AGILE MINDS THINK ALIKE – Case Study – Collaboration

Leaders of some of Cornwall’s most successful software companies are sharing their expertise and pooling their knowledge to provide a significant boost to the county’s economy.

The Agile Director Peer Group is part of the Agile Innovation programme funded by ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and delivered across Cornwall. The group comprises senior representatives of software firms that use Agile methodology to support their ongoing business development.

Paul Massey is founder and director of embedded software specialists, Bluefruit and is a member of the Agile Director Peer Group. Paul commented: “Our group’s members all work in the same field but none of us are in direct competition so we’re able to share very openly our thoughts on business development and the future growth prospects for the sector in Cornwall.”

Agile is a globally recognised methodology for promoting dynamic and efficient project management in fast-changing environments.   Oxford Innovation formed the Agile Director Peer Group to bring together like-minded business leaders to share their experiences of the methodology.

Since Paul founded the company in 2000, Bluefruit has experienced growth of between 30 and 50 percent per year. The company now employs 25 people and Paul is confident that by the combined efforts of the Agile Director Peer Group, many more jobs could be created in the sector in the years ahead: “It’s very important for our industry to work alongside education providers, business support organisations and the public sector to ensure Cornwall develops, attracts and retains software skills. If we can achieve this, our group believes the sector can create 200 new jobs in the county in the next three years,” said Paul.

In July, Paul and his colleagues on the Agile Director Peer Group organised a summer school to attract graduates to Cornwall’s software sector. “This was a pilot exercise based on a boot camp where we wanted to identify the best new talent in the industry and showcase Cornwall as an ideal location for launching a career in software. We hope to make this an annual event and our aim next year is to create up to 20 opportunities for graduates in Cornwall.”

Belinda Waldock is the business coach leading on the delivery of Agile Innovation and is facilitator of the Agile Director Peer Group. Belinda commented: “The Agile Director Peer Group is an ideal platform for effective collaboration. It is based on the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. By bringing together these successful and innovative leaders we are combining their individual expertise in the wider economic interest. As a result the participants all become even more effective, agile leaders and the sector they represent is energised for future growth.”