So What Happened with Agile and the People Team?

By July 9, 2013 No Comments

I feel I may have left some of you hanging when it comes to the People team adopting the Agile project management style for our team projects.  So I kind of want to play catch up with you.

For those of you who may not know, back in February I rolled out the concept of Agile to the People team as a way for us to manage our projects.  As a team, we needed to adopt something that would allow for better communication, focused and completion of projects.  Basically our day to day would interfere with the ability to complete the projects that would take our team to the next level.

Over the roll out of the principles of Agile using Scrum, the team was tentative (to say the least), but willing to try this method.  Over the course of a month, we were able to modify the structure to meet the needs of our team. We even implemented some ongoing visual reminders and awards that helps us celebrate our accomplishments and keep us motivated.

It’s been great since we have been able to share the effects of Agile with others within our company.  Thanks to our Agile coach Jason B, we were able to assist him with his TMD on introducing Agile to non-technical teams.

Now that we have been using Agile for almost 6 months now, we realize that this has been a game changer for our team.

  • We have made some major accomplishments, as a team, that we have not been able to make in the past.  As common saying on the team with Agile is eat the elephant one bite at a time. Agile has allow us to focus on smaller tasks and keep the project moving instead of getting overwhelmed by the overall project and putting it to the side due to day to day responsibilities.
  • Our team was made to realize that we were not communicating effectively. Now, don’t get me wrong, we were communicating good enough and getting things done. We realized how much our individual roles interacted with each other when we started discussing projects, as a team, in our sprint planning session. We now understand what each other does, we are able to question each other and provide objectivity to decisions, and we are able to have that constructive conflict that is great for a team.
  • There have been times where we have gotten relaxed in the structure of our meetings and check ins. And we noticed. Agile does required a few structured meetings, which if you are not used to it, can get old after a while.  But we got a reminder from a Leadership Academy on having effective meetings that made us refocus.  After that, although the check ins were daily and sprint planning meetings were weekly, they continued to be an effective use of the team’s time.
  • Last but not least, Agile allows the team to clearly know what the priority is for the team from our VP down.  Because we somewhat operated in silos with projects and specialties, our individual priorities didn’t always line up with the priorities of each other of the assumed priorities of leadership. We are able to talk about capacity and priorities of the “team” and how we can get things done as a team to make the most impact.

I would recommend Agile for any team that is looking for a better way to communicate, prioritize and focus.  I definitely see this as a great process for a Human Resources team that consists of many Generalists.  Let me or Jason B know if you would like to explore this concept more.

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