Don Sargent

Let it go; let it go! – How a 50-year-old media company organized itself to better manage its technology development portfolio

The Chronicle of Higher Education is celebrating its 50th anniversary as the premier recruiting site and media company for everyone who works in higher ed. For 25 years we did product and digital development the same way—we struggled with an endless stream of unaligned demand for technology work for a single technology team. Business and editorial product leads waited for months for their turn, getting demoralized and desperately hanging on to low value feature needs because they didn’t know when they’d get another shot to build it. For years, our response to these tensions was to hyper-control the digital product/project priorities and portfolio. Even though we’ve been maturing in scrum/agile, we knew we had to do better in our overall execution on the product/project portfolio.

In this talk, Don will show how the Chronicle moved closer to the “fully agile org” ideal via new digital product teams, leveraging lean/agile principles. We’ll talk about how we work now, how it’s paying off, and the challenges that remain. If a 50 year old newspaper company can make this leap, you can too!