Agile in Human Resources: Is That Possible?

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I recently had the great pleasure to interview Israel Alcázar from Madrid, Spain.

Israel co-founded a consulting company, Thinking With You, many years ago that helps companies with Agile transformations. Besides being and entrepreneur Israel has been very active in the Agile Spain community. His current passion is to help companies to redesign themselves keeping humans at the center.

Israel started by commenting that digital transformations involve people and typically Human Resources Departments are the ones that know more about people in organizations. He added that HR is transversal to the whole organization and has an extended reach.

In his experience Agile transformations traditionally start in technical departments but not in HR, however, very large organizations have considerable and consolidated HR departments. Israel believes that is important to transform HR to Agile so this department can be a champion that promotes Agility to the whole organization.

Typical HR departments have practices like job ladders, recruitment, salary reviews, and pre-designed training programs; those practices would need to change to be more aligned to Agility. Israel pointed out that these days he and his company are receiving more and more calls from HR departments that require help with their own Agile transformations.

According to Israel, an organization’s Agile transformation can not exclude HR — actually no department should be left our if the Agile transformation aims to create deeper and lasting results.

Israel told the story of a client of his, a banking industry service provider, that has made great progress by having HR lead an Agile transformation that put the client at the center of product value creation. Curiously HR, instead of developers or upper managers, has lead the transformation by adopting Agile principles and practices itself and later propagating these to the whole organization.

In closing, Israel presented a reflection: If a department wants to promote Agile to the whole organization, first it has to embrace and make it work for itself so the employees of that department will become the internal change agents that will propagate Agile.

About the Author

Juan se especializa en entrenar, mentorear y hacer coaching de equipos Agiles para que en corto tiempo puedan alcanzar resultados asombrosos. Juan es también un agente de cambio que ayuda a que empresas completas vuelquen sus prácticas hacia formas más humanas de trabajo. Juan es un Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) y LeSS Friendly Scrum Trainer. Su formación universitaria incluye un grado de Magister en Administración de Sistemas de Información conferido por The University of Illinois at Chicago.

This is an Agile Alliance community blog post. Opinions represented are personal and belong solely to the author. They do not represent opinion or policy of Agile Alliance.