Silicon Valley meets Jamaica: NCB recruits for Jamaica’s first Agile Lab

National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited (NCB) is recruiting rockstars … techie rockstars.

There are no stages, strobe lights, loud thumping music or smashing of guitars; but the team at NCB’s Agile Lab believes its space is just as cool. “New, eye-opening, different, fun, fast-paced, new technologies, teamwork”, are a few of the words describing the experience of working in the lab. Though they could possibly work from home, sharing the same space accelerates development while allowing for the exchange of knowledge and information. “We also like having snacks around the clock,” one employee joked as he crunched his cereal.

The vibrantly-coloured room houses a smartboard, cosy Think corner, abstract designs along with numerous boards and flip charts decorated by post-its and process flow diagrams. The mood is relaxed, as the dress code, the team affable, but the busy keystrokes, bobbing earphone-plugged heads and muted discussions say there is much happening. Gliding across the lab on ergonomic chairs, seated low on bean bags or straight-backed at a laptop, the forerunners are two weeks away from their first roll-out. Notwithstanding the seemingly relaxed atmosphere, the self-empowered teams have clear objectives and are accountable to deliver against high expectations. It’s Silicon Valley meets Jamaica and NCB has clearly signalled that this is just the beginning.

“This is a pivotal point in NCB’s history. We are about to embark on a critical journey and I want you to engage it with great enthusiasm. We have been doing things in a particular way with a particular rhythm with a particular set of principles which may have served us well in another time. But the truth is, if we want to excel, if we want to get to the point where we can achieve and sustain greatness, then we have to change,” Patrick Hylton, NCB President & CEO said at the launch event.

Opened on April 3, the state-of-the-art agile lab located at 29 Trafalgar Road is a first for Jamaica, and the only one of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean. Employing this methodology puts the financial services organisation among international giants like Spotify, Google, and Amazon whose operating models are built with agile at the core.

Simply, Agile is the ability to move quickly and easily. First adopted by the software industry, agile involved leveraging dedicated cross-functional teams to significantly reduce time to market software releases. more broadly defines the approach as relating to “a method of project management characterised by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans.” This approach is being used by many organisations to accelerate transformation. It is also expected to shorten NCB’s product development cycle from three years to less than six months.

Agile is a key component of NCB’s 2020 Strategy coined NCB 2.0 Faster. Simpler. Stronger. Raising the B.A.R. in financial services. The “B” in the acronym stands for Building world class digital capabilities. NCB’s Chief Digital and Marketing Officer Nadeen Matthews advised that: “The objective of this pillar of the strategy is to make our customers’ experiences faster, simpler, safer, and more delightful, while ensuring we have an organization that can withstand the digital disruption experienced by other industries. We have the benefit of seeing what happened to companies like Blockbuster who failed to respond to market shifts until it was too late. We are proactively transforming our business model to meet the evolving needs and wants of our customers.”

Hylton added: “This initiative has the power to completely redefine the customer journey and the customer experience. Ultimately agile is going to become not just a discreet operation. Our intention in the not too distant future is to have what we refer to as agile at scale, where we have the adoption of many of the principles of agile as the normal way of working within our organisation.”

With its agile and digital journey led by the mantra: ‘Rock the World’, the institution has created a unit to do just that. From programmers, to solution architects, data scientists, user interface designers, user experience designers, digital marketers, scrum masters, agile coach, and product owners. NCB is seeking talented individuals in fields not traditional to banking, to pioneer the transformation of the financial services industry much in the same way that Uber transformed the taxi cab industry. Interested candidates locally, from the Jamaican Diaspora, and the Caribbean are invited to explore available opportunities and submit an application by visiting

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