Success Story

Agile Software Development Success Story

Ensuring a Successful Agile Transformation 

At a glance

When a publicly-traded leader in the insurance industry wanted to adopt Agile and continue to enhance quality, they engaged a local partner specializing in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®). Soon after, the company turned to that same partner to model the best of Agile while building a custom solution for a new business opportunity.  

With Polaris, the company achieved: 

  • SAFe training and coaching 
  • DevOps enablement with a focus on QA 
  • Modern software development 

About the Customer

Specializing in property and casualty insurance and surety bonds, this leading insurance company is headquartered in Illinois and conducts business in all 50 states. Its four insurance subsidiaries are rated A+ “Superior” by A.M. Best Company and A+ “Strong” by Standard & Poor’s. In 2020, the company was named one of Ward’s 50® Top-performing Insurance Companies for the 30th consecutive year.  

“Everyone in consulting talks about being a partner, but Polaris actually delivers on that. With our other consulting partners, I often felt like they were running the meter. Polaris is like working with a colleague-somebody who is equally invested in [your organization]'s success.”

Former AVP, Enterprise Solutions & Services

The Challenge

Since it was founded in 1965, our customer has been offering business and personal insurance solutions for underserved markets. This focus on providing innovative coverage has necessitated an ability to adapt quickly. But five years ago, leadership decided they needed to bring their software development team, along with their entire organization, up to date on Agile best practices to maintain their high-performing pace. Transforming culture at a 900-employee organization called for finding a third-party–one with a strategic approach that could make for a true partnership. 

The Results

Too many Agile efforts suffer from false starts and mysterious stall outs, but Polaris’ Agile Enablement empowered the insurance company to make lasting change. The company’s Agile process was introduced through training with Polaris, across both technical and business teams, then nurtured with coaching.  

From there, the insurance company turned to us for multiple engagements, tapping Polaris to enhance QA and again to help their team build an innovative platform that allowed them to enter a brand-new market in just 90 days. “We had a short amount of time,” said former AVP of Enterprise Solutions & Services. “It was in a fairly new technology space, but I really trusted Polaris to help us with that.” 

When the company choose to build a custom software product with us, it allowed Polaris to demonstrate the best of Agile and reinforce their teams’ training in the process.  “In every case,” said the AVP, “Polaris left us better than they found us. They didn’t simply get their projects done; they made long-lasting contributions to our technology and our culture.” Key benefits brought to the engagements include: 

  • SAFe –With 12+ years of experience and as a trusted Microsoft partner, Polaris is one of the Midwest’s premier providers of SAFe training to implement Lean/Agile at scale. 
  • Fast – We worked with the company’s dev team, modeling the speed Agile can enable, to deliver a custom solution for a brand-new business line in just 90 days. 
  • Frictionless – Polaris consultants became part of the company’s culture, aligning development, operations, and business leaders around each project’s goal.