Creating operational efficiency through agile ways of working for Quacquarelli Symonds

Meet Quacquarelli Symonds

QS Quacquarelli Symonds is the world’s leading provider of services, analytics, and insight to the global higher education sector. Their mission is to enable motivated people anywhere in the world to fulfill their potential through educational achievement, international mobility, and career development.

QS’s drive to grow, collaborate and maximise efficiency

For QS, the challenge was to help create a culture of growth and promote a test-learn-iterate approach, particularly given the transformation the team were undertaking in shifting from physical to virtual events as a result of the pandemic. Teams needed better methods of collaboration, as well as understanding how to identify and then quickly resolve bottlenecks.

A stand-out example of a cultural challenge for QS was trying to improve the efficiency of the events team. That team was interested in maximising the capacity of their people, maintaining a sustainable pace for everyone. As well, QS wanted to maintain the quality of every event for both clients and candidates.

Avado’s customised, agility-focused solution

To ensure lasting effects and provide maximum impact for QS, the programme Avado developed, Agility in Action, would have to be applicable to every learner’s day-to-day role. It would be customised to common challenges and organisational goals, while helping QS create more agile and collaborative ways of working.

The events team at QS split into three groups, and each group took on a common organisational challenge. One team, for example, chose to focus on unprepared candidates as a challenge. Using Avado’s frameworks, they began to reveal options to create outputs and data-driven outcomes to add value, using a test-learn-iterate approach.

They created an MVP video within just a few days to send out to candidates and provide information to better prepare them for events. The data showed that the video was hugely successful, and the teams are looking to continue this approach for other events.

Agility in Action was designed with leaders and their teams in mind. Through it, we guide teams through a variety of hands on and collaborative activities and frameworks. Each brings the learning to life and helps create long-lasting behaviour change.

For the events team at QS, we’ve shown what’s possible when they work in a more agile way. QS now have a very real example of what is possible when you work in this way, took the first step towards figuring out how to create this culture.

What success looked like

After the initial workshop

  • There was an initial +30% increase after our first focus workshop in confidence in applying agile principles.
  • Other areas had a significant increase too, with 100% likely to adopt a test, learn, iterate approach, 93% likely to focus on outcomes over outputs and 100% likely to adapt a data-driven decision making process when tacking business problems. This is a significant increase and we are delighted with the initial impact.

We measured impact and behaviour change with the following statistics:

We asked the QS participants to answer this question: Following this, programme will you do things differently? If so, what and why?

Answers included:
• Focusing on overarching goals more often
• Looking at the bigger picture and how changes affect each unit of the company
• More confident trying out ideas instead of saying no because of blockers
• Reaching out to other teams for ideas and input
• Not be as solution-focused and see the long-term aim
• Ask more questions

From the QS team

 

What’s next for QS?

  • Keep momentum within their teams. Maintain their own agile transformation through regular communication and sprint reviews.
  • Create cross-functional teams and expand knowledge. Continue to grow their capability and work in a way that delivers results.
  • Maintain organisation-wide buy-in. Understand how they can add more teams into their agile plans to continue supporting change across the organisation.

About Avado

At Avado, we believe that true transformation isn’t digital, it’s human. We build professional future skills to help diverse talent access and accelerate careers through award-winning learning experiences that deliver tangible and measurable impact. We upskill people, uplift culture and future-proof organisations in a fast-moving world.

Avado is proud to be a people-transformation partner to some of the largest and most innovative organisations in the UK including: Google, BT, NHS, British Airways, UK Civil Service, Legal & General and AstraZeneca.

To find out more, visit www.avadolearning.com

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Tara MacInnis

Posted November 26, 2021