A Peer-Submitted Best Practice

Tiger Teams

IT organizations are continuing to look for ways to solve critical issues that are impacting the businesses they support, while driving greater efficiencies and cost-effective practices, all with leaner teams. For Lincoln Financial Group, we have found that utilizing “Tiger Teams” as a best practice to address business opportunities enables more holistic and timely solutions.  

The Tiger Team approach enlists a five-to-seven-person cross-functional team of experts with representation from subject matter experts in the impacted business area as well as individuals from IT, digital, and continuous improvement. 

Deployed for an expedited (four to six weeks) engagement that includes assessment, analysis, triage, and solution design, these teams develop process and automation solutions that can be quickly implemented within a targeted portion of the organization. 

This approach represents the power that can be harnessed by creating small teams with expertise across diverse areas that allows them to consider a problem from multiple perspectives, ultimately devising the optimal solution. 

Tiger Teams work best for opportunities that have a high business impact, require significant rework, and/or are high-volume but low complexity. Lincoln’s Tiger Teams focus primarily on process and automation enhancements, resulting in the ability to fully implement solutions in less than six months, with many generating value in fewer than three months.

Through the adoption and utilization of Tiger Teams, we successfully identified the most cost-effective solution to address each opportunity and eliminated throwaway work. Our costs-per-process automation decreased significantly, and this work has been instrumental in capturing annual run-rate savings. 

If you are considering leveraging a similar approach, here are some best practices:

  • Gain leadership support. Solicit sponsorship from senior leaders within the impacted business unit and communicate with them throughout the process. This will facilitate timely adoption of the solutions.
  • Clearly define the scope. Focus on a portion of the organization that is large enough to generate value with clear guardrails on where the team’s charter extends.
  • Empower the team. Give the team a clear objective and allow them to organize around its strengths.
  • Be open to new solutions. Often the solutions identified were very different than what we originally contemplated. However, these enhancements proved to be the most impactful.

Creating and deploying Tiger Teams provides IT organizations with a best practice that can fit seamlessly into their strategy to drive significant business value.  

About the Author

Martin is a vice president and head of enterprise continuous improvement at Lincoln Financial Group in Radnor, Pennsylvania. He is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and holds a master’s degree from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Photo of Martin Koritko

By Martin Koritko

Vice President, Head of Enterprise Continuous Improvement at Lincoln Financial Group

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