Agile Benefits for HR

I’m creating a course for programmers and a presentation on agile project management. I’m creating slide decks from scratch, as I want to reflect changes in the field as well as my changed insights. As part of the presentations, I’m starting of with benefits, as in, what can participants do with the material.

There has been a lot of debate (and I saw many session proposals around the topic) on Selling Agile. I believe it is best to sell as little as possible; make agile easy to buy by focusing on benefits and specific situations. Focusing on practices and how agile is different from other approaches works less well.

Working on projects, and going to conferences I heard many, many benefits, so the problem is not whether there are benefits, but more how to condense them, and make them specific to a particular audience. Marc Evers suggested storytelling, Nynke Fokma came up with making benefits for a particular role (e.g. an HR manager or executive).

I’ve just started a mind-map to work out the benefits per role for myself. Here’s what I came up with for an HR manager (I’ve abbreviated HR, as I find applying the word resource to describe people to be old-fashioned).

Some Benefits of Agile for HR managers

  • Less sick days
  • Higher staff retention
  • Easier hiring
  • Higher employee satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is what it boils down to, really. People in a well running agile team are happier, because they are more productive, work with less interruptions, have good rapport with customers and management and generally feel they have a place they belong (remember the theme from Cheers?).

This results in less sick days (some people report a fifty percent decrease in sick days). As for hiring and retention, I asked a friend of mine why agile doesn’t spread in his organisation, while his group is growing every year. He said:

People don’t leave, because they enjoy working here so much, and as they tell others, others come to apply for a spot here as well.

If a team or group functions like that, hiring and retention almost become a non-problem.

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