AGILE MINDS THINK ALIKE

Leaders of some of Cornwall’s most successful software companies are sharing their expertise and pooling their knowledge to provide a significant boost to the county’s economy.

The Agile Director Peer Group is an extension of the Coaching for High Growth programme funded by ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and delivered across Cornwall by Oxford Innovation. The group comprises senior representatives of software firms that use Agile methodology to support their ongoing business development.

Paul Massey is founder and director of embedded software specialists, Bluefruit and is a member of the Agile Director Peer Group. Paul commented: “Our group’s members all work in the same field but none of us are in direct competition so we’re able to share very openly our thoughts on business development and the future growth prospects for the sector in Cornwall.”

Agile is a globally recognised methodology for promoting dynamic and efficient project management in fast-changing environments.   Oxford Innovation formed the Agile Director Peer Group to bring together like-minded business leaders to share their experiences of the methodology.

Since Paul founded the company in 2000, Bluefruit has experienced growth of between 30 and 50 percent per year. The company now employs 25 people and Paul is confident that by the combined efforts of the Agile Director Peer Group, many more jobs could be created in the sector in the years ahead: “It’s very important for our industry to work alongside education providers, business support organisations and the public sector to ensure Cornwall develops, attracts and retains software skills. If we can achieve this, our group believes the sector can create 200 new jobs in the county in the next three years,” said Paul.

In July, Paul and his colleagues on the Agile Director Peer Group organised a summer school to attract graduates to Cornwall’s software sector. “This was a pilot exercise based on a boot camp where we wanted to identify the best new talent in the industry and showcase Cornwall as an ideal location for launching a career in software. We hope to make this an annual event and our aim next year is to create up to 20 opportunities for graduates in Cornwall.”

Belinda Waldock is the Oxford Innovation business coach leading on the delivery of Agile Innovation and is facilitator of the Agile Director Peer Group. Belinda commented: “The Agile Director Peer Group is an ideal platform for effective collaboration. It is based on the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. By bringing together these successful and innovative leaders we are combining their individual expertise in the wider economic interest. As a result the participants all become even more effective, agile leaders and the sector they represent is energised for future growth.”

To find out more about Agile Innovation, please visit www.agile.oxin.co.uk or email info@growcornwall.co.uk.

 OxIn_Toby13

www.softwarecornwall.org

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Fashionable Agility – Business Case study on adopting agile beyond software

SOPHIE’S PASSION FOR FASHION GETS HER AHEAD IN BUSINESS

Turning a hobby into a business is a thought that occurs to many but the realities of making it happen are enough to deter most would-be entrepreneurs. However Cornish photographic art graduate Sophie King has done just that and thanks to a globally recognised business improvement methodology, her hair accessories are claiming a growing share of the international fashion market.

Sophie started creating handmade hair accessories for herself while she was studying at the University of Wales. Her eye-catching pieces were soon in demand amongst friends and shortly after graduating in 2010, Sophie launched her own business, Crown and Glory.

To help develop the business from a hobby into a fully-fledged enterprise, Sophie turned to Oxford Innovation for support under the Coaching for High Programme, funded by ERDF (European Regional Development Fund).

Oxford Innovation business coach Belinda Waldock worked with Sophie to develop a business plan for Crown and Glory. “I received fantastic support from Oxford Innovation, especially Belinda,” said Sophie. “It was such a daunting experience so the very practical support and the mentoring I received was really invaluable to me.”

With Crown and Glory established and already trading successfully, Belinda introduced Sophie to the concepts and principles of a methodology which enables businesses to improve their own systems and procedures and in so doing deliver a better quality of service to customers. Agile has its origins in the software industry but Oxford Innovation has adapted it for use across any sector under the banner, Agile Innovation.

As Belinda explains: “Agile is a highly effective methodology for planning and prioritising work especially in a fast-moving and growing business environment. Sophie’s personal profile and that of Crown and Glory have risen rapidly in the highly competitive fashion sector. Agile has been particularly useful in giving Sophie visibility of the bigger picture while retaining focus on the finer detail of design, production and logistics.”

