For most organizations, agile is confined to technology development and delivery - but it should not be. As the agile industry matures, innovative companies are taking advantage of the same agile values, principles, and practices that have transformed software development. Now, they are successfully deploying this way-of-work in other business units, from marketing to human resources to finance. When companies implement agile across their entire organization, ways of working improves dramatically. Agile methods are more collaborative, creative, effective, and can be more efficient than other business models. These agile methods such as Scrum, Scrumban, and Kanban are embraced in the Agile Axiom Framework. But companies must first understand why their current business structures needs to change.

Human Resources

Can agile software development principles be applied to the development of human talent? A growing number of HR professionals are exploring the possibilities and looking at ways to manage volatility, enhance adaptability, and strengthen the organization by applying Agile methodologies to their talent-management processes.

Business Drivers for Agile Adoption in Human Resources

  • Improve Predictability and Cohesiveness
    • Collaborate and deliver on promises with "no surprises" in timing or quality.
    • Deliver a cohesive set of products and services across a global employment landscape.
  • Improve Capabilities and Responsiveness
    • Prioritize work to yield the most benefit to stakeholders.
    • Respond quickly to high priorities.
  • Act as "One HR"
    • Align across departments to manage expectations, priorities, decision-making and success.
    • Model collaboration and empowered decision-making to the rest of the organization.

With these goals in mind, agree to embark on a journey to bring Agile practices and tools into the HR Business teams to better manage their products and services. We started by assessing their readiness as an organization to adopt a new set of principles and behaviors in support of Agile. With a clear set of objectives and reasons to experiment with Agile in the business operations, the team made a commitment to undertake an Agile Transformation initiative across both the Business and IT organizations. With goals established, commitment made, and a transformation roadmap in hand, we were ready.

Establishing a Governance Structure to Manage the Focus on Value

The Human Resources organization at Principal is supported by a robust Business Architecture discipline with a well-defined capability map that also includes understanding around how each capability is performing, where there are gaps, and a scoring algorithm to help identify which capability gaps are most in need of attention for various reasons such as size of gap, risk associated with the gap, value to consumers, etc. This advanced view of HR from a Capability perspective makes it easy to identify a governing structure to align with coordinating and managing the work across all the HR departments and supporting IT platforms.

Bringing together departments that aligned around:

  • Talent: The People of the company (finding, hiring, training, developing, coaching).
  • Rewards: The Products of HR offered to the People of the company (compensation packages, benefits, pay and leave).
  • OneHR: The Services of HR that allowed the People to interact with HR (communications, data management, research, etc.).

In conclusion, implement an Agile HR pilot and inspect and adapt.