Have you ever thought of applying project management methodologies used mostly by software development teams in some other teams like in HR or administration? It is time for the software development companies to take a step forward and develop an agile company culture.
What bothered us for a while is that the non-technical teams are so far away from the software development teams in terms of planning and organizing. Even though they are an essential part of the software development companies they are far from Agile and, yet in the VUCA world.
What is agile?
In the early 2000s, the worldwide business climate started to be described as unpredictable. A couple of years later the term VUCA stepped up on the scene.
VUCA is an acronym invented in the Cold War by US Army students to describe conditions and situations “it’s crazy out there” or the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world.
In the same period, a group of software developers was searching for a solution to the problems of traditional software development methodologies.
Before agile, the software development teams were required to stick to the requirements and scope of work set out at the very beginning of the project and not make any changes or additions along the way. But in a world that changes daily, this methodology was not sustainable.
So, in 2001 landed on a concrete solution to the major development problems of the time - the agile manifesto.
This manifesto laid out four key values:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
- Working software over comprehensive documentation;
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation;
- Responding to change over following a plan.
Since then agile has been used as a weapon to fight the VUCA world. An agile team means a team that can change direction quickly, avoid collisions, or identifies and seizes chances.
Agile manifesto vs. Agile People Ops manifesto
As Human Resources runs in history, People Ops is the present. But what is the difference? There are many opinions on what’s the difference between HR and People Ops, from those who think that People Ops is yet another buzzword to those who believe that PeopleOps is a natural progression of these teams.
One is sure, Human Resources were the teams that drove the legal, ethical, and structural organization of employees and teams аnd People Operations are the teams who are results-oriented, strategy focused on leadership and management of all operations with people.
And how can these teams benefit from agile methodology? Agile should help People Ops teams to shift their minds to flexibility, responsiveness, and transparency.
But People Ops teams need more people to list values for their agility like:
- Team of the teams over traditional hierarchy;
- Growth mindset over a fixed mindset;
- Coaching culture over command-and-control;
- Transcultural competence over cultural competences.
Agile People Ops at iborn
At iborn there is a ritual on Friday: problem-solving-meeting, where the whole company sits around the table or (hopefully temporarily) around the google meet platform and, each team has the opportunity to share the problems that are currently unresolved and, share the highlights of their project that week. We nurture a shared knowledge culture so for us, this meeting is a chance to see if any of the ibornians have faced the same or similar problem and if they can help or give directions.
In these meetings, the software development, QA, DevOps, and Business Intelligence and Machine Learning teams were always focused on the projects and the phases of the sprint project. They could answer the global changes rapidly and answer the client's needs properly.
On the other hand, People Ops was always talking about executing given tasks. No defined projects. We felt bulky and ponderous to answer the current events.
In one moment the need for change could no longer be ignored.
Тhat was the moments when PeopleOps at iborn started their transformation journey from task-oriented to project-minded.
The aim of this concept was:
- Strategic decisions;
- Long-term impact on the behavior and success;
- Skilled, committed, and well-motivated employees.
Instead of tasks, we started to work on projects and all projects are guided by policies, programs, and practices in direction of archiving the company strategy.
We knew that this is how the next-level PeopleOps team must work. This was our path to become not just some group of people doing tasks, but a team that works according to a particular strategy. We wanted the freedom to solve all the challenges within the team and we took responsibility to solve all the challenges within the team.
We needed to get closer to the IT world where we act daily. That is why we took the best practices the tech teams use, implemented them in our team, and created our People Ops agile methodology.
What have we achieved?
The road to change was not easy, but we finally all have defined the purpose of our existence in the company:
- Everyone knows their projects, level of involvement, and priorities;
- Our work is no longer dependent on daily answers;
- We have defined a place and routine for communication between us;
- We have systematized communication with the management team.
This team was set up to solve the problem with micromanagement. We build company trust through the system for following the project status, budget, activities, responsible and involved employees, timeline and results.
The Agile People Ops team is a journey, not a destination. We still travel. The mission is not accomplished yet, so spaces for improvements are our next goals waiting to become closed projects.