Tailored Agile training for a non-software environment gives different Cardiff University departments the skills they need to do more.

For development teams across the globe, adopting Agile techniques has enabled them to deliver solutions faster, manage changing priorities better, and use budgets more efficiently. But with these outcomes desirable for teams of all types, what’s to stop Agile being used to bring about benefits outside of the software industry?

That’s exactly what Cardiff University thought – and they knew that Box UK could help them.

Taking our practitioner’s knowledge of Agile, we designed and delivered a series of one-day training courses tailored to meet the specific requirements and contexts of a range of teams within the university, from the Communications department to the School of Dentistry. By demonstrating precisely how essential Agile principles could be applied to their environment, the teams were able to begin working in an Agile way the very next day – and start reaping the rewards just as quickly.

So if you think that Agile’s not for you, think again. It could be just what you need.

"Excellent training. The theories and principles were given practical context and we left with great advice that we could take away and start using immediately. I learned a lot."

Agile coaching participant

One size doesn’t fit all

Universities are diverse places, and different departments are often subject to different requirements, environments and key performance indicators. Naturally then, each of the Cardiff University teams seeking Agile training had their own reasons for doing so. The development team, for example, were looking to improve their ‘nuts and bolts’ understanding of the approach in order to apply it to future projects, while the communications team were interested in the ways it could speed up their processes to avoid an unmanageable backlog of tasks building up. The dental department, by contrast, wanted to know how Agile could benefit their research and development programme, among other departmental activities.

It was clear from the outset, therefore, that any training we delivered had to be tailored to provide the teams with practical, relevant advice about the things which mattered most to them. At the same time, however, we knew we couldn’t ignore the core principles of Agile – after all, any initiatives they launched would need to be underpinned by a solid theoretical foundation.

The heart of the matter

To balance these requirements, we held individual one-day workshops with each of the teams. While these all began in the same way – with an introductory overview that set out to answer the question ‘What is Agile?’ – what followed was as unique as the teams themselves.

Prior to the course, they’d all been invited to select a live project that they thought would benefit from the application of Agile techniques, which was then assessed by our specialist consultants during the training session. This interactive, collaborative approach enabled us to go beyond the building blocks of Agile and give advice that truly reflected real-world opportunities, contexts and challenges – drawing on all the experience we’ve built up over years of running Agile projects ourselves.

Ready, steady, go

Checking in with the university a couple of weeks later, we found that sprints had been started virtually as soon as the training sessions had finished – highlighting the benefits of an approach that combines the practical with the theoretical, and the general with the specific.

Cardiff University got the best of both worlds. Don’t you want the same?

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