I always like looking at concepts outside of HR to see if they would work in my HR shop. I was at a software conference recently where the speaker was describing a well-known concept in software development called ‘Agile’. Here’s the basic concept of Agile software development:
• Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
• Working software over comprehensive documentation
• Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
• Responding to change over following a plan
So, the question is–would the Agile methodology work in your HR shop?
On the outset, it seems to fly in direct contradiction of traditional HR – right?!
People over process, activity over documentation, collaboration over negotiation and fire-fighting over planning!
Sounds like a recipe for disaster!
But let’s dig into it a bit from the operations standpoint.
First, HR should be about individuals and interactions and not process and tools. Having strong relationships with people in your organization will get thing accomplished almost always faster than if you have the right tools and little or no relationships. Actually doing over documenting! That’s scary – it seems like we already have that environment and can’t get our hiring managers to document, but at the same time if, theoretically, you’re doing the right things – documentation shouldn’t be an issue.
Boy! That’s a big if!
The collaboration piece seems like a no brainer – very 2010ish leadership style – let’s all be a piece of the decision making process.
In HR I like this because it’s less “you have to do this because HR said” and more “this works for our group and for our company – let’s find a way” – I think that usually is a better way.
Responding to change over planning is another thing that seems like we do really well already in HR – so I don’t know how much this is different. I do know our ability to respond to change positively within HR for our organizations is huge – so having this be one of your pillars might not be too bad!
I always think software developer/engineering types tend to think about our world much differently than most of us – usually in a more efficient way – which I really appreciate. So, this concept of Agile intrigues me. For so long we have been about mitigating risk and process in HR.
Agile, within itself, is a process – it’s just a much different process than we are accustomed to in HR.
So, what do you think – could you run your HR shop in an Agile environment? Hit us in the comments.
More by Tim Sackett:
- The Hardest Thing You’ll Ever Have to do in HR
- Your HR Processes Stink, and You Know It
- The Most Outrageous HR Mistake You’ll Ever Make – and How to Correct It