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Agile Week 6: HR As Builder and Partner

The core of agile method is not to solve for a single instance of a problem, but to create a solution that will prevent the problem from recurring. In this way every project or task becomes the foundation for the next, if not in a practical sense then certainly from a skills development perspective. Each time an agile team completes a project they learn how to ask better questions, apply more thorough design thinking, and collaborate more effectively. By working in cross functional teams the members gain familiarity with other business roles and how their decisions may impact others. They can begin to iterate solutions with these needs and parameters already in mind.


In Reflection 5 I spoke of “activities of daily living”, tasks that for many people take minimal effort or complex thought. As employees get used to working in an Agile manner things like seeking feedback and shared accountability become activities of daily living. They can devote increasing time and attention to more complex demands. In addition, modular systems or processes are built to support Agile workflows, to ensure that one issue can be addressed without causing broad impacts to other teams or interruptions to customers. This enables multiple Agile teams to address different components of changing customer needs asynchronously.


HR can support Agile organizations by adapting and shortening the cycles of core functions to align with the sprint/scrum model.

  • Performance Management: Adopt and support continuous feedback processes and allow flexibility in employee recognition throughout the fiscal year.

  • Offer Learning & Development at scale through self-led, distance, and/or asynchronous modules and webinars. Replace live workshops with debriefings and roundtable discussions to deepen understanding.

  • Recruit for skills rather than roles. Assess candidates for soft skills such as open communication, self-motivation, and comfort with ambiguity.

Your friendly author is always available to go Above and Beyond

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