In February this year, I was delighted to read that SAP CSR was launching a new global program called SAP ELI (Engaging for Local Impact), and Ireland was chosen as one of the locations for 2015. In short, this is a 6 week program where SAP employees get involved with a local non-profit organisation, and work on a specific project tailored to the needs and priorities of that organisation.
On first glance, this program really stood out to me as:
- a challenge, both personally and professionally.
- a chance to move out of my comfort zone and try something different.
- an opportunity to put my knowledge and skills to use for the better of a non-profit organisation, and hopefully learn something new along the way too.
“Knock knock, who’s there? Opportunity…..Don’t be silly, opportunity does not knock twice”
Following a successful application, Eoin Hurley, Michael Mulvey, John Keogh and I were assigned as the team to work with the Coderdojo Foundation. Delighted.
We kicked off the 6 week project by meeting with Coderdojo’s Community Associate, Laura Ivers, on a sunny Sunday in April for a project scope-athon. The day was spent defining the scope for the project, a mission statement, and just getting a feel for what Coderdojo was all about.
Our project was to “Complete an entire audit of the current content available via Coderdojo’s knowledge database KATA. Provide recommendations for a more intuitive content structure. Identify redundant, irrelevant and non-value-adding content, as well as gaps in the existing content.”
Following on from this, we spent 1 intense week onsite at the Coderdojo Foundation headquarters in Dublin’s CHQ building meeting with the Foundations staff and community members. We then dedicated approximately 8 virtual hours per week, for 3 weeks, to work on the project. As well as deep-diving into the Kata system and completing the project mission statement, this time also included learning about the different Coderdojo community members, all Kata user types and, most importantly, the Coderdojo ethos…an eye opener for us all coming from corporate backgrounds.
The project has now run its course, and having presented our final deliverables last week, now is the ideal time to reflect upon my SAP ELI program involvement using perfect hindsight!
It was a fantastic program to be part of. Earlier in this blog, I alluded to 3 reasons the ELI program stood out to me at first, and I can honestly say it lived up to each of those expectations and more. I learned so much from, working in a team of diverse backgrounds, time management and flexibility when it came to fulfilling my duties as a Support Engineer while being involved in this pro-bono project, remaining open-minded, project management skills, leadership skills, to adaptability! Stepping out from under the corporate umbrella to the non-profit sector involved unexpected transitioning for the entire SAP team. Understanding the cultural differences between the two sectors became surprisingly essential during our project.
Thankfully, my team and I successfully completed our project and were able to handover a complete new sitemap for Kata, including an audit of the content currently available (Kata As-Is versus Kata To-Be). We received great feedback from the Coderdojo Foundation who are delighted with the outcome of the SAP ELI program. This is a huge achievement for them as they did not have the resources available to carry out such a huge project. This will impact over 25,000 children, parents, and mentors who are registered for Dojo’s across over 50 countries. Coderdojo have already begun implementing our suggestions and are hoping to have this completed in the coming months, with a complete new launch of Kata planned later this year.
Exciting times ahead!