BBC iPlayer case study – focusing team vision

BBC iPlayer is an internet streaming catchup television and radio service for people in the United Kingdom. The service is available on a wide range of devices, including mobile phones and tablets, personal computers, and smart televisions. iPlayer serves over 300 million TV and radio requests for programmes monthly.

 

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The Challenge

This project was well established, but after the pressure of delivering for the London Olympics in 2012, it needed to reset its delivery process as ine ciencies and a lack of cohesion had resulted in a weaker product and reduced viewing numbers. The new team was less experienced than in the past and the product owner and scrum master were struggling to hold the team together and keep delivering to tight transmission deadlines.

 

Focus on delivering value to the audience

Our Approach

The experts at Agility in Mind began this focused coaching assignment with a whole team assessment run as a retrospective. This approach quickly led to frustrations and impediments to delivery being aired, categorised and prioritized. Then, a new and commonly agreed product vision was established with the whole team, bringing confidence back to the intent behind the product outcomes and how they could be reached.

A transformation backlog was created of all the things that needed to change and help the team work and made visible. This was used to guide the team coaching to make sure that they were kept on track and continually delivering value back to the audience.

Outcomes

Once the team had been given the time to reset and regroup, they had a much clearer identity and felt empowered to make the changes they needed to deliver great software.

  • They had a clearer vision and goals.
  • They took time to model their process, analyse and improve it.
  • They reconsidered and adapted roles.
  • They took a fresh approach to dealing with dependencies and bugs.
  • They reset their relationships with the Senior Leadership Team and took a firmer control over agreeing to meet imposed deadlines.
  • They improved their negotiation skills.

The team set up an excellent show and tell to demonstrate their work and raise their profile. They are now back to developing and delivering product successfully and meeting tight deadlines – they are happier, too. The truth is, like most teams, they already had the skills to be great, they just needed to have them tweaked and developed so they could better apply them.

After 4 months there was a record 272million BBC iPlayer requests, a 70% increase year on year.

70% increase year on year

What our client said

The benefits we are experiencing, as a result of Agility in Minds coaching, range from being able to transition from Scrum to Kanban – which is helping us improve on our product delivery, to learning that we need to continually nurture the Agile values of openness, honesty, courage and commitment to deliver the best if we are to continue being successful as a team that delivers great media players for the BBC.

We are very grateful that we had the opportunity to work with such a knowledgeable and experienced coach who helped us surface our true problems, ensuring that we improved and learnt where we most needed to, without being wasteful, by addressing the root cause and not just treating the symptoms.”

Sabina Kamber-Salamanca,
Senior Project Manager, BBC Embedded Media Player

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