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Making The Entire Organization Agile


Technical team can not be truly agile if HR, finance, and management are not. Jeff Gothelf, Managing Director at Neo and author of Lean UX, talks about bringing agile to the whole organization in his recent blog.

Most of this agility starts and ends with the product development teams – specifically software engineering. There is rarely a mention of “agile in the HR group” or “continuous improvement in finance”.

Joe McKendrick, author and independent analyst, says that agile needs to be part of HR, finance, and everywhere else.

Agile shouldn't be just about software development. It should apply to everything an organization produces. HR, finance and production live in monolithic silos with calcified processes. It's time for software people to spread the agile gospel to other parts of the enterprise.

As the nature of software continues to shift towards continuous delivery, to support this rapid, iterative optimization of business the internal organizations that staff, fund, manage, and reward our people need to exhibit that same level of agility.

Recruitment process is also changing. HRs are looking for new hiring practices and rethinking the entire process. HR teams need to start hiring for creativity,collaboration and curiosity.

Greg Wasowski, Global Recruiter at Salesforce says that agile is working well in software development, and is now being used in other parts of the business. Therefore we should apply the agile principles to recruitment also. He modified twelve agile principles listed in the Agile Manifesto for recruitment in his recent blog. A few of those are as follows:

1) Our highest priority is to satisfy the business through early and continuous delivery of great candidates.

2) Welcome changing requirements, even late in the recruitment process. Agile processes harness change for the business's competitive advantage.

3) Deliver working recruitment strategies with tangible results frequently, with a preference to a shorter timescale.

4) Hiring managers and recruiters must work together daily throughout the project.

HR managers also take care of the incentives and performance appraisals. Incentives should support measuring outcomes, making evidence-based decisions, and learning.

Like HR department , finance department should also become agile. Gothelf suggested a solution, which is influenced from startups.

The CFO’s office needs to start treating each team as an in-house startup – a group of people tasked with solving a business problem. That business problem has an objective, measurable goal that ultimately determines the team’s success. At the end of each funding period, the teams must present their cases to the finance office for re-funding. This builds a cadenced resilience into the way the organization makes decisions, allowing it to make short commitments and then further those commitments or not, based on real-time market-based realities as opposed to lofty predictions of a future state that may never come.

Gothelf mentioned that organizations should also change the decision-making hierarchies. These processes are slow. Agility in the organization requires decision-making to be done as close to the customer feedback as possible. The teams working on the products need to be able to quickly decide how to move forward based on the continuous inbound stream of market insight.

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