Building and Deploying a World Class Scala Team for Sky.

The Challenge

Sky approached Arrows Group to help them with a critical requirement – the need to deliver a GDPR-compliant solution for personalised recommendations for all Sky Q and Now TV customers in the UK, Germany andtaly – in order for them to meet new EU regulations.

An internal team at Sky had already commenced the work but were badly behind schedule – putting Sky at risk of non-compliance to forthcoming GDPR regulations.

The solution, to be developed in Scala, needed to mask user ID’s during real-time data processing to ensure complete anonymity for Sky customers.

Arrows Group were asked to manage the team build process with no involvement from Sky – tasked with building and deploying a team that would seamlessly transition into the business and deliver the required solution.

Sky Headquarters, London
Sky Headquarters, London
Sky Headquarters, London
Sky Headquarters, London

The Solution

Arrows Group introduced a dedicated Client Partner onsite at Sky who would take ownership of the project delivery and ensure a singular point of contact.

The Client Partner worked with the Head of Technology, Delivery Manager, Product Owner and the existing Scala team to define the exact requirements and expectations of the new solution, subsequently creating a resource plan and skills matrix for a team of 7, as well as agreeing new team deliverables.

Arrows Group utilised an extensive network and the innovative OneDay™ model to rigorously screen 18 Scala consultants over a 3-day period, with each individual undertaking a tough coding test and face to face interviews, and the successful consultants were then shortlisted for final selection.

Following the completion of the OneDay™’s Arrows Group then assessed each shortlisted consultant against the detailed skills matrix, selecting the final team of 7 to be deployed onsite.

The Results

The 7-strong Scala team was deployed onsite at Sky within 30 days of initial project engagement. The Client Partner ensured a quick onboarding process and the team were rearchitecting the solution in their first week.

The GDPR-compliant ID masking solution was delivered one week ahead of schedule and the solution is now being used department-wide.

The team had a cultural impact on existing teams as the team came in with a heightened focus & speed.

Due to excellent stakeholder feedback and continued successful delivery, Sky moved the team onto new business-critical projects with more responsibility and further extended every individual.


From those who made it happen

Head of Technology, Discovery, Sky

When I contacted Arrows with this idea of a “popup team” to help when delivery gets rough I was very pleased they were so receptive to it. At that stage, it was pure exploration. And a couple of weeks later, I realised I had one key GDPR project in serious troubles. Or so I thought – but that was before Arrows materialised a brand new team in the department in less than 3 weeks. That was our first popup team. Since then we have extended that team and asked Arrows for a second one a few months later. And to be honest, at first I wasn’t even sure I would like the idea. We are very picky on team fit and technical proficiency. Giving up control and relying entirely on third-party for such a core and sensitive function is anything but obvious. Yet Arrows had already proven they “understood” us: our culture, our demanding standards. And that their network has what it takes to meet that. I am still a bit confused about what looks like a miracle, but a repeated one which leaves only one interpretation: it’s impressive know-how.

Scrum Master, Arrows Team

Thinking culturally, I believe Arrows are truly interested in matching the right people to roles. To give an example, Alex Lonergan had clearly taken the time to understand my strengths and experience. She consequently introduced me to Richard Walker. Richard had an exciting opportunity to build a complete development team in Sky. Richard moves quickly! We completed proposals, established the resource plan by interviewing stakeholders in Sky and then started hiring. Will Nelson helped find great talent at a blistering pace and I conducted fruitful interviews with Richard for the new Scala team within a few weeks. A crucial item to note here is that our resource plan had a granularity down to finding people who would fit together quickly for immediate productivity. Consequently, I am now the Scrum Master for one of the strongest teams I have worked with in 20 years!