Unlike two years ago, when my HR colleague attended a Scrum Master course, the reactions from other participants wasn’t this great when I attended the Scrum Master course about two months ago. I guess simply because Agile practices are becoming more widespread and also, it was an internal training where we invited Daniel Teng (from Odd-E) to conduct this workshop.
Although Agile has been around for a pretty long time and has flipped the entire waterfall model on its head, it hasn’t really made headway in very traditional or highly regulated practices (such as HR, Financial services, Healthcare, etc).
While there are plenty of reasons why Agile adopters can fail, that doesn’t mean traditional services cannot become Agile. From what I have learned at the Scrum Master course, I am beginning to see a clearer picture of the ‘perfect world’ where Agile HR resides. As I am a HR practitioner, the perspective that I would like to share would (naturally) be limited to this context.
Agile HR Team! (Image credit to Flaticon – Freepik, MadebyOliver)
Let’s look at it from a Product angle
HR does many things for an organization, some administrative, others strategic. With the importance and ever-increasing popularity of HR business partners, we can actually consider the organization as our customers.
What if the HR service is a product? And it’s features (i.e. Recruitment, Payroll, etc) are there to resolve the needs of our customers? So for example, if it comes to the end of the month and payroll needs to be done, the entire team will do what it takes to accomplish it at the end of the sprint. If the customer requires a fix to an employee engagement problem, then the team will seek to understand the situation (again doing whatever it takes – research, interviews, etc) and come up with a MVP (minimum viable policy/procedure/process) to tackle it. From real users’ feedback, the team can then iterate and improve on it.
We have embarked on a new journey with a lofty dream to have all (yes, all) of our staff to be able to have a mentor to guide them through the ups and downs of work life in Titansoft. The mentor would act as a consultant, advisor, mirror and friend to his/her mentee, providing additional perspective and help bring out ideas to form resolutions to problems faced at work. To be able to do so, we have rolled out a mentorship program.
We call this program “Pathfinder“. You’ll see why.
When both paths look the same… (Image credit: thecoinfront.com)
The Discovery of Pathfinder
Pathfinder came about upon identifying certain trends in our Titaners through our T.Exchange program. We have come to realize that some of our Titaners are feeling a loss of direction with their role in the organization back in the second-half of 2016.
Realizing the potential magnitude of this issue, a task force was formed to work on it. Interestingly, while this could be easily passed on as a HR project to work on, we had a senior Product Developer on board with clear intentions to help his colleagues to grow.
The task force began by identifying the objective and milestones of the program over a 2 year time period. The overall goal was to instill a sense of direction in 70% of our staff within 2 years (Yes, it does seem hard to measure, but I will get to it later). And from here, Pathfinder has begun…
As James Shore says of pair programming in his eponymous blog, “It’s more fun than it sounds: two programmers at one computer. One drives; the other navigates. Switching roles fluidly, they constantly communicate. Together, they accomplish better work more quickly than either could alone.” Teamwork never sounded so poetic.
Titansoft is an Agile organisation and we have been practicing pair programming since 2014. And having experienced the benefits of this practice, we are extending it to out Recruitment process. Having a programming session with a potential candidate is only one part of the hiring puzzle, but it’s often the most important one. Rather than looking at the CV and asking a long list of questions, which may not be as effective, we get around recruitment for our Senior Software Developers by holding a pair programming session. We believe that the pair programming process creates a better opportunity to showcase a coder’s skill.
“Through pair programming, our developer can know more about how the candidate behaves during real work such as his working style, coding preference, discussion etc. In addition, we are also able to show the candidate the way our company people code.”
Ji Zhoubo – Senior Software Developer in Titansoft
Finding the perfect combo. Some stuff just goes well with each other. Peanut butter and jelly, pizza and beer, Batman and Robin, we can go on and on. But what about Nutella and fries? Gin and raspberries? And here’s one that is one of the most debatable in our field – Agile Development and UX Development.
It may sound wrong and make you feel uncomfortable if you mix them together, but eventually it can turn out pretty well!
Check out the slides from the presentation given by Yves at Agile Singapore Conference 2016 ! 🙂 Titansoft is proud to be a Platinum sponsor of the event and hopes every participant can enjoy learning and growing together with us over these 2 days. Do check stop by our booth to have a chat if you would like to know more about us!
To all the recruiters out there, put your hands up if you ever wished you could have mind reading abilities! Well, if you’re one of them, I bet you do spend half the time figuring out what in the world is my hiring manager thinking?! Continue reading
(Chinese version published on FunEvo.com 中文版發表於敏捷進化趣)
I always think being a Scrum Master is like being a legend , a Scrum Master helps the Team to understand Scrum and Agile, supports the Team to level-up technical practices, guides the Team to be self-organizing, removes impediments to the Team’s progress, etc. And to make the job even more complicated, Scrum Master does not have authority over the Team, the Team does not listen to Scrum Master (Unless Team choose to)!
If you look at all these responsibilities individually they seem achievable, but when you put them together it is very challenging for one person to execute. And the one responsibility that confused me the most was that the Scrum Master needs to “Facilitate”, and I had no idea what it meant back in 2014. Continue reading