analyst, where Malin is working to become a scrum master.
“I’m getting the best of both worlds,” said Goodman, “training while I get experience.”
All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.