Sr. Director, Project Operations, Digital Delivery Office
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Freedom Mortgage is one of the nation’s largest loan originators and servicers, providing mortgage loans through retail, wholesale, and correspondent channels.
Today's borrowers have heightened expectations when applying for and managing loans. In response to changing borrower expectations, Freedom Mortgage changed its business model and focus to be more product oriented which included technology as a key component of their product offering.
Describe your Responsibilities at work
The shift to a product focus required the adoption of Agile throughout business and IT. In response, Nick assessed the capabilities of their Product and Engineering teams with respect to their Agile maturity. He reviewed all levels of the organization and with a detailed focus on the roles of Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Developer, he concluded that the level of Agile maturity was low, and the organization needed to execute a plan for improvement.
Working with senior business and IT leadership, Nick developed a plan that set a new direction for the organization to achieve and sustain success. The plan included a focus on change management, adoption, training, and team measurement. The plan called for Product focused teams to adopt the Scrum Framework to deliver their product and services. Adopting Scrum provided a framework and standard approach to solution delivery for all teams. Training in the framework and the accountability of the role was critical for a successful transformation.
Nick onboarded a 3rd-party partner who would provide the internal teams with training, coaching and continuous measurement of progress. As each team was being trained, an Agile coach was assigned to them to assist with Scrum adoption. Continuous monitoring and measurement of a team’s progress was critical. Not only did the metrics show progress but they also showed where teams struggled so that corrective action would be immediately addressed.
A pilot team was selected to start the transformation and quickly moved to all teams within a business channel. In three months over 150 associates have been trained including Executives, Product Owners, Scrum Masters, Developers, and Quality Assurance Analysts. Results to date have been very favorable; adoption, Agile maturity and business agility continue to demonstrate positive improvements. As a result of this success, in 2021, the rollout will continue to other parts of the organization.
When did you join FWSIM?
Nick joined FWSIM in 2015. In addition to participating in the monthly meetings, he enjoys volunteering his time to support the HMG CIO Summit and the FWSIM STEM initiatives. Most recently, as part of SIM National’s STEM Outreach week (November 2-6, 2020), Nick served as a mentor for attending high school and college students.
“SIM has been a great resource for me to learn and network with senior IT leadership.” -Nick Socci
Do you volunteer for other organizations?
Nick volunteers with several non-profits assisting them with business and strategic planning and better use of technology.
Tell me about your immediate family, e.g., significant other, children, etc.?
When Nick is not working or volunteering, he enjoys spending time with his wife Lisa, and their four children Nicholas, Cara, Zachary, and Christopher. He enjoys music, reading, and boating on Long Island Sound.
Article written in collaboration by Nick Socci and Montos Vakirtzis