How to Decide If Agile Innovation Is Right for Your HR Team

by Michael Haberman on October 25, 2018 · 0 comments


What is agility?

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If your company is looking to adopt agile methodology practices, you’re not alone. Almost a quarter of all IT teams now employ an agile approach at scale, according to a recent Forrester survey.

Agile innovations are appealing, because they empower companies to have a rapid digital makeover, thereby providing them the tools necessary to make better decisions while avoiding being blindsided by digital disruptions.

Case in point: 1 in 5 companies say they have implemented this collaborative effort rapidly, while nearly one in three use it on a limited scale for specific applications, even though they haven’t adopted agility across the board just yet.

But what is agility, exactly? How does it work, and does it work for everyone involved? Before jumping onto the agile bandwagon, here’s some background on what you need to know to help you decide if agile innovation is right for your HR team’s needs.

What Agility Means

Agile innovation is an approach to software development that focuses on optimizing and streamlining collaboration between employees. Often, this methodology is implemented through small continuous improvements and utilizes customer feedback. To achieve this, agile development uses an approach known as “scrum,” which employs small teams of three to nine people.

In particular, a scrum team prioritizes software development innovations that can provide value to the company internally and/or externally. These innovations are pursued by developing project management road maps, then breaking this down into modular tasks assigned to specific employees, with the goal of completing small goals in a short time frame. As software innovations are made, team members resolve disputes through experimentation rather than argumentation, as well as testing prototypes on small groups of customers before rolling them out at scale.

In an HR context, agility can be applied to drive business results through three initiatives. First, HR personnel can divide into smaller groups to tackle specific business issues, with mid-managers leading task forces to develop digital solutions for business problems.

Second, HR leaders and key stakeholders can conduct reviews of how HR digital solutions contribute to the company as a whole and whether these solutions should be adopted. Finally, given HR’s key role in filling open positions, departmental teams can look to develop more efficient digital solutions for spotting and attracting skilled talent. For instance, an HR scrum team might review whether the company could improve its LinkedIn outreach through smarter use of automated tools.

When Agility Works

While agile innovation methods can be extremely useful, they’re certainly not a panacea and tend to work best under certain conditions. An agile approach works best in a market where customer preferences are changing rapidly and customer feedback is available.

Additionally, it’s best suited for complex problems with unknown solutions that require cross-functional collaboration and can be tackled through small, modular steps. Still, experts say an agile approach is safest to implement when a solution under development fails but still provides valuable feedback without risking disruption of operations or customer relations.

On the other hand, an agile approach isn’t designed for stable market situations where customer preferences are already well-known. This methodology is also not intended for solving problems where previous solutions have already made clear progress, or where tasks cannot readily be broken down into modular components. An agile approach should be avoided when a failure in the testing phase can have catastrophic consequences for a company’s workflow or customer interactions.

Tools for Implementing Agility

Successfully implementing an agile methodology also depends on a suitable software infrastructure. One critical element is a project management software solution that enables your agile team’s leader to effectively delegate tasks and track progress. Using project management software lets team leaders see, at a glance, who’s responsible for certain tasks and when work is due, as well as to keep in touch with team members for instructions, reports and answering questions.

Another essential element of an agile infrastructure is having an efficient means for collecting customer feedback. The ideal solution is adopting a cloud contact center solution that enables your customer service team to coordinate feedback from multiple support channels, including live chat, phone and email. This feedback can then be passed on to your agile team for analysis, review and incorporation into software updates.

Creating a Smooth Agile Process

Under the right circumstances, developing an agile methodology can be a highly efficient solution for optimizing your HR department. Using a project management and cloud contact center solution can make your agile implementation smoother by helping you automate the processes of coordinating projects and incorporating customer feedback. With all this in mind, consider these factors when evaluating whether agile innovation is the right call for your company.


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