Fast Fish Forum aims to address digital change in SA

The Fast Fish Forum has been set up to address technology and digital change, thereby enabling South Africa to build capability and take a leading role on the continent and beyond.
Josef Langerman
Josef Langerman
The brainchild of Josef Langerman, group head engineering transformation at Standard Bank, the Fast Fish Forum aims to facilitate collaboration across South African businesses. “To be competitive in a digital world we need to adopt new ways of working, focused on the delivery disciplines of Lean, Agile and DevOps. This will require academia, corporates and other specialists working together to improve our IT competencies and change the way we approach IT in South Africa.”

To enable his vision to be realised Langerman partnered with consulting and technology firm BSG, who has two decades of experience in South Africa and typifies the positive change he wants to engender. The Fast Fish Forum aims to build trusted relationships across a wide and diverse range of individuals to enable robust discussion within organisations and industries and foster tangible learnings that can be shared with a broader community.

Innovative thinking

While smaller players and startups naturally adopt Lean and Agile principles, it’s not as easy to implement across larger organisations. “The bigger the company, the bigger the challenges for scaling Agile. Through a forum such as Fast Fish, we hope to share innovative thinking around how the larger traditional companies can adopt faster approaches to delivery.”

Jurie Schoeman, client engagement and strategy executive at BSG, who hosted the first forum, believes there is a sense that South Africa has gone from leading to lagging when it comes to technology change. “The Fast Fish Forum was coined to recognise that today’s economy is no longer about the big fish eating the small fish, but about the fast fish eating the slow fish.

"In South Africa we face a significant skills shortage in technology, and a challenging business economic environment. The Fast Fish Forum intends to address the need for South African businesses to build agile capabilities, so that we can challenge accepted ways of doing things, and ultimately make a significant difference in South Africa and globally.”

Commitment a priority

For this forum to truly enable change, Schoeman believes attendees must be inspired to teach one another and to learn from each other, and must be committed to playing an active role in bringing about a better way of enabling business change - it’s not about standing back and just observing.

“This was demonstrated at the first session through vigorous debates on how customer research and usability testing need to be integrated into incremental software delivery. Assertively and constructively debating topics that focus on radically changing established ways of working by exploring and testing new approaches that change how we see the world is what the Fast Fish Forum is all about.”

BSG is proud to enable the Fast Fish Forum vision to become a reality as it addresses one of the most important reasons to find better ways of doing things. “We must reduce wasteful effort and ensure that South Africa’s scarce resources are used to create impactful change. This is why faster, leaner and more agile approaches are so important across all businesses,” Schoeman advises.

Find the forum on LinkedIn and view the presentation from the first Fast Fish Forum below:

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