As a process for enabling successful software development, the agile method is certainly one of the most effective. The problem lies in hiring the right people, those who are – or may become – true agile developers.
Agile is a different and new way of building software which is highly productive when done right, so what are the main challenges?
To begin with, it should be said that one of the main reasons for a failure with agile development lies with those involved in the organisation of the business. The process requires a wholesale change in approach and attitude if it is to succeed. It’s highly recommended, therefore, that you and your future agile team get the basics right by attending a scrum master course or other training to help you understand the reasons, processes and benefits that come with it.
Back to the challenges of hiring, let’s have a closer look at the most problematic areas.
The Main Challenges for HR
The point of adopting agile development is many-fold, but mainly focuses on the benefits of group-oriented work and brainstorming, as well as increased speed of development. The major problem in hiring agile developers is that to begin working this way, most people are going to have to change the way they work.
Reluctance to Change
In all areas of life, resistance to change – or reluctance to change – is prevalent. If an individual is used to doing something one way you will find the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ attitude prevails, and it can be a massive mental block to the people involved. Whenever the change comes around, many of us question – why change? You have been working or doing the same thing for so long and you know it works, so why would anyone want to change. Should you fix the cart when it is not broken or should you let it plot along?
Also, it can be difficult for software developers – or anyone, in fact – to come to accept that they have not been doing things in the best or most efficient way. A blow to someone’s confidence is not something that will help. The key here is to ensure that the right encouragement is given, this being that in fact there is a very good reason to switch to agile development, and it will benefit both the individual and the business as a whole.
There is also the stumbling block of not recognising the need to move away from traditional tools such as Microsoft Word and Excel when it comes to authoring agile developments. Agile is best coupled with ALM tools for better development of the project, and this is another change that may be resisted, so again, assurance and demonstration that this is the best way to go is essential.
An essential part of the agile way of working is that it involves a number of different elements in terms of personnel. In other words, it is not only developers – as in specific coders – who are vital to the agile technique, but many other people too. Any individual who can contribute to the development of the product, in whatever way, is part of the agile process, and this is an area that can be difficult to implement in terms of HR.
Also, feedback is the be-all and end-all in the world of agile development. The maximisation of feedback between personnel on the team is the central core of the process, with all ideas coming into play from both dedicated developers, and others on the team. Once again, this is a new method of working for many people who may – in a previous role – not have needed to be adept at feedback.
Lastly and agile developer on his own can only get you so far. Agile development is a team game and unless everyone works together and has adopted an Agile mindset, you are constrained from the start.
Recruiting for agile developers is about looking for people who are willing to adapt, and who are happy to change their way of thinking. It also involves personnel being flexible in their outlook, and more than happy to accept that their job is part of a team effort, and not as an individual.