“Agile” is a formally designed approach meant to help software developers turn out better software faster and with fewer bugs. Today’s guest, Bo Ruan, Head of Data at the Alzheimer’s Society, helps us see how we can leverage the core concepts of agile to create more impactful data systems, analytics, and insights.
Now, if you Google Agile Methodology, you can quickly get sucked into a rabbit hole of certifications and masterships and oodles of training. Bo’s approach is that you’re not aiming to become a formal Agile practitioner, but rather to adapt the key Agile principles – which are themselves simple – to your data work. In this episode, we cover those essential elements and how to put them to use with social good data.
What You Can Do
If you want to get started with Agile in your data work, Bo recommends starting with the 12 Principles of the Agile Manifesto. While they are stated in the context of software development, most of the steps have clear parallels to data work, such as delivering working outputs regularly for immediate stakeholder feedback, connecting end-users and developers continuously, and regular reflections on how things have gone and how they can go better.
Bo Ruan is the first Head of Data at the Alzheimer’s Society, part of a career in serving the social good sector through data. As the first in his role, Bo faced the challenge of developing a data strategy from scratch. Alzheimer’s Society had not yet leveraged the data it has access prior to Bo joining, so he was uniquely placed to roll out an effective and robust data strategy for the charity. It is a process that continues to develop, and that Bo is thrilled to be part of. Bo earned his BA in philosophy from King’s College London and his MSc in Business Innovation from the University of London.