How To Implement Agile HR In Your Business! 💁🏻

Doing something from scratch is never easy. Especially when it comes to creating a new HR department, things get complicated — but it was my time to shine!

My mission was to pass a new vision inside a company that never had an HR department. I was accustomed to the “Old HR system” and all of its failures and inflexibilities, so I decided to adopt Agile…to HR!

Well, folks, that was my challenge! So…

🔄 Simplify, Adapt and Move

Agile isn’t just for tech anymore. It’s been climbing its way into other areas and functions, from product development to manufacturing to marketing, and now it’s transforming how companies hire, develop, and manage their people.

Yeah, that’s right… PEOPLE! Shocked?? Read on, and you will understand.

You could say HR is going “agile lite” 🤓 by applying the general principles without adopting all the tools and protocols from the tech world — in other words simplifying the methodology.

It’s a move away from rules and planning-based systems like the Gantt chart, as it promotes a more straightforward and faster model driven by feedback from participants. This new paradigm has taken off in the area of performance management.

Let’s be honest — we all hate the Gantt chart! 😴 It isn’t people oriented and has a considerable level of failure! Just say NO to the old Gantt chart…

The Biggest Changes at PICUS

Well the most significant change was, now we have an HR Department! — Super 😏.

HR touches every aspect and every employee of an organization. Its Agile transformation may be even more extensive than the changes in other functions. PICUS is redesigning their talent practices in the following areas:

  • Performance appraisals,
  • Mentoring,
  • HR as Moderator,
  • Teams.

The saga continues — Applying the process

➡️ Performance appraisals

PICUS is adopting Agile methods in their core operations. We dropped the charade of trying to plan a year or more, how projects would go and when they would end — in other words, we decided to do everything for 1-week sprints, and we apply this method throughout the company.

“In many cases, the first traditional HR practice to go was the annual performance review, along with employee goals that “cascaded” down from business and unit objectives each year. As individuals worked on shorter-term projects of various lengths, often run by different leaders and organized around teams, the notion that performance feedback would come once a year, from one boss, made little sense.” — Peter Cappelli

That’s why we have a needed of more feedback, through the process of five conversations framework
  • Focused on goal setting,
  • Career discussion,
  • Mid-year performance review,
  • Year-end appraisal,
  • Compensation review,
  • Recruiting.
This is achieved through the model of ongoing dialogue and feedback from clients and customers in their assessments.

➡️ Mentoring

PICUS engages a professional — Ricardo Parente — to help all managers give better feedback to our collaborators and, more broadly, to develop internal mentoring capabilities. The idea is that once one experiences good mentoring, one becomes a better mentor. Not everyone is expected to become a great mentor — those in the company who prefer coding to mentor can advance along a technical career track — but mentoring skills are considered central to a managerial career.

The bet is that building employees capabilities and relationships with supervisors will increase engagement and therefore help the company innovate and move faster.

➡️ HR as Moderator

By contrast, in the role of a moderator, HR may pursue sensible, practical ways in which it can help the organization meet the needs of all the stakeholders, moderate the more aggressive tendencies of the managers, and work in a low-profile way to generate a more productive organizational culture.

So at PICUS we practice good HR policies by measurable results and helping avoid PR disasters. Such practices can help a firm win a spot on the list of the best companies.

➡️ Teams

Traditional HR focused on individuals 🙅🏻❌— their goals, their performance, their needs, we decide to change! Now we are organizing our Projects, Sprint by Sprint to management talent systems to becoming more team focused. Groups are creating, executing, and revising their goals and tasks with Scrum— at the team level, at the moment, to adapt quickly to new information as it comes in.

(“Scrum” may be the best-known term in the Agile lexicon. It comes from rugby, where players pack tightly together to restart play.) They are also taking it upon themselves to track their own progress, identify obstacles, assess their leadership, and generate insights about how to improve performance.

“Because feedback flows in all directions on teams, many companies use technology to manage the sheer volume of it. Apps allow supervisors, coworkers, and clients to give one another immediate feedback from wherever they are. Crucially, supervisors can download all the comments later on, when it’s time to do evaluations. In some apps, employees and supervisors can score progress on goals; at least one helps managers analyze conversations on project management platforms like Slack to provide feedback on collaboration”. — Anna Tavis

Trello, we love you!❤️

➡️ Compensation

PICUS has eliminated annual raises for workers. Instead, the company adjusts wages for each job much more frequently, according to research on where market rates are going. Increases can also be allocated when employees take on more-difficult projects or go above and beyond in other ways…
Used to reinforce Agile values such as learning and knowledge sharing, the workers rise in the inner pyramid.

