“Agile Encourages the Kind of Employee Companies Claim They Want” from on Old Blog
Many years ago, I had a blog where I commented on a number of things related to software process largely with an agile-related slant. I got directed to that blog a couple days ago and I thought I might present them here and see what people think. I have not updated them in any serious fashion because I am happy to have them criticized in the light of current thinking.
So, from August of 2009 here is the third:
I’ve used the title of this post in talking to managers about agile on several occasions as I believe this is just what an agile approach does. The values and principles of Agile methods encourage the kind of attitudes and behaviors that most organization’s want.
These include, but are not limited to
1) Personal responsibility for one’s actions and integrity in day-to-day interactions;
3) Visibility into and openness regarding the status of work;
4) Collaborative relationships and effective communication within and between teams;
6) Self-direction and initiative in organizing work and handling issues;
7) Continuous improvement (in skills and process);
8) A quality focus and dedication to provide business/customer value.
If an agile approach is effectively pursued, an organization will see people adopting such attitudes and behaviors. Those who do not will not be successful in an agile environment.
Perhaps the best part of an agile approach, is that, within a relatively short time (usually no more than 3–5 iterations of effort), it will be clear who seems willing and able to adopt such attitudes and behaviors and who is/can not.
This is not to say that in this time frame, everyone who wants to will have succeeded in demonstrating such results. But it should be clear who really feels comfortable with and wants such “culture” change in the organization.
For this reason, I would think any organization who is truly serious about having the kinds of employees they say they want would give an agile approach serious consideration.
[Repost Note: I did get a comment on this post back then and responded to it:
It’s not just that Agile encourages the kind of employees that companies say they want. Sometimes, what companies say is merely what they think they’re supposed to say. But there are direct benefits in the employee behavior (such as loyalty and employee retention), also. See my recent blog posting for more on this.
George makes this important point in his blog:
“People want to do well for you. Give them an opportunity and an environment where they can do so.” [And back then I did not, but should have referred to the 5th of the Manifesto’s Principles: “Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.” I could also have mentioned Deming’s 11th Principle: “Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship.”]
For me, an agile approach is a very good step toward that kind of environment. I think the behaviors companies say they want and the direct benefits they, for sure, want feed one another through having the environment, as George says.
The right environment will allow the behaviors to develop and the people will respond to being able to display those behaviors with the loyalty, leading to retention, that the company wants.]