How Agile can (sometimes) kill motivation.

In an Agile world, we believe that our holy grail is self-organized teams (how to get there is a story for another time). That’s cool, because I’m a big fan of this approach. Most of the time they have a lot of seniority and are very mature as a team.

At the same time, an Agile approach is strongly focused on communication and cooperation. From my experience, this is one of the most important factors for project success.

I can see a lot of well-processed cooperation in scrum/kanban/XP teams, which help to solve basic daily issues. People tend to talk more to each other about their concerns, ideas, improvements….

That’s AWSOME, isn’t it ???!!!!

Unfortunately, sometimes I have the impression that amongst all those cool things we forget about other important processes. I think, that we unfortunately tend to forget that Agile, XP, Kanban, are a focused first and foremost on product delivery. This is the main goal at the end of the day, and we shouldn’t lose sight of this.

What about potential HRish things. Do you see in any of above processes something about regular 101 feedback meetings, 360 reviews, personal development, growth, salary/bonus negotiations, performance management, training budgets… Most probably no, but these are crucial and they are normally part of company culture, managerial duties, and HR processes.

Currently, I saw/read about cases that companies change their structure because “they don’t need management, they are self-organised”. At the same time, they don’t have a plan B for how to cover all above issues or don’t have enough capacity to do this properly. Who suffers? The people, and in a long run, the managers and the company itself.

If you (Managers) don’t know about people’s needs and how you’re going to cover their needs and desires, how are you going to handle their growth if you don’t know in which direction they want to go and what they want to achieve?

Furthermore, based on what data will you make decisions about potential bonuses and salary increases?

I don’t want to bitch one more time (see the last post :D), but guys (managers and developers) when was it the last time you had a feedback session between you? Can you quickly go through your people and mention their needs and what they want to achieve in the next 6–12 months?

Guys, please, don’t underestimate the importance of the HRish things. If you do a transformation, have a plan B for how to cover all those topics. And what is the most important, don’t believe that ONLY because you have a great Agile implementation, people will be super motivated. Yes, it’s a big factor, but remember that it’s not the only one.


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Do you want to read more about some other interesting stuff related to management, look HERE

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