At a few recent HR and learning events, the concept of agile HR and agile learning came up quite a few times. I also in the grapevine got the impression that not everyone understood what it meant or is very clear on it’s origins etc., but nobody asked the question…
Agile project management originated in software development, where feature requests are often plentiful and could easily derail a project. Often a hierarchical project decision making structure hampered zoning in on what was important and what should/could be done. The team at the cold face, doing the development is often best placed to discuss workload, whilst maybe other teams interacting with customers can filter feature priorities. By being fully transparent and working in sprints, the teams decide what needs they need to get done in a daily scrum typically under the guidance of a scrum master, who can double as project manager. The focus can change based on what is most important and sprints allow for nimble changing of focus and short term delivery of key items.
In terms of HR and learning, the key is that small teams work on specific projects and the team has full responsibility and authority to get the job done. A daily short meeting decides on priorities and the content to be worked on. Transparency is key to keep on track.
A group of HR professionals even put together an agile HR manifesto, you can become a signatory to the manifesto on their site. Here is the core manifesto:
an engaging workplace culture by doing it and helping others do it
Through this work we have come to value:
Collaborative networks over hierarchical structures
Transparency over secrecy
Adaptability over prescriptiveness
Inspiration and engagement over management and retention
Intrinsic motivation over extrinsic rewards
Ambition over obligation
That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.
Personally, I believe it is a great way of working and getting more items done and delivered in a manner where everyone can thrive. In my book “Tapping into the crowd” I mention most of these elements and how you can implement them in organisations.
What have you used in your organisation to make your HR and learning teams more agile and responsive to business needs?