The technology changes that have occurred over the past five years have drastically reshaped how all of us live and learn. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) suggests that the net of this change is that we (as consumers) react faster and are more demanding. We expect instant access to information, frequent updates, and flawless performance not just in the technology space, but with every product that we interact with.

To keep up with these new expectations, the most successful companies have changed the way they do business. They have found ways to shorten their product development lifecycles. They also supplement their major product releases with frequent iterative updates. Today, as an example, it is not uncommon for the online headline of any major newspaper to change three or four times during the course of a day, or for an individual to receive updates to their favorite mobile app several times a week.

The shortening of the development lifecycle and the ability of these companies to produce frequent and iterative updates has largely been facilitated by adjustments to both their organizational structures as well as their development processes.  Corporations like British Airways, Nokia and Yahoo have changed their organizational charts from ones where functional groups were organized based on a specific technical expertise (all writers on one team) to a model where business or product-aligned units are made up of employees with varied skillsets (technical writers, developers, programmers all reporting to a product-aligned team lead).

These same companies have also adopted Agile as a product development methodology. Agile is an approach to product development that allows large efforts to be decomposed into smaller components that can then be developed and delivered over multiple iterations.

Businesses that have employed both the organizational restructuring and the Agile approach to product development have realized increased customer satisfaction, highly engaged employees, greater visibility into the process of releases, improved ability to address change, and higher quality products.

In an effort to realize these same benefits, the DTCC Learning team will be adopting both the change in organizational structure as well as the Agile approach for developing learning solutions.  While we have not been able to find any published case studies on the use of Agile in learning organizations, we believe that the similarities between the learning development process and the software development process make training an excellent candidate to realize some of the same benefits that have been gained in software development.

Over the next several months I will be sharing our experience here at DTCC as we engage in developing and measuring training the agile way.

Stay tuned, and feel free to submit questions and comments along the way.

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