Agile and H&R Block – A Braintrust Success Story

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H&R Block logo

Imagine the world’s largest tax preparation firm. Combine that with the complicated United States tax code. Add in a corporate culture that has been in place since 1955. Doesn’t sound like the kind of environment where Agile might take root, does it? That was the challenge for Braintrust Consulting Group.

In 2011, H&R Block signed Braintrust Consulting Group to a long-term coaching engagement. The goal was to bring Agile and Scrum methodologies to H&R Block. The pilot project for this effort was the implementation of the Block Live product. This product combines the online and in-person tax filing experience to create a live, in-home consultative approach to tax preparation.

Ultimately the project was a huge success. It was rolled out in time for the 2012 tax season and Agile has become a mainstay in H&R Block’s project space.

In the testimonial video, several key figures within H&R Block discuss the engagement. The following highlights a few of the benefits that H&R Block realized.

Braintrust was a change agent. Many consulting firms come in and drop their solution, leaving implementation to the customer. Braintrust was there every step of the way. Braintrust began with interviews and observation, formulated a plan that was right for H&R Block, trained the team on the solution, and coached the team through their adoption and implementation. Being present and involved meant that Braintrust had a significant positive impact on the environment.

Agile scrum board at H&R Block
Agile scrum board at H&R Block

Constructive feedback was provided to the team. Observing and coaching allowed Braintrust to provide immediate, usable feedback to the team. In many cases, that feedback shaped the next day’s activities. This adoption of Agile itself was done in an Agile manner.

Agile was adapted to fit what H&R Block does. Instead of dropping a predefined methodology onto H&R Block, Braintrust customized the framework to fit H&R Block’s needs. By listening to the client’s needs and observing their pain points, Braintrust made Agile fit H&R Block.

agile work environment
The team’s work space at H&R Block

Braintrust recommended a different type of work environment. In last week’s post we talked about creating an effective work environment for the team. Braintrust did just that. The team was moved into an open, collaborative work space. This allowed the coaching process to flourish. The team not only learned from Braintrust but learned from one another as well.
 
 
If a 67 year-old company can implement and benefit from Agile, why can’t yours? To find out more about the Agile work environment, contact us here at Braintrust. Click on the Contact page to hear from one of our product specialists. Or, head over to the Services tab to find out more about our offerings.