Prospectus Changes: Is Agile better than Waterfall?

A hefty chunk of the work done by Retail Product Teams in Asset Managers is the ongoing cycle of Prospectus updates. The juggling of changing regulation, updates to corporate structures and personnel, and clarifications on wording all combine with the evolution (and occasional revolution) of the Product range. Although the update process is a regular routine, each wording change is a project, so it’s important to have a coherent project methodology.

The review and approval stages of a prospectus update could lend itself to the gating structure of a Waterfall approach. The life cycle of the Prospectus update can be likened to project stages through drafting, internal reviews, regulatory approval, and publishing. But carried within each stage are numerous smaller updates, all at different stages as each gate arrives. Timing them all to complete at the same time inevitably causes delays as the whole document proceeds at the pace of the slowest item but ensures that the Prospectus is not finalised without all desired items being included.

Looking at the process with an Agile mindset enables specific items for update to be at the forefront rather than the prospectus as a whole. Breaking each item into manageable segments of work (measured in story points) that can fit into a timebox is a cleaner way to manage multiple parallel initiatives, all swimming across a Kanban Board from Idea, through Drafting and Discussion, to Approval, and Publication. Effective grooming of the backlog and realistic timeboxing enables the timing of Prospectus updates to be fixed rather than waiting for the very last item to be agreed. This enables quick throughput of simple items and allows effective and progress and control of more complex items through focussing on a manageable amount of work at any one time. This may work better for continuous cycles of prospectus updates.

At ISC we have seen aspects of both approaches in action. The reality of trying to balance the temptation of squeezing more items in at the last minute versus keeping a good throughput of regular updates will always be a challenge. We can help you implement the optimal approach for your business, supported by the right suite of tools and procedures to get there.

Please get in touch with @Michael Hilton should you wish to discuss how ISC Ltd can help you


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