A Note To HR
Human Resources (HR) or as I prefer to call it, People Operations (HR) are constantly in the midst of organizational change management activities which are moving at lighting speed. The Agile framework of iterative processes and collaboration can provide a consistent approach for People Operations (HR) to improve productivity, increase execution velocity and deliver more organizational value.
WHY SHOULD PEOPLE OPERATIONS (HR) CARE?
Now more than ever, People Operations (HR) has to provide organizational change management leadership in more ways than one. People Operations (HR) must possess the ability to influence and upset the equilibrium to transform and drive the execution of organizational change management initiatives.
A variety of tools, processes and structures are helping build change capabilities e.g. Lean Sigma, Kotter’s 8 Step Process, Change Acceleration Process, Prosci, etc. These frameworks and structures are extremely robust and follow a linear approach, while the Agile framework is holistic and adaptable. The framework is well suited for People Operations(HR) because it provides a common language, role clarity, and a point of accountability, but is not without its own limitations as a framework and process.
The good news is that the Agile framework is easy to understand. The challenging part is that transforming to an Agile mindset can be hard to achieve, but not impossible. Why? Because Agile requires the organization to shift its thinking from standard management practices of command and control to a new way of thinking about how to manage rapid organizational change. Standard management practices of command and control, while very effective as a management practice may no longer have the ability to create nimbleness, agility, and a keen sense of urgency needed to manage rapid and unpredictable organizational change. The goal for People Operations (HR) is to improve effectiveness, organizational productivity, and deliver value-added services to the organization.
OVERVIEW OF THE AGILE FRAMEWORK AND PROCESS
The Agile Manifesto (2001) Beck, K., et al. 2001, state the purpose of Agile is:
• Individuals and interactions over process and tools.
• Working software over comprehensive documentation.
• Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
• Responding to change over following a plan.
You can substitute software for your area of practice, e.g. Human Resources, etc.
• Process Owner (PO) is the single point of contact.
• Responsible for deliverables and defines Definition of Done (DOD) for the project and is accountable for maximizing ROI.
• Scrum Master (SM) is there to coach, teach and to help the team learn to achieve business value. They are not a team leader, project manager, or team member.
• Teams are self-forming, comprised of 3 to 9 members, multidisciplinary to leverage talent and knowledge and members are 100% dedicated to the project.
• (1 to 2-hour time box) meetings occur first to generate the sprint backlog that focuses on the customer centric requirements and prioritizes the value to the client as defined by the Process Owner. The backlog represents the needs, prioritized by the team in rank order. The team breaks down big tasks into workable modules for the sprint that can last from one to four weeks depending on the scope of the project.
(15-minute time box) drives team collaboration and is used for updates on strategy or work activities. Three questions are asked at each daily scrum:
• What did you do yesterday?
• What are your plans for today?
• What are your impediments?
• The team presents the completed work modules to the Process Owner.
• Enables the team to ask questions of the Process Owner for clarity and alignment.
• The Process Owner can add, delete, or reprioritize work.
• Process Owner will let the team know if the completed work meets their Definition of Done.
• Team reviews the sprint backlog, reprioritizes, and updates the sprint burn down chart.
• Allows the Process Owner and invited stakeholders to learn what is going on with the project, offer advice and so forth. The goal of each sprint is to increase the velocity of completing tasks and work modules of the project.
• The team discusses what is working, what isn’t working with the process and generates new solutions to improve the workflow.
The Agile framework is a continuous loop of feedback that allows you to make real-time adjustments to meet the demands of fast-moving organizational change management initiatives. Adoption and utilization of Agile can translate into improved productivity, higher profits, improved customer satisfaction and shareholder contentment.
Literature on the impact of the Agile framework and process on People Operations (HR) is growing rapidly. People Operations (HR) is challenged with proving and providing business value at all times. Old problems require new approaches to organizational issues which require immediate and effective solutions.
People Operations (HR) organizational change management initiatives should be viewed in the vain of new product development for the organization. The Agile framework is built on that very premise (software development) to increase your productivity, meet your deadlines and leverage multidisciplinary teams.
Agile should be a part of your People Operations (HR) toolbox especially if you are not currently delivering value, efficiency and productivity with your organizational change management initiatives. The relentless drive to increase efficiencies and productivity in People Operations (HR) requires a reset in your approach and a significant shift out of your comfort zone, because the time is now to add new tools to your toolbox.