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How Agile are you really?

Agile isn’t a new concept. In fact, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, it emerged as a methodology in 2001, making it nearly 15 years old. However, something that is relatively new is the high volume of candidates that are now actively seeking out Agile employers over those that aren’t.

Employer Challenge

As Agile is now a major selling point for organisations, many companies are falling into the trap of overselling their ‘agility’ in an attempt to attract the best talent. For example, although an organisation may include stand-up meetings in the development process, this doesn’t mean that the greater methodology is a fundamental part of the business. This situation often results in an unsatisfactory situation for all parties, with wasted time interviewing candidates that are unlikely to consider an offer, or worse, hiring the wrong people who quickly realise their mistake and leave.

 

Agile Isn’t Everything

Whilst it may appear that all the best candidates are actively seeking employers who practice Agile, our observations suggest that only around 40% of all candidates have a definite preference for this, and 20% actually explicitly prefer to work in organisations that are more traditional in their development approach.

Therefore, as an employer, rather than trying to masquerade your environment as Agile, it is better to ensure your employment branding accurately represents your business’ true development methodology. If you’re unsure exactly how your environment stacks up against other technology employers, this great article by technology strategy expert Mark Richman describes what he believes are the six levels of Agile Maturity. These scale from individual Agile maturity, to Agile maturity across the whole enterprise. The most advanced stage is where a completely aligned and autonomous set of teams and departments are fully Agile.

 

Candidate Challenges

The other side of this situation is the candidate challenge. We regularly meet candidates who are looking to join an organisation with a highly Agile environment. Often, however, even though Agile is well represented on their CV, they will struggle with relatively basic questions, such as: what MVP approach have you used?

 

This is largely an additional consequence of companies overselling their Agile nature. Employees in these organisations are unintentionally led to believe they are working to Agile, when they are often only given exposure to parts of it. Therefore, as a candidate, if you wish for your next move to be into a company that is heavily Agile orientated, it is important to verify your existing skills in comparison with others in the market. A good way to do this is to review LinkedIn profiles of other professionals who have strong Agile exposure.

 

If your skills need improving, it is possible to up-skill yourself in Agile. There are plenty of courses you can take to get acquainted with the methodology, such as this one from Udemy. For those with a little more experience it might be valuable to pursue more advanced learning, such as becoming a certified ScrumMaster.

 

Another way to up-skill is to attend some of the many local MeetUp groups focused on Agile. This way you get to informally meet others with shared interests, which adds to your subject area expertise and can also generate interesting leads.

 

Summary

In conclusion, for employers, although the implementation of a methodology is an attraction for many candidates – and can be a fundamental building block for the success of your business – choosing the methodology that fits your organisation best and committing to it is far more important.

 

Being an Agile imposter just to attract a certain type of candidate is only going to make your business inefficient, and your target candidates unhappy. Instead, be specific about the methodology that the candidate will realistically be working with. No matter what methodology you have, we can find candidates that will be a good fit, so please feel free to get in touch to discuss your business needs.

 

For candidates, development methodology is an important consideration, but there are many other factors that will influence whether a specific company is a good fit for you, like company culture, the projects they are working on and the focus going forward. Please get in touch if you would like help deciding which companies are likely to best fit your own personal situation.

 

 

 

 

 

Clare O'Sullivan

Clare O'Sullivan | Manager Technology

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