The IGNITE framework is a bespoke agile delivery model created by the IT Services department to elevate work culture and alignment to Victoria University (VU) priorities by championing employee engagement and accelerating learning and adaption.

On this page you can find out more about the IGNITE framework and how you can use it to create a collective mindset focused on innovation and collaboration and solve business problems in your team or organisation.

What is IGNITE?

In late 2019, VU's IT Services department began transitioning to a new way of working. Named the IGNITE (Inclusive, Grow-in-Numbers, Innovate, Trust, Evolve) framework, the delivery model is a bespoke agile framework combining Scrum, SAFe, Lean Six Sigma and Kanban practices.

The IGNITE vision is to elevate work culture at a departmental level through a framework that champions employee engagement and empowerment with a collective mindset focused on innovation and collaboration for solving emergent business problems.

Through positive word-of-mouth, improved cross-functional collaboration and outstanding project outcomes, the benefits of IGNITE have begun to inspire organic interest in organisational agility from many diverse departments and fields of work. This is leading to a more widespread adoption of the IGNITE operating model, both within and outside of the University community.

Hear from key players in the IGNITE transformation (video) and the positive benefits that have already been felt University-wide.

IGNITE goals & initiatives

What does IGNITE stand for?

IGNITE’s goal is to create a self-propelling work culture that sparks inspiration, confidence and empowerment in every individual. It also provides methods for adapting and thriving in increasingly complex and uncertain work environments. Therefore IGNITE helps ‘light the fire’ in everyone to overcome challenges and take advantage of opportunities.

As an acronym, IGNITE stands for:

  • Inclusive: We openly collaborate with colleagues, seeking continuous input in the interaction of current and emerging products and services.
  • Grow-in-Number: We are encouraged to take risks, learn from failure and celebrate success together with individuals and teams, and are dedicated to continuous organisational growth.
  • Innovate: We responsibly challenge and disrupt the status quo, maximising the potential of ourselves, products and services.
  • Trust: We are empowered to make and own decisions that strengthen our teams.
  • Evolve: We challenge ourselves and each other to be dynamic and responsive to change, supported by ongoing learning and development opportunities.

IGNITE focus areas

IGNITE enhances the ability to tackle large projects and adapt to constantly evolving requirements with flexibility. It supports teams to provide value to clients and stakeholders early and often – while enabling continuous involvement, feedback and improvements.

In an IGNITE work environment, the focus is on:

  • Empowerment – trusting in teams and individuals.
  • Transparency – continuously reviewing whether teams are working on the right problems, and how well they’re solving them.
  • Engagement – working closely with clients to decide how to best support strategic goals.
  • Continuous learning and improvement – using restrospective assessments to evolve the way teams work together.

When IGNITE is done well, outcomes for individuals, teams and projects include:

  • A greater sense of empowerment to make decisions and increased satisfaction towards work.
  • Greater feelings of accomplishment without the need to juggle multiple priorities.
  • Quicker identification of value-driven initiatives for stakeholders.
  • Faster and safer means of creating and validating minimum viable products (before large-scale project delivery), offsetting the risk of delivery and/or over-commitment of funds.
  • Continuous improvement of existing products and services to meet emerging needs and expectations.
  • Stronger, more resilient relationships within teams and between clients, built on trust and innovation.

VU's strategic goals

Logo for VU's 'always west' values

The IGNITE framework also supports VU’s strategic goals to be Always WEST (Welcoming, Ethical, Shaping the future, Together) by fostering the following core values of VU’s strategic vision to:

  • be inclusive, supportive and respectful
  • provide lifelong learning opportunities
  • appreciate the contribution each person brings
  • be fair and unbiased in the decisions we make
  • communicate openly and honestly
  • continually and boldly challenge the status quo
  • encourage critical enquiry and creative thinking
  • constantly adapt to achieve our goals
  • work collaboratively to generate solutions
  • share our knowledge so that others can grow.

How does IGNITE work?

In simple terms, IGNITE follows the core agile principles of collectively planning out work, completing tasks and providing value incrementally via sprint cycles which work towards completion and provision of a final product or service.

Some of the key processes (or 'rituals') that occur under the IGNITE Framework include:

  • Big Room Planning: Big Room Planning brings all the project teams and business stakeholders together (in a ‘big room’ or virtual space) to work together and create a shared vision or roadmap of business goals for the forthcoming quarter as well as potentially conceive and workshop new ideas.
  • Sprint planning and sprint cycles: Sprint planning involves creating a prioritised list of tasks to be completed for the upcoming sprint. A sprint is the period of time (typically 2 weeks) during which the tasks committed to during sprint planning are performed. The goal of each sprint is to create a potentially usable product, no matter how basic that product is.
  • Sprint review and retrospectives: After a sprint has been completed, the team holds a sprint review. This is a presentation of the work achieved during the sprint and provides opportunities for team members and stakeholders to see the work and provide feedback. The sprint retrospective occurs after the review and offers a forum for teams to assimilate any feedback gathered during the review, and understand what worked well and what didn’t, to approach the next sprint effectively.

