ProSight Specialty Insurance is an innovative property and casualty insurance company that designs solutions to help customers solve their business problems. Each solution is targeted to enhance customers’ operating performance. ProSight focuses on select niche industries, deploying differentiated underwriting and claims expertise, and then works exclusively with specialized distributors to deliver value. ProSight is fueled by a cultural desire to succeed at uncommon challenges, making the business performance of its customers a top priority.
ProSight is a mid-sized insurance company ($900M in Revenue) that’s gaining major traction against the large established competition in the P&C insurance industry. ProSight was featured on the 2014 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private American companies. They attribute this growth to their relentless focus on delivering exceptional customer value, including digital experiences.
In the past, ProSight had focused on time to market for their digital products, making use of outside vendors for software engineering and delivery. In 2017, ProSight started building out internal teams for design, UX, and engineering as they sought to build an industry leading core competency in Digital. They turned to SuperOrbital to help them establish and optimize agile development and product management processes for the new team.
The time was right for ProSight to bring our products in-house, but my team needed direction on how to hire and run an agile engineering team. SuperOrbital was just what we needed. Tammer struck the right balance between outlining the philosophies and getting into the important details. He didn't preach, and ensured every single member of my team got a chance to have their questions and concerns answered.
Each organization is unique and has their own needs and constraints. To understand how the agile process can work in a company, it’s important to spend time really understanding each part of the value chain. That’s why we began this workshop with a series of cup-of-coffee conversations with both leaders and people on the ground in every part of the organization from Product to Engineering, UX to Operations, QA to Security.
One of the key insights from these conversations is that insurance is a highly regulated business with strict oversight. Each new product is required to be filed in all fifty states -- a process that can take many months. This is compounded by government-mandated software updates with strict timelines. This is a big challenge, but we were able to provide insight derived from our experience applying the agile practices to shipping shrink-wrapped software in a very similar environment.
After talking with the various teams, it was clear that what ProSight needed most was expertise in building and running an agile engineering organization that can iterate quickly to deliver customer value in the face of strict governmental oversight. We worked with their product and engineering teams to explain the agile process in depth -- not only the theoretical underpinnings, but also the nitty gritty subtleties and challenges that only come up in practice.
We don’t believe people learn from listening to someone lecture from a podium. We quickly covered the basics of agile development, and came prepared with a loose outline of topics that we thought we could dive deeper into. But it was important to let them direct the conversation toward topics that filled in the most important gaps.
We knew we had to move to an agile process so we could iterate quickly, benefit from the fast feedback loop, and respond to customer needs rapidly – all without sacrificing quality. We have many new members with different perspectives, and Tammer played a central role in bringing them together by facilitating discussions that gave everyone an opportunity to share their ideas.
There’s nothing worse than Agile in a vacuum. Throughout our workshop together, we focused on the real-world applicability of the agile practices in the context of their immediate needs: their upcoming project hand off and their need to ramp up engineering hiring.
We've had plenty of experience in transitioning projects between teams and were able to provide examples of what’s worked and what hasn't. We've also given practicum based interviews to upwards of 400 engineers, with a focus on finding people who excel in a pair-programming environments.
We never leave an engagement empty handed, even when it’s a workshop like this. So, to close it out, we presented the team with a report of where they’re succeeding, where their future challenges might lay, and suggestions on how they can address them.
By drawing from Tammer’s vast experience, we were able to better understand exactly what type of agile process was right for us. The discussions and debates were engrossing, constructive and fun.
We're here to help make sure your next project gets off to the right start.
We embed within your team through exploration and implementation. We help identify architectural pitfalls and guide your engineers around them. As experts in operations and development, we don’t just talk and walk – we grab a shovel and pitch in.
With over a decade of experience running engineering teams of three to three hundred, we also help discover ways yours can be more efficient, effective, and nimble.