Higher Education IT Leaders’ Dinner – Adopting Agile, can it ever really work in HE?

10th May 2024
Alex Richardson
Partner & Head of Practice
This week Berwick Partners hosted our Higher Education IT Leaders Roundtable Dinner with a number of CIOs from both Russell Group and Teaching focused Universities at Crafthouse, Leeds. It seemed summer had finally arrived as the private dining room afforded fantastic views over the city.

The evening saw a wide-ranging, Chatham House debate, covering a number of aspects affecting the HE sector. These included some of the challenges of ensuring professional services and IT in particular have their voices heard at the top table, either via a board level CIO, or by identifying a sympathetic COO/ VC to ensure the value of digital is recognised as critical. It was also noted that the typical University non-executive structure does not always afford advisory boards the same degree of challenge one might expect in the equivalent roles in industry.

Conversation then turned to the evening’s core theme; the opportunities and challenges of using Agile in HE. By and large, the sector finds a waterfall approach much more comfortable. Especially given its familiarity with managing large scale construction projects. Our guests felt that it was often the best approach to initiate the use of Agile methods within the IT function, whilst gently familiarising the institution with the concept. The next step is to seek out individuals with the necessary attitude and organisational profile to become product owners and deliver growth from there. It was noted that “out of the box/cookie cutter” approaches tend to flounder in universities because of the degree of autonomy afforded to stakeholders in their roles. Therefore, many in the room had adopted a blended ‘ WAgile’ approach, representing the best of both worlds.

If you interested in attending future events hosted by our IT & Digital Practice, please contact Alex Richardson.

Categories: IT & Digital