The meaning of Agile

Topics: Agile, HR, Collaboration

In my previous blog I asked the question whether HR can truly be agile and provided an insight into the key values of agile and the dilemma this poses for my HR team.

The word ‘agile’ seems to be commonly used within the HR profession and beyond at the moment to describe a variety of different circumstances but in the main it seems that it’s being used to reflect organisations that can rapidly adapt to change. However, within Causeway, when we refer to ‘agile’ we mean a method of working.

This method of working relies heavily on team collaboration in which, 20% of allotted time is devoted to team meetings. That equates to 1 day in 5, or for the purposes of agile, which requires organising work into fortnightly ‘sprints’, 2 working days out of 10.

Initial reactions within the business and especially within my team were about ‘finding the time’ to have so many team meetings or interactions. We simply felt that we were ‘all too busy’ to devote 20% of our working time to meet with each other. However, when you sit back and reflect on those initial feelings and reactions, it provides a very strong reason to change and adopt ‘agile’ as a way of working.

Let’s think about this a little more. When was the last time that you had a really good quality conversation with your team over a task or a piece of work? When was the last time that you were able to give or receive really good quality feedback, which was useful?

Let’s be honest here, we are all probably too busy to be able to devote the time to such things. So, conversations within your team about work or feedback to colleagues is often rushed, not thought through and the essence is on getting your message across as quickly as possible so that you can get back to focussing on the task(s) in hand. In many scenarios, conversations within teams just don’t happen resulting in either poor or no communication.

So, what has ‘agile’ brought to those teams, including my own, that are currently working in the new structured way? Well, in two words, it has brought us ‘communication’ and ‘collaboration’, which are two things that are very very important in any high performing workplace culture, such as the one we have in Causeway.

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