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Scrum in education: how agile is empowering teachers and principals in the northern territory

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by James Hayes & Shannon Russell



This is a story of agile adoption outside of the traditional environment of agile teams. The eDash program faced a number of challenges, including the need to make sure that principals and teachers in remote communities had a voice in the priorities of the project. Similarly, it was vital to make sure that the solution developed would be enthusiastically adopted by educators across the Northern Territory. This was an organisation new to agile and under pressure to deliver from within and externally.

Despite these and many other hurdles the NT Education department, partnering with Aginic, have delivered a product that has generated excitement amongst the NT teaching community and has already begun bringing about small positive improvements to education across the territory.

We will be sharing our lessons learned and our success stories in bringing about a shift in mindset that allowed NT Education to embrace a new way of working and achieve such a fantastic outcome for teachers and principals.

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Scrum in education: how agile is empowering teachers and principals in the northern territory

  1. 1. Agile in Education Empowering teachers and principals in the Northern Territory
  2. 2. James Hayes Shannon Russell
  3. 3. https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6449847062321299456 About eDash
  4. 4. Challenges
  5. 5. ContextAverage ICSEA 1000 736 NATIONAL SCORE NT SCORE
  6. 6. Number of all students enrolled in government schools, 2017 791,763 30,515 NSW VIC QLD SA WA TAS ACTNT 1.2% of all national students live in NT 606,475 547,137 173,506 276,914 56,669 41,886 Inform ation sourced from National Report of Schooling at www.acara.edu.au
  7. 7. Schools and students in remote areas 44% of our students are enrolled at these schools 71% of NT Schools are located in remote and very remote areas
  8. 8. High number of small schoolsNumber of government schools, 2017 2,151 1,525 1,234 513 784 192 153 87 NSW VIC QLD SA WA TAS ACTNT 68of these schools have fewer than 100 students 153 government schools in NT Inform ation sourced from National Report of Schooling at www.acara.edu.au
  9. 9. The result https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6458205033094840320
  10. 10. Impact Congratulations Education NT. This is an initiative I only dreamed of when I stated at Wulagi 7 years ago… … my assistant principal has not stopped ohing and ahing and using and sharing and delighting in the tool….and it’s not even been up 24 hours…… The feedback is the best feedback I have ever seen after launching a new system!
  11. 11. 1. Product Delivery & Transformation 2. Importance of great Product Ownership 3. Creating effective feedback loops
  12. 12. 1 Product Delivery & Transformation
  13. 13. Our approach
  14. 14. Incremental delivery Traditional • Serialised development process driven by fixed requirements • Little to no value realised until end of the process (usable product available at the end of the project) Agile • Continuous incremental delivery process with small regular value drops • Continuously adapt to changing customer requirements • Potentially greater value is realised by the customer, and earlier
  15. 15. Finance Ops CRM HR Data acquisition Source ETL Data Lake One row per.. Business Intelligence ..Employee ..Leave record .. Pay line .. Customer .. Relationship .. Interaction .. Account .. Transaction .. Balance per day .. Holding .. Fund .. GL per day Eg. Revenue dashboard Eg. Account profile Eg. Custom er lifetim e value Eg. Leave dashboard 1. 2. 3. 4.
  16. 16. Trimming the tail Image Credit: H.Kniberg
  17. 17. Agile and the NT Department of Education
  18. 18. Agile transformation starts with great product delivery
  19. 19. 2 Importance of great Product Ownership
  20. 20. Listening to feedback Part of the team Discipline and Responsibility Product Owner empowering the team
  21. 21. Product Owner Guiding the team to value • “CEO” of the product – we told the CE of Education this! • Empowered to make decisions for the team and keeping this transparent • Represents the interests of Teachers and Principals • Represents the product to Teachers and Principals • Letting Principals and Teachers prioritise
  22. 22. Products are not just for Christmas • Craft the strategy for the service or product • Focus on health not just features • Strategies for sustained delivery of value • Value the asset and its customers • Retirement is part of the journey
  23. 23. The Product Owner role is critical for great delivery teams
  24. 24. 3 Creating effective feedback loops
  25. 25. Processes for Engagement • Identify a representative group of end users • Keep the group engaged: o Structured meetings (eg. Showcase) o Listen and respond to feedback o Be transparent with decision making o Initiate pilots / early user testing • Offer many modes of communication: o Mixed mode meetings o Email o SharePoint Forums o One-on-one interactions o Surveys
  26. 26. Designing Valuable Outcomes Project Discovery Make sure the team has a clear understanding of the vision for product and form the backlog accordingly. Design Thinking Constantly challenging assumptions and refining the design: • Personas • Empathy mapping • Journey mapping • User Testing and Research “Do less research more often” J. Goethelf
  27. 27. Incremental Delivery
  28. 28. Feedback should be on your audience’s terms
  29. 29. https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6460027891773206528 Feedback fromour Principals
  30. 30. Key messages
  31. 31. ● Agile Transformation starts with great product delivery ● The Product Owner role is critical for great delivery teams ● Feedback needs to be on your audience’s terms
  32. 32. Thanks! Shannon Russell Product Owner – eDash 0447 803 203 shannon.russell@nt.gov.au James Hayes Director – AginicDS 0423 687 344 james@aginicds.com
  33. 33. Informing decisions for our students

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