Sophie found one Agile tool to be particularly helpful after recruiting her first member of staff, commenting: “The Agile wall planner came into its own once the team grew; it was no longer just me that needed to know the tasks and plans for that week, month, quarter and year ahead and using the wall planner was a great way for us to be able to see how the day-to-day tasks linked back into the bigger picture without the need for time-consuming meetings and progress reports. It also made it really easy to delegate and keep track of our progress over any given period. We both find that having the planner in a place of high-footfall in our office much more beneficial than having it tucked away in a folder on a computer or similar; we’re reminded of what we’re working on and towards every single day.”

Although still a relatively young business, Crown and Glory is already an internationally recognised brand having featured in magazines such as Teen Vogue, Grazia and Company and attracting celebrity fans such as pop stars Amelia Lily and Little Mix. Sophie has also worked with high street fashion chain Oasis and accessorised Italian designer Danillo Gabrielli’s Spring / Summer collection at London Fashion Week.

“Agile has fitted perfectly alongside my business,” said Sophie. “It has helped me manage growth by determining how and when to bring in additional support as well as keeping me in close contact with customers which in turn has enabled successful new product development. Having adopted Agile in the business I have no doubt I will continue to deploy it as we grow and diversify in the future.”

To find out more about Agile Innovation, please visit www.agile.oxin.co.uk or email info@growcornwall.co.uk.

sophie2

http://crownandglory.bigcartel.com/

 

Agile on the Beach Session : Agile Innovation : Embedding Agile in a diverse mix of Cornish High Growth Businesses

2014-04-24 10.25.54This year I have had the pleasure of speaking at Agile on the Beach 2014, this year as a follow on to last years launch of the Agile Innovation project I have shared some of the results of introducing Agile to high growth businesses, teams and entrepreneurial start ups.

Watch the full 30 minute session here http://youtu.be/qNVO6a_2E48

Watch the 4 minute video from the session

Agile Innovation Slides PDF

Client Feedback Video http://youtu.be/eoxxsfXsulQ

Business_Agility_Diagram_AW

Agile Innovation – Business Agility Model

The session talks through the development of a business based Agile model to introduce agile culture, strategy, project management and tools to High Growth SMEs as a way of managing growth and change in any business sector and environment.

In software development agile is used to manage scope creep and similarly, in high growth businesses their growth is their scope creep.  HG businesses need to manage this scope creep effectively in order to continue to manage its impact on the business and its people

The session includes case studies from established geology, film production and PR businesses, an innovative fashion start up and software business that are using agile more widely at a strategic level of their business.

http://agileonthebeach.com/business-2014/

Video Interview : Belinda Waldock : Agile Innovation in Cornwall

http://youtu.be/YbMVTbUVc_8

Agile on the Beach is a two day conference on the Cornish coast with a beach party in between, perfect to evoke creative and technical thinking, enjoy time with the UKs leading thinkers in agile adoption and evolution.

Agile on the Beach is a leading annual conference in Falmouth, Cornwall. Exploring the latest agile and lean thinking in software craftmanship, teams and business. Including ample networking opportunities such as the beach party this conference brings together 300 people to explore, evolve and find out what it means to be truely agile in business, from its culture to product development practices

Software Craftsmanship: For the professionals, there’s plenty of technical innovations on offer. Software developers will be guided through the latest techniques, for two days Cornwall will be the epicentre of global Agile technology.

Teams: The Agile approach is not just about the business of software. It’s about the business of your approach. The conference will ask managers, directors, or indeed anyone leading a team to re-assess the way they work. Learn about high performing and innovative teams and find out what they do differently and how to create and manage your own. Agile on the Beach is the perfect environment to take some time to re-design the approach you take to your team.

Business: The business stream will explore how a business can adopt agile beyond software development and its impact on wider business activities. Including the latest models for product development and agile marketing.

www.agileonthebeach.com