Hiring for Agile Teams - Part 1

Photo by Phil Beard

Photo by Phil Beard

It seems like the pressures to "fill a hole" can play a large factor in hiring for an agile team, and I've seen what happens when the wrong person gets hired.  That pressure to hire someone can feel like a monkey on your back, but it doesn't go away just because there's a new person.  It's about finding the right person.

Creating an Agile Job Description

Finding the right person starts with posting the right job description.  If you're struggling to get resumes for the candidates you're wanting, then I'd take a look at what you're advertising.  Are you looking for a Scrum Master but saying that he/she must be able to manage budget, risk, and people?  You might not get the skilled facilitators and team builders you desire.  Think about your organization's culture--not just what it is today, but what you want it to be, if you're transitioning--and the key skills needed to be successful in this role.  Who do you need?  What are your must-haves, and what can be taught if someone has the willingness to learn?  I'm often looking for an enthusiastic attitude and a solid understanding of agile and scrum basics because many other things can be learned on the job.

The job description is often a candidate's first impression of your organization--does it sound like you?  Are you a cut and dry organization that sticks to the facts, or are you passionate about your product or your people?  What is it about your job description that inspires someone to apply to be on your team?

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.