08 October 2019
Twelve months ago an intrepid team within HSBC Technology took on a new challenge; it involved only a bit of tech and a lot of people. We were given 12 months to go from zero to on-boarding 200 Technology Future Leaders graduates, all to be landed in London from five far-flung countries and territories – India, mainland China, Hong Kong, Poland and the UK – by the end of July. On day one we had no money, no programme design and a team of just three people.
Fast-forward 12 months and we have 200 graduates safely home following a 5-week technical training boot camp in beautiful Mangalore, India. This is a story of an Agile project involving very little technology, but a lot of technologists, which stuck to its principles and understood its customers.
- We put our graduates at the heart of every decision. They needed an amazing experience, to know that they were starting a career in an organisation that would truly value their development and to be ready for the first step in their careers with HSBC
- We delivered just in time, (and in some cases a few hours after time). We made decisions effectively, with the information that we had available at the time, we kept moving forward and we stayed focused on the outcomes
- When we needed to, we pivoted on a dime. When it wasn’t working, we stepped back and evaluated what we were trying to achieve, and when it got difficult we dug in. But the goal was always to deliver a great programme for the graduates
- We defined what a minimal viable product looked like, held it up to the light and strove to deliver to the best of our ability, avoiding the trap of trying to deliver a massive programme badly. We strove to deliver the most amazing experience within the time and resources available, rather than a perfect experience – but when something didn’t stand up to the mark, we reviewed it ruthlessly to improve
- We were inclusive and inclusive and inclusive. We endeavoured to find the most diverse grad talent pool we could and we supported them through the process. We changed processes for those with physical disabilities and the neuro-diverse, we engaged across the spectrum of diversity and inclusion and learnt a huge amount as we went
The end result was employing 200 amazingly talented people. We:
- sorted out visas to work in the country they applied to, then sorted visas to allow them to travel
- brought them all to London for a Global Group Graduate Induction, and a global Technology Induction
- sent them home to a 3-week intensive technology pre-training course, a careers fair, giving them information to enable them to choose their first placements
- launched a 12-week hackathon focusing on diversity and inclusion
- sent them to Mangalore for five weeks of training
They’ve just returned home, a bit bamboozled, but ready to take on the challenge of their first placement. What they’ve said about their first 12 weeks and the programme to date make me proud, and I’m pretty hard to impress.
We did have a few medical dramas over the 12 weeks, but at least none of our grads were eaten by the giant mythical 5-metre-long water snake that apparently lives in the lake at the boot camp in Mangalore!