Fozzy Group

Holding Fozzy Group rethought its business model when they realized that competing as a ‘traditional retailer’ is less profitable. To move past its competitors, the company made a strategic decision to undertake a complete digital transformation and compete by transforming traditional processes and creating added value for its customers.

Developing new digital directions and products requires many qualified specialists. In particular, Fozzy Group’s demand for cross-functional teams required 200 product owners.

Because of this, their key need was to be able to grow its own product owners inside the company. There were two main aspects to consider: the specific business domain and unified methods and standards for product owners’ work.

They needed an educational provider that could work with them on an educational program tailored to the company’s needs. A provider that could handle large-scale, continuous training. A provider that would offer 100% support and feedback to the trainees.

That partner was Uphill Partners — partners in large-scale business transformations and an agency for teaching and implementing agile approaches.

Product Owner School was Fozzy Group’s first systematic training in the product-oriented approach. The main goal was to provide product owners from the holding’s various businesses with unified frameworks. They wanted to create a professional community where members could freely share their experience, ideas, andopinions and an environment where product owners and teams could reach their full potential. We conducted a broad survey of stakeholders on the first two waves of the School (50 students). 83% of managers noted progress in their teams inusing the product-oriented approach. 80% of stakeholders said that training had made a positive impact on teams’ business results. We are also glad that the School hada NPS of 93 among stakeholders. Managers were ready to recommend the program tonew employees and to colleagues from other divisions and businesses.

Olga Levchenko, Head of Functional Learning Department

The solution was to launch a full-fledged professional Product Owner School. This is aninteractive-format school where students develop the hard and soft skills necessary to manage digital products, from formulating a vision of the product to the nuances of communicating with IT teams. Employees in different positions at the company were to transform into ‘mini CEOs’ of digital products.

Preparations for launching the School lasted two months.

In this time, we had many calls and meetings to dive deep into the company’s requirements and really get to know their values. This allowed Uphill Partners trainers to precisely tailor the curriculum to the needs of Fozzy Group product owners.

Mixed learning format. 

There were four offline modules, with the rest of the training done either online or offline depending on the topic (for example, public speaking was done offline). Each class spent three and a half to four months learning. This is an optimal duration for the average corporate program as it allows trainees to stay motivated and engaged while combining learning with work.

For the first group, we had 80 applicants for 25 spots.

We conducted a kick-off meeting where employees filled out applications that we used to evaluate their current knowledge and motivation for joining the program. The procedure was the same for the second and third groups.

We also considered the position of company executives; their top priority was client-facing products.

The company has many more products than the school has spots in the program. This created additional interest among would-be trainees.

The result: 75 School graduates in 2021.

Company executives wanted the wow effect from the School, and they got it: in their feedback one student said, “I’d never studied like that before.”

This was possible thanks to the impressions made during learning modules, unexpected presents, impressive guest speakers, panel discussions, tastings, testing, andmore.

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