27–29 September 2017, Churchill College, Cambridge

How we are bringing Agile to a 400 year-old organisation

A 60 minute Case Study by:

Clare Tunstall

Cambridge University Press

Vicky Drummond

Cambridge University Press

About this Case Study

Cambridge University Press has perfected the art of print over 400 years. This has necessitated a culture of completeness and perfectionism, as mistakes in print can’t be undone. We’ve had less time to evolve the art of digital - until recently, most of our digital products were add-ons to the print product and followed a waterfall delivery process. In this session, we describe how we are changing our culture, methodologies and thinking to adapt to digital first products.

Printing books is an industrial, repeatable and therefore predictable process. In the move to digital products we have found that this approach is no longer appropriate, but that agile methodologies are. We’ve not been able to make this change quickly, but we are maturing over the period of a few years. This session provides a snapshot in time, starting quite early on in that journey.

We will describe where we were at the start, how we made the switch to agile to deliver Cambridge Core (via a low-risk proof of concept project), key events from the journey, where we are now, and what is next.

This will be presented from two perspectives. Vicky Drummond is Head of Customer Experience for Cambridge Core and will talk about stakeholders and customers. Clare Tunstall (agile coach) will talk about delivery, teams and communications. We will share tales of the resistance and acceptance we encountered, the highlights and pain points, the bits we are doing well, and those that we could do better.

About the Speakers

Clare Tunstall

Clare started leading the agile transformation at Cambridge University Press when she became their first (home-grown) scrum master. Five years on, she’s now their first agile coach, driving change and continuous improvement at team, department and organisation level.


Vicky Drummond

As Head of Customer Experience for the Cambridge Core platform, Vicky's primary remit is to ensure that customer needs, both internal and external, are met. This is achieved through iterative development and by implementing a persona driven approach.


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