An employee digital service that helps a leading Software and Technology Consultancy grow sustainably by aligning employees’ individual growth and the organisations’ growth.
4 Service Designers
ThoughtWorks is a global software consultancy solving complex problems with technology. They connect strategy and execution, helping their clients to strengthen their core technology, scale with flexibility and create seamless digital experiences. They have extensive experience in developing software and partner with their clients to continuously evolve their technology and enable an adaptive mindset to meet their business goals.
The Future of Consulting Services at ThoughtWorks UK
The Final Concept
Roobiks is an employee digital service and management platform for consultancies. It helps to align employees’ individual growth and the organisations’ growth. The platform currently consists of an expectation management and staffing feature.
Sprints - In this project, we wanted to experiment with our methodology to execute a project of this complexity and magnitude in the best way possible. We adopted ThoughtWorks’ way of working which is influenced by software development. We ran design sprints across 3 areas we believed we could realistically make a difference.
At the end of each sprint, we designed a broad design direction specific to ThoughtWorks.
→ Key trends
We dived into the consultancy ecosystem and through our research, we detected the following key trends that we believed would impact the future of professional services. However, an overarching theme across all trends is 'change'. And for organisations change is really about growth.
• Adaptable organisations - Quick to detect shifts in the operating environment, and flex appropriately.
• Governance & accountability - Policies such as IR35 are changing how freelance consultants work.
• Ways of working - With new technologies, there’s a constant need to learn and adapt ways of working.
• Tailored solutions - White label solutions just don’t work.
• Boundaries of an organisation - Leveraging external partnerships.
Simplifying the Complex
We used an analogy to help us better understand the consultancy landscape. This helped us figure out how ThoughtWorks could grow.
When a Patient (Client) is sick, they would usually go seek advice from a General Practitioner (Management Consultancy). The GP would then diagnose their symptoms and give them a Prescription (Strategy) that they could take. If the problem is severe and can't be dealt with on their own, they would then seek help from a Specialist (Software Consultancy / ThoughtWorks).
Major management consultancies are trying to own the whole chain by building Hospitals (complete capabilities from strategy to solution and implementation). We then asked ourselves how a specialist like ThoughtWorks could compete in this landscape.
Growth at ThoughtWorks
What does growth currently mean to ThoughtWorks? We conducted several in-depth interviews with employees at various levels of seniority in the organisation. This is what we identified:
From a management perspective, growth means scaling in terms of headcount and aiming to generate their core revenue from the top 10 UK clients.
From an employee perspective, it means growing social and knowledge capital through digital channels like ’common interests groups’ or informal rituals like ‘speaker’s corner’ and 'meetups'.
Progressing in the future which aspect needs more focus? We believe bottom-up growth is a more sustainable approach.
When an individual grows, the organisation grows organically – it’s a bottom-up growth. However, an organisation could also just grow with its employees lagging behind – which is a top-down growth. Based on the characteristics of ThoughtWorks, we identified bottom-up growth as the more sustainable approach to grow.
How might we align individual and organisational growth?
The Final Concept
→ Capturing Interest
While waiting to be deployed onto their next client project, employees are encouraged to type in their personal interest, professional capability and professional interest and to print out and stick this sticker onto their devices.
This sticker works as a conversation starter and enhances knowledge exchange between employees. Every time an employee prints out a sticker, the data captured across these 3 areas is automatically fed into the 'employee interests overview' of project sourcing teams, enable them to make better-informed decisions.
→ Informed Demand
Project sourcing teams can now see employees' interests and strategically source projects based on this information.
When finishing working on a client project, employees estimate the impact the project had across the already existing key company values. Project sourcing teams can then access a collective impact estimation of each project and evaluate the disparity.
→ Types of Projects
With the available data, project sourcing teams can now diagnose projects based on Market Demand, Capability, and Employee Interest. Within Roobiks we are focussing on 2 kinds of projects.
Firstly, a Performance Project - these are the projects that ThoughtWorks has an existing capability for and there is a Market Demand, however, employees are not interested.
Secondly, there are Learning Projects which are interesting for employees and there is a Market Demand but ThoughtWorks currently doesn’t have the capability to execute this project.
The way a Learning Project would work is when there is a project that requires for example 10 ThoughtWorkers, one or more ThoughtWorkers that are not billed to the client will be added with the intention of learning. Employees are encouraged to develop new capabilities to eventually perform as a billable individual in the future.
Who is it for?
Roobiks is designed for senior management, project managers, as well as employees of all levels.
Roobiks ensures a two-way interaction between senior management, project managers, and employees by making use of digital tools, as well as physical artifacts as conversation starters and means to provide the necessary information. Roobiks identifies employees’ career trajectory and interests to provide them with the most suitable projects while also assisting senior managers and project managers to make better informed decisions when sourcing new projects.