Blog / Roundtable: Leading the transition to Agile in established media companies

May 21, 2015

Wednesday 20th May saw us pull up a chair to our first media roundtable discussion session.

From publishers to TV and from music to education, traditional media companies have changed beyond recognition in the last decade in the shift to digital. Disaggregation of formats, new customer behaviours, new business models:

  • How do the best established media companies manage a complex portfolio of new digital products and services?
  • How do you create new business models fast when old ones are falling away?
  • How can digital deliver agile into a waterfall organisation?

These are just some of the questions this session aimed to answer…

Joined by heads of industry and thought-leaders in the media sector, the session was to learn from each other and find better ways to lead the digital transformation of the media company we work for.

Roundtable panel

Lightning talk 1: ‘The Brain vs. Your Funding’

Melissa Sabella, Director, Product and Innovation - Reed Learning

The session kicked off with Melissa, where she explored:

  • Agile builds versus poor knowledge structures
  • Common misconceptions
  • Chunking information versus a Waterfall method
  • Elephants versus Riders

Melissa’s session slides:

Brain funding - Melissa Sabella from Unboxed Consulting


Lightning talk 2: ‘The onion and the orange’

Richard Stobart, CEO - Unboxed Consulting

The second lightning talk came from our very own CEO. Richard compared the old way of building systems (‘oranges’) with the new way (‘onions’): “As we build up the layers, it comes more like an onion”. Also explored was:

  • Time versus ignorance
  • Addressing the highest risks first
  • Lining up a project in terms of value

Richard talk


Lightning talk 3

Richard Atherton, Management Consultant, Coach & Programme Manager

The final lightning talk came from Richard Atherton, where he revealed the top 6 factors to resisting change in an organisational team. He also took thoughts from the audience on any additional factors.

Image1


Discussion section

With the three lightning talks complete, it was time to move into the discussion part of the session. Attendees jotted down ideas on post-its of the topic they’d like to discuss in this section, which were then collated and grouped.

Post it session

Post it session 2


Discussion #1: 'Stakeholder engagement’

Stakeholder engagement

The first discussion explored:

  • Getting stakeholders into the inception workshop to align project vision
  • Contributing - let people know they don’t have to say something
  • Senior stakeholders making their mark in meetings
  • Having public Show & Tells where people can’t hide

Discussion #2: 'Leadership and bravery’

Leadership and bravery

Discussion two looked into:

  • What does good leadership look like?
  • People that hold the money, how do we lead them into unknown territory?
  • The importance of the type of language used
  • Getting the whole team on the same page when it comes to objectives
  • Communication with key stakeholders

Discussion #3: 'Fitting to the budget and why lawyers don’t like Agile’

Expert opinion vs the rest

Discussion three addressed budgeting within projects, including:

  • Understanding a project’s real objectives
  • What can be done after an MVP has been built
  • Internal resource vs. external resource
  • Opening up and being transparent

Discussion #4: 'Expert opinion vs. the rest’

Expert opinion vs the rest

The final discussion covered:

  • The importance of cross-functional teams
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Leadership across all areas