It was a fortuitous combination of educators: Teach First NZ needed to improve their systems, and Fronde were running a cadet programme which needed a great project for interns to learn from. So over four weeks, Teach First NZ had the privilege of working with Fronde to make their mission easier.
Our team at Teach First NZ had never spent much time focussing on the technical systems we use to do our work. While they have been useful and essential, our more pressing goals of getting quality graduate teachers into low decile schools, and building the network needed to tackle educational inequality always end up dominating our time and effort.
Until recently we have been able to get away with managing our processes using basic tools such as email, calendars, spreadsheets, and so on. This worked reasonably well - but with our successes and growth we reached a point where we needed to review and standardise these processes.
We wanted to become more efficient at what we do, and deliver a consistently excellent experience for all our contacts; especially for our schools and participants.
As a charity, our budget does not allow much room for IT projects. So when Fronde, a Kiwi IT consultancy, offered to streamline our systems as a pro-bono project, we were absolutely thrilled. They were also able to do some educating as part of their internship programme as a result, so it was a win-win situation.
Teach First NZ had already implemented Salesforce - a customer relationship management (CRM) solution - for the management of candidate applications. The new solution that was introduced builds out the rest of the “customer” journey in Salesforce; as candidates become participants, as they progress through the two-year Teach First NZ programme, and finally when they became alumni.
It means we now have a single view of schools, participants, and partners so that we can serve them effectively, and also gain insights to shape what we do. This will help us with things like matching our teachers to schools, managing school subject requirements, and tracking everything from agreements to case management, as well as the overall performance of the Teach First NZ programme.
The solution was delivered in just four weeks, as a pro-bono engagement by Fronde, using an iterative Agile approach of one week design-build-test cycles. The Fronde team included Daniel Lund, Engagement Lead, Rochelle Glover, Salesforce Functional Expert, and Harry Ross, a student on the Fronde Cadet programme.
“It was great working on a real-life client project with the guys at Teach First NZ. I learned a lot. We worked closely, it was fun and it really felt like we were all part of one team,” said Harry.
Entries are now open for our 2016 cohort, and applications are coming into Salesforce. Over the coming months we will select participants, match them to schools, and then deliver training before commencing their two-year programme. Salesforce is going to make this process a lot more efficient and consistent, and the data we build up is going to help us to continually improve our services.
“When I saw how much had been done in a relatively short amount of time, I was gob-smacked! We now have a central tool for managing our student participants, as well as our schools and partners. Now we will all be working in Salesforce and I am looking forward to seeing what else it can do. Big thanks to the Fronde team.” - Shaun Sutton, Teach First NZ CEO.
“I am really pleased that we have been able to work with Teach First NZ. Fronde is committed to helping New Zealand’s youth achieve their full potential - we sponsor the The Hi-Tech Young Achiever Award - and we think Teach First NZ is a great organisation and we wish it every success.” - Ian Clarke, Fronde CEO.