However, IGNITE is not a prescriptive model and remains flexible according to the challenges of each project and business area. We adapt our approach to ensure the greatest success is achieved and acknowledge that each work environment and project goal is unique. If you would like to find out how IGNITE could work for you, please express your interest using the form below.

group of staff members in big room planning meeting

IGNITE uses key agile rituals such as Big Room Planning

IGNITE achievements

IGNITE’s biggest aim is to create positive work cultures and interactions between individuals and teams.

Since the widespread introduction of IGNITE across IT Services at VU, we’ve found that employees are feeling more empowered, valued and recognised for their contributions to the overall success of the department’s activities and goals. Clarity around expectations and performance is also improving for staff who feel a greater sense of being supported, pride and belonging to their team and department. Stakeholders and clients across the University also report feeling more deeply engaged with technology delivery and appreciate the transparent and collaborative nature of our way of working.

Some highlights for employees after only 12 months included increases of:

  • 97% in how well we communicate between teams
  • 110% in how well change is managed
  • 92% in how well we learn from our mistakes
  • 55% (equaling a majority of 82/100) of the workforce strongly believing that they see a future for themselves at VU.

The IGNITE mindset (video) and what IGNITE stands for.

Naomi Dempsey.

The IGNITE framework has definitely improved the way we collaborate with ITS. We now understand each other better and there’s more inclusivity for key stakeholders around the University. Everyone comes together and collaborates, enriching projects from the perspectives and shared knowledge of everyone.

All of our projects over the past twelve months have delivered the scope that we set out for – and sometimes more. This is a far better outcome and it means we can deliver new technology and functionality for students faster and more often throughout the year.

Naomi Dempsey
Interim Deputy Provost (Students & Academic Services), Victoria University

John Farrow.

What I like about the evolving IGNITE framework is exactly that: it is evolving through continuous use and feedback loops on what works/does not work, built into the model itself. It’s not a stagnant model. IGNITE is a journey not and end point.

From a self-leading/learning lens, the concept of an internally agile university, where basic and ongoing training is done to continually enhance the skills of those operating the IGNITE model, is something I’d like to highlight. It’s also a virtual area where new ideas and concepts can be experimented with before they are applied across ongoing teams or squads across various technology and business value streams.

John Farrow
Business Agility Coach/Lean 6S Trainer

What's next?

At VU, we are passionate about broadening awareness and understanding of Lean-Agile frameworks and how they can enhance employee experience, work culture and value creation. So, this program does not have a finish line. IGNITE is continuously incorporating the challenges of today and tomorrow into renewed ways of working, prioritising the human experience at its core.

IGNITE will continue to fuel collective success in IT Services, helping meet and exceed the needs of clients, employees, and VU's students. However, the IGNITE framework is increasingly being applied, not only more broadly across the University as a default way of working, but soon beyond VU to partner organisations and communities.

IGNITE in 2022

In 2022 IGNITE will continue to fuel collective success in IT Services, helping meet and exceed the needs of clients, employees, and VU's students.

We are currently revisiting our IGNITE operating model, primarily the composition of our squads, with a quest towards continuous improvement, based upon the goals of:

  • ensuring meaningful and strategic collaboration by revisiting the composition of our squads and their alignment with business functions
  • enabling holisitic prioritisation of activities within self-managed squads
  • conducting purposeful rituals with intention (especially business reviews and regular feedback loops).

Our reimagining of the Agile operating model has its basis in research into cognitive load, communication pathways and trust between individuals and within organisations – and how the nuances and interactions between these impact employee sentiment and value creation.

Stay tuned for further updates as we pilot our new approach and its wider impacts.



Read more on the IGNITE social feed

Explore articles on innovation and tips for agile ways of working from IGNITE team members on LinkedIn and other blogs and sites in the IGNITE knowledge base.

Get involved

Work with us

Would you like to find out more about the IGNITE framework and how it may contribute to a better work culture and achievement of excellence in your team or organisation?

Please contact us via email at [email protected].

Training for staff

If you are a VU staff member, you can undertake this Introduction to Agile Frameworks module via VU Develop. It's made up of self-paced training modules in the IGNITE fundamentals.

Learn online now.