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If you spend time researching and educating yourself on agile as a way of working, you will come to the point where you have an “ah-ha” moment around the key foundation for agile success. We have been conditioned over the years, to believe success resides in action and activity. The more action and activity you generate, the more success. There is a lot of truth in that, but as change and disruption speed up, there is a lot more to it. There must be a foundation to that action and activity that is purposeful while also understanding of the dynamics involved in moving forward in complex environments. Basically, without a strong foundation, you can’t weather the storm of constant change that agile embraces and today’s work environments experience.
In that research, you will see a lot of emphasis on agile practices, but you will also see a lot of failures with agile transformations that were based on too much focus on agile practices (the how) over the principles and values (the why). It is when the agile transformation is centred on the principles and values of agile that success is found. The team, with their culture wrapped around agile value and principles, infuses the practices with authenticity and drives the team do not just do the practices from rote but to adjust and change based on their continuous learning and growth.
If the values and principals are so important, why do organizations consistently focus on using certification and experience as the primary tools to hire agile professions? Certifications are great but they only show that you know something. With experience, it shows that you have been exposed to things but that is it. In the end, we do not need people who know. We need people that can do something with what they know! People who can “internalize” and actualize agile values and principals are better able to get things done when faced with the adversity that complex work environments present.
When you are an agile organization, what should the plan for hiring be if certifications and experience can steer you wrong? Let’s start with the fact that certification and experience are tools. They add credibility to what someone is saying but they should not be taken as the be-all and end-all. If you are an agile leader you should have a solid understanding of the professional skill characteristics that enable a person to better embrace and espouse the agile value and principles. Here is a snapshot of the professional skills that enable higher probability someone can work in an agile way.
Here are additional questions can help you ask to get a sense of how well someone will embrace agile value and principals. Remember agile is not the end-all. And if you don’t work in an agile way it doesn’t mean you are bad. The issue is, to work in an agile way means you should espouse and exhibits certain characteristics. Here are questions to ask that digs into basic work characteristics:
As you plan your hiring strategies, it is all too easy to focus specifically on finding people with the specific experience you need. What is missed is that you can train experience you can’t train innate characteristics. If you are building an agile team and practice, you can’t ignore success with agile is about working in a certain way and from there conducting specific practices or ceremonies. The agile way of working means you have to find people who can espouse and actualize that way of work. To do that, you have to find professionals with the characteristics and professional skills that match the agile way – and remember that is more important than finding experienced and certified agile professionals
Post by David Mantica.