Let’s take for example our Design Opportunity path:

🐣 Junior Designer

For every junior, we have no expectations for you to know everything up-front. Indeed, we recommend that you don’t know. Just come with an open mindset and ready to absorb about all the fantastic information that we will share with you in the upcoming months. Work hard, be patient and results will come.

Key Points:

  • Photoshop/Sketch (If you know Figma, you are hired!😁);
  • Communication;
  • Design collaboration;
  • Wireframing;
  • Problem Thinking;
  • Prototyping.

🐥 Intermediate Designer

This stage is where you already know things work, you can make things look good, clean and beautiful but that’s not enough for you anymore! You want to be able to give your strategic thinking by looking at marketing data and come up with problem-solving solutions!

Key Points:

  • All from above;
  • Business analysis;
  • Design testing;
  • Community activity;
  • Processes improvement/creation.

🐓 Senior Designer:

Ok, now you are a Senior (f*ck yeah!), you have mastered all the things from UI, UX, Data Analysis to Business Strategy. You already have some community presence, and you were an essential piece for the creation of the Agency’s new Creative Process.

How do I progress from here? 😫

Good news! You are a Designer (with D in Caps). Bad news, you are just starting!

In the following weeks, we will be sharing recommendations for how can you improve as Designer and our process behind our work. Stay tuned! 😍

➡️ Recruiting

We track each candidate’s progress in the interview process.

We manually enter people into a Trello board for personal introductions. People who apply to our website will get them.

Our CEO, Ricardo Parente, leads the hiring process. He ensures that everyone gets a response and he speaks with everyone before he or she is hired.

Anyone can do an initial review of the candidate’s application. In particular, they review the candidate’s code sample or portfolio. If necessary, they may ask someone else (like a designer or developer) for another pair of eyes on the code or portfolio.

We either send them a rejection or an email based on this template, moving them to the “Non-Technical Interview”.

Check out our Playbook to know more details! Here’s the link

🎉 Onboarding

Onboarding is more than just a new hire orientation. Onboarding is a process. Orientation is an event — the first step in the onboarding process. The orientation step allows you to collect all relevant human resources, payroll and benefits forms.

The onboarding process helps you to develop a happy contributor. Onboarding conveys your organizational brand and values, explains your people and professional culture, aligns institutional expectations and performance and provides the tools for the employee to successfully assimilate into his or her position with a quicker ramp-up to productivity.

A sound onboarding process spans 1–2 years and includes constant communication, feedback, and performance measurement — all keys to employee longevity and loyalty. Onboarding follows the employee lifecycle for mentoring and development and provides automation for consistent and timely tracking of onboarding events. Seamlessly transitioning the candidate through the new hire and onboarding experience, then into the performance management process matriculates the new employee and ensures success.

😢 Offboarding

When we say goodbye to employees, we want to make sure the process is as efficient as possible so both sides won’t waste time by repeating or delaying tasks. Our offboarding checklist is very comprehensive.

Legal matters — termination of employment under the law:

  • Creating a legal basis for dismissal;
  • Creating a termination letter;
  • Exit interview.


  • Issuing a certificate of employment;
  • Settling the remaining paid leave;
  • Putting back personal documents;
  • Settlement of hardware.

Access privileges:

  • Revoking access privileges to tools.
Saying farewell is never easy, but we appreciate all the effort and time that he or she spends with us. So we have created a Thank you gift — because people matter.

Finally, I would like to summarize this chapter — What is HR goes Agile at PICUS? 👩‍🎓

It’s an ongoing, flexible and capable process to adapt to all situations that may exist.

Connected not only to an individual but to the team as the core. Together, we overcome obstacles. By using more EQ, we managed to have a beautiful result in which the team feels confident to deliver unique solutions for each project. By giving the team freedom to express and have the autonomy to solve their problems makes the group more united.

Through this new process, HR reaches all fields of PICUS by adding value to its employees and customers.

Of course, since it is a process that meets the needs of PICUS, there is a constant change and evolution. That’s what Agile stands for.

Well, folks, that is all for now! However, if you want to exchange ideas, or if you have doubts we’re available at

PICUS is a consulting company of designers and developers that partners with you to create great products for web and mobile. You can follow our work on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

See you soon! 😘