Taylor & Francis Academy
The creation of an interactive global bootcamp AND to build a fully functional internal agile delivery capability
The Technology function at T&F (around 90 people), was going through a major restructure. People were being given new roles and working within teams they perhaps had not done before. Alongside this, T&F were very traditional in their delivery approach and had a vision to move the Technology function towards Agile delivery. They had limited understanding of the fundamental Agile principles in-house and there was inconsistency in this knowledge across the business. Due to their L&D team being stretched there was limited recommended digital training and there was not a great buzz around learning.
T&F had found it difficult to find a provider who had a breadth of offerings, was credible in coaching Agile delivery, supplied more than just classroom training and could genuinely help change their ways of working. From previous bad experience they were understandably sceptical about finding a new supplier. They needed a partner that could support the above, to really transform T&F’s digital capabilities.
Bring on AND Digital’s Academy!
AND Digital took a number of steps to help Taylor and Francis reach their digital aspirations.
Step 1 discovery phase
We worked closely with T&F to understand their global agile needs as well as their fundamental skills gaps. We also looked into the current L&D environment and investigated people’s perceptions around upskilling and their preferred learning styles.
Step 2 design phase
We worked with both senior stakeholders and the global teams to build an engaging Agile bootcamp bespoke to their priorities and needs, based on our discovery. It needed to be fresh to inspire everyone across all levels and be done quickly and effectively ensuring the learning ‘stuck’. We also wanted to use the opportunity to encourage a culture of learning within Technology and ensure that after the bootcamp, people were sharing knowledge with each other and engaging in related communities available to them.
Step 3 delivery phase
We kicked off three Agile bootcamps; two in Milton Park and one in Miami.
Step 4 support phase
To ensure the successful embedding of the Agile bootcamps we measured the impact after the bootcamps via various surveys, and made some small tweaks to content, exercises and comms to improve it going forwards. After the successful pilots, our client sponsor requested that the whole Technology department should attend a bootcamp by the end of 2016, which is around 70 people. To date (Oct 2016) we are still working with the team each week on a wider Academy proposition that will launch in 2017 and we regularly check in on Agile Bootcamp momentum and offer advice on improvements each time.
Our top remarkable factors within the project were:
- Speed AND quality – All pilot global bootcamps were delivered over one month. The feedback post bootcamp was so good that our client sponsor wanted AND Digital to take the whole Technology department through bootcamp by the end of 2016, around 70.
- Breath of new skills – Over the 1 week bootcamp we delivered the following: agile training (scrum master, facilitation skills, agile analysis and agile development) blended with group work, case studies, role plays and discussions to encourage team building.
- On going learning – We created an interactive Agile Confluence Page to enable people to reference the Agile bootcamp materials, have discussions and upload interesting articles they come across. We also purchased three online learning subscription licenses to support the embedding of learning and have included recommended Agile tutorials. As a result a Scrum Master community has been formed and the concept of knowledge sharing communities is being brought to life.
- Beyond Technology – due to the success of the Technology Agile bootcamps we are now fleshing out of a wider T&F Academy, open to the whole business due to launch in 2017.
- New Agile Mentality – We managed to achieve efficient and positive working teams who can work together using the Agile framework. They all had a good understanding of working in agile, allowing quicker more adaptable products to be developed for T&F. This means that there is greater competitive advantage to potential Technology recruits and it portrays a positive message to existing talent that T&F are investing in L&D within Technology.
It's the commitment and the sincerity, not just of the immediate team working on the ground, but of the leadership team and the wider community of AND Digital and their willingness to help us on this journey that stood out for me.