To achieve the full potential of what financial services can offer society, we need to unlock the full engineering power of all the great minds sitting in retail banking engineering teams, James McLeod, software engineering lead at Lloyds Banking Group tells John Bensalhia
“We’re moving so fast it’s important to look back to see just how far we’ve come.” James McLeod, software engineering lead, Lloyds Banking Group, is recalling the huge amount of technological change at Lloyds over the past year. The most noticeable of these is the change in engineering style.
“We are moving from an organisation bound by old, manual engineering processes into one where engineers are empowered to question what’s right in order to remove inefficiency and increase quality. We’re really learning the importance of releasing fast, listening to our customers and adapting our software to be the engineering-led bank of the future.”
While strides into cloud, containers, automation and engineering collaboration through GitHub Enterprise have made this all possible, James says that these really only scratch the surface. “2019 will be an awesome year for engineers at Lloyds as we accelerate further into the art of the possible,” he says.
One of the most successful recent initiatives was the Lloyds Engineering and Lloyds Design Hackathon. “Within Lloyds Engineering, we recognise intelligence isn’t a gift that’s been handed to a chosen few,” says James. “We absolutely recognise that no matter who you are and where you sit within the team, we all have great ideas, we’re all passionate about technology and we all like to learn, teach and mentor others.”
James explains that the Lloyds Engineering Hackathon was an event designed with the sole purpose of bringing everyone together to “see what happens when smart engineers and designers are given free rein to play and create new ideas using great Cloud technology.” More than 350 people attended the event with 120 hacking on the day.
“The outcome of the hackathon was phenomenal,” says James. “In total, we had 18 amazing new product ideas that were taken into proof of concept and presented on the day. We had lightning talks, demonstrations and educational sessions running throughout the entire event. Events like this are the new normal at Lloyds and show why we’re super excited right now.”
Strength in numbers
With respect to ushering in DevOps practices into banks’ software departments, James says there are no challenges – “other than educating people outside of engineering on the clear benefits of automation verses repeating manual tasks again, and again, and again.”
“In my opinion, engineers understand the benefits of automating processes as this is the general philosophy behind building any form of software application. It might be the case they don’t have experience of DevOps, but it’s an easy sell into engineering teams once the benefits are clearly articulated and realised on the ground.”