March 2016

Are You Agile?

Jenna FarissBy Jenna Fariss

Former Technology Section Chair Albert Moore is moderating and presenting a panel discussion, Session 59—“The Need for Agile Actuaries: Introduction to Agile Project Management” at the Life & Annuity Symposium in Nashville. The session will be Tuesday, May 17, from 10:00  a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Our other experts on the panel include Kelly Rabin and Steve Stockman.

Agile Project Management is an iterative development approach that is popular in software development but is increasingly being applied to project management and process improvements outside of the software and systems arena. This session will provide an overview of the Agile methodologies and suggest ways in which actuaries can apply these methods to significantly improve workflow, process and project management.

In the software world, there are two basic camps of project management: waterfall and agile. The session will present the benefits of adopting an Agile approach to project management. As actuaries are challenged to continuously improve processes and functions, there are many lessons actuaries can learn from this traditional software development discussion.

Many organizations are using Agile approaches to transform pricing, financial reporting and other actuarial functions. The focus on continuous process improvement and change lends itself to the iterative nature of the Agile methodologies. Waterfall is a more traditional approach involving delivery milestones and formal accountability at each milestone. Panelists will describe how their organizations have successfully introduced this approach, discuss some of the challenges and potential missteps and explore why agile actuaries can have a transformative impact in their roles.

At the conclusion of the session, attendees will be able to use strategies of Agile Project Management to incorporate and recommend improvement in their actuarial projects and functions. This session is worth 1.50 CPD credits and the primary competency Strategic Insight & Integration. All experience levels welcome. Please join!

Jenna Fariss, ASA, MAAA, is a consulting actuary with Actuarial Management Resources. She can be reached at