Agile & Lean

Royal Mail gets agile training

One of the UK’s most iconic companies and biggest employers, Royal Mail, needed to get agile to meet the changing world of mail delivery. QA helped the organisation with the training and support they needed.


Royal Mail

Royal Mail Group are a truly unique organisation with a long-standing history that stretches over 500 years. As the world is changing, so are their business needs and the organisation realised they needed become more agile so they could tackle their change management process – with fast results. Royal Mail and QA worked collaboratively to develop a bespoke Agile solution, including an Awareness course and role-specific training for its staff across technology functions. Let’s unpack the project.

The Challenge

Royal Mail face significant challenges from an uncertain UK business landscape, changing customer needs and a highly competitive market. They see a continuing decline in letters and fierce competition in parcel deliveries. Add to this potential for labour cost inflation and the impact from Brexit negotiations.

As the company moves with the digital age, their five-year corporate strategy relies on substantive technology enablement. And their IT strategy called GetAgile has become an integral aspect of the wider business strategy. It has three elements:

  1. Create a customer-centric, digitally minded business.
  2. Build an agile organisation.
  3. Architect Royal Mail’s technology platforms to support flexible, faster delivery while remaining efficient.

The Solution

The journey started in January 2017 when Phil Stirpe, QA’s Director of Agile and Projects, met with Royal Mail’s senior leaders for a consultancy workshop to understand their GetAgile strategy and identify the roles and learning pathways.

Next, Royal Mail’s GetAgile team was created. The new Royal Mail GetAgile leader worked with our QA subject matter expert (SME) to design and develop a bespoke course covering agile awareness and the GetAgile strategy.

Following initial pilots of the GetAgile awareness course, the outcomes were measured and QA’s SME met regularly with the GetAgile team to identify where improvements could be made to achieve better outcomes – and the course content was subsequently updated.

The measuring and content updating continued once the programme was launched. For example, the Service Management community felt that a more DevOps focus would be appropriate. As a result, a number of targeted variant courses emerged, which led to better outcomes.

Following the GetAgile programme, QA then delivered a series of role-specific courses to provide more effective learning pathways. This included training for scrum masters, product owners, service managers, and project managers.

The final piece to ensure learning effectiveness and self-sufficiency will be to provide key roles, in particular the product owners, with coaching.

In short: What solutions did QA deliver to Royal Mail?

  • An initial consultancy to scope out their requirements, identify pathways, discuss culture and more.
  • A tailor-made GetAgile half-day awareness course to around 255 employees.
  • Regular stakeholder reviews to measure outcomes and effectiveness, and subsequent tweaks to the content for relevance and effectiveness.
  • Role-specific practitioner training, for instance for Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Agile Project Managers, and Agile Testers.
  • A tailored Product Owner course to match Royal Mail Group’s specific PO role.
  • Support for the Service Management team with a “Working in a non-technical Agile team” training course.

The Outcome

"We engaged QA to create a learning curriculum to help with the adoption of Agile working practices and enable us to execute the people strand of our Get Agile transformation initiative. One year into this journey, we are delighted with the contribution from QA and the feedback from our colleagues is consistently positive."

Alex Lorke, IT Portfolio Director

Feedback from participants to the different stages of the GetAgile programme has been consistently and overwhelmingly positive. Royal Mail not only met its objective of achieving agile delivery to a mass audience, but are now well on their journey to becoming a more agile organisation.

A few comments received from the delegates included:

“I really appreciated the lack of a PowerPoint training session.”

“Great tutor, it was not Death by PowerPoint… the format worked well.”

“Most trainers I met so far in QA courses have been very knowledgeable with real-life working experience. This is very important, as I myself am not interested in learning theory. Much quicker to learn from someone who has already applied it and confirm it to work, and share it with the class.”

About Royal Mail Group:

The Royal Mail Group are the UK’s sole provider of the Universal Service where “one price goes anywhere”. They deliver letters and parcels 6 days per week to over 30 million addresses across the UK – more than all of their competitors combined.

The organisation employs nearly 160,000 people with one in every 185 jobs in the UK provided by the Group.

In addition, Royal Mail have a European Parcel business called General Logistics Systems (GLS) which operate one of the largest parcel delivery networks in Europe.

If you’re interested in an Agile solution for your business, contact us.

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