Case Study – Specsavers

With complex stakeholder relationships, based around contrasting and competing priorities, Specsavers needed an independent assessment of their existing agile practices. Agil8’s Shaun Smith was appointed to undertake this review, and provide objective recommendations on how to overcome those impediments.

Specsavers - Case Study

Client Background

Specsavers Optical Group Ltd provide optician services, along with glasses, contact lenses and hearing aids. Operating globally, Specsavers have stores in the UK and throughout Europe, as well as in Australia and New Zealand.


The Challenge

Specsavers had previously implemented the use of Agile practices to support their ambitious plans to transform their digital strategy; moving away from simply building websites and producing online content, to providing digital services that really meet the needs of their customers.

However, the challenging relationships between internal stakeholders and external agencies was hindering their Agile implementation and the ability to deliver new digital products. Furthermore, due to the distributed nature of their Agile Teams, Specsavers were struggling to successfully scale their Agile practices.

“Our digital development had previously been driven by waterfall methodology. However, to achieve a transitional shift to a more customer focused digital strategy – we adopted an Agile approach so that we could meet our customer needs faster and more effectively”.

Vicky Etcell – Head of Digital Delivery

Agil8’s Approach

To remove the project impediments and frustrations that all stakeholders were experiencing, agil8’s Shaun Smith delivered a programme of consulting that:

  • Coached, interviewed and observed teams, managers and their ceremonies to identify the root causes of the problem/s

  • Assessed all existing Agile practices, before providing a written ‘school report’ on the findings; along with a proposed backlog of changes and improvements

  • Presented recommendations on how to overcome and resolve these issues, including improvements to forecasting/estimating techniques, and implementing release planning to achieve incremental success

  • Facilitated an open session between Specsavers and their external suppliers; where all parties jointly agreed on a path forward using the proposed backlog of changes

Impact and Outcomes

Following the implementation of Shaun’s independent recommendations, Specsavers benefitted from:

  • Clearly defined priorities, goals and objectives (taking account of ‘Effort vs Reward’)

  • Agreed path, and roadmap for success that all parties can collectively work towards

  • Much improved relations, collaboration and subsequent productivity between stakeholders

  • Successful medium-term planning, with incremental product releases

“The speed at which we are now able to deliver products is invaluable. Shaun’s expertise, combined with his personable approach, was critical to us achieving this.”

Vicky Etcell – Head of Digital Delivery (Specsavers)