What are the principles of Agile for HR methodology?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 22 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Agile methodology is a set of principles and practices that help organisations adapt to change. It can help teams work in an iterative, incremental way, allowing them to deliver results both quickly and efficiently. Using the Agile methodology can provide you with several benefits, such as reducing the amount of time it takes to train new hires. In this article, we look at what Agile for HR methodology is and what its principles are with a list of tips for applying it.

What is Agile for HR?

Agile for HR is a method of working that focuses on building products in short development cycles. It emphasises collaboration, responsiveness to change and customer satisfaction. The method was originally a tool for software development, but various other industries have since adopted it due to its effectiveness. Agile is a management framework that lets you organise your work into small batches and deliver it frequently. HR can use the Agile methodology to create an environment that empowers employees enough for them to take ownership of their work, helping them feel confident enough to make any necessary changes quickly.

Related: The 6 Agile methodology steps for project management

What are the principles of Agile HR?

Here's a list of Agile principles for HR:

1. Focus on outcomes and value, rather than the process

The Agile methodology is a way of organising and managing a project that focuses on getting results quickly by improving the processes. HR can use this methodology to focus on outcomes and value rather than the process by looking at what they want to accomplish and then developing a plan for how to achieve it. The first step is to identify the goals of your initiative. From there, you can break down those goals into more achievable steps, for example, your goal might be to reduce turnover by 10%. For this, you may focus on improving onboarding for new employees.

Related: How a work buddy can help with onboarding new employees

2. Deliver continuous value to customers

The Agile methodology is a way for HR to work with customers to deliver continuous value by prioritising and delivering value in small chunks. This is because there are three phases, backlog, sprints and retrospectives. In the backlog phase, you identify which tasks to do and where they fit in the overall product roadmap. During this phase, you may also include some rough estimates for each task. In the sprint phase, you work on the tasks one at a time until they're complete. Finally, you have a retrospective meeting where everyone talks about what went well and what needs improvement.

Related: What is continuous delivery? (With definition and benefits)

3. Build projects around motivated individuals

The Agile methodology is a way of building projects around motivated individuals by employing incremental, iterative processes and emphasising communication and collaboration with each team member. This is because it focuses on the people who are doing the work, rather than on managers or executives whose main role is to coordinate the whole project. This means that all members of a project team have an equal amount of power and influence over how to complete a task. This is helpful for HR professionals because it means they can focus on helping their teams solve problems rather than following orders.

Related: Motivated employees benefits and how to increase motivation

4. Enable sustainable pace

The Agile methodology is particularly useful for allowing HR to enable a sustainable pace as it allows for more flexibility in managing staff. Agile projects take place over shorter periods, with regular reviews that allow teams to make changes as necessary. This makes it easier for HR departments to change their approach when it becomes clear that they require more or less staff. The Agile methodology relies heavily on feedback from the team and customers, so if one of these groups indicates that they need more or fewer resources, the project manager can take this into account for similar projects.

Related: What's pace-setting leadership? Advantages and disadvantages

5. Respond to change by following a plan

The Agile methodology helps HR respond to change by following a plan because it allows them to make small, incremental changes when necessary to stay flexible. It involves creating a backlog of tasks, prioritising them based on their importance and overall impact and then implementing those tasks in order of importance. For example, if an HR manager wants to change the company's benefits policy, they can create a backlog of all possible changes that they can make to the benefits policy, prioritise them based on their importance and overall impact and then implement those tasks in the order of importance.

6. Welcome changing requirements, even if they come late in development

The Agile methodology has several advantages that can help HR welcome changing requirements. This is because it emphasises communication, which means that the team knows what's going on from the beginning and can react to change if necessary. It also involves frequent feedback from clients, so that the team can adjust its goals as necessary. There are two main ways to handle this in an Agile environment, collaboration and iteration. Collaboration means that everyone on the team works together to solve problems and make decisions, while iteration means that they make changes throughout a period of development, rather than implementing them all at once.

7. Gather real-time feedback from customers and stakeholders

One way that the Agile methodology can help HR gather real-time feedback is by using it to facilitate meetings. For example, instead of having a meeting where you ask people to comment on a presentation or report, you could use the Agile methodology to enable them to give their feedback as they're watching the presentation or reading the report. Customers or shareholders may use a clicker that allows them to respond with yes or no answers, or by having them write down their responses on paper.

Tips for how to apply Agile to HR

Here's a list of five tips that HR staff can use when applying the Agile methodology to their work:

Set up a Scrum board and use it to track progress on each project

Setting up a Scrum board and using it to track progress on each project is the primary step in applying the Agile methodology. This is because it allows HR staff to see exactly what's going on with each project and how it's progressing without having to do any extra work. It also helps HR staff keep track of all their projects so that they can make sure that there won't be any clashes between different projects as this can cause delays in delivering that project to customers.

Ensure your team has the resources they need for success

When HR staff can provide their teams with the resources they need, including training and coaching, it helps improve their overall efficiency. This is especially important when it comes to understanding how each team member contributes to the overall goal of the project or initiative. This can create an environment of trust and helps streamline how the team subsequently delivers projects to customers.

Facilitate regular communication with everyone involved in the project

Facilitating regular communication with everyone involved in a project can help HR staff apply the Agile methodology. This is because it allows employees to better understand what the company expects of them. If the HR staff isn't regularly communicating with everyone involved in a project, they may not be aware of changes in direction or a need for further resources that arise from the team. They may also be unaware if any issues need addressing, which can cause delays or other avoidable problems that can strain an organisation's relationship with customers.

Be flexible to changes in scope, schedule or resources

Being flexible to changes in scope, schedule or resources can help employees apply the Agile methodology. This is because they become able to adapt to the needs of their employees and the company as a whole. A core tenet of Agile methodology is the idea that people want to involve themselves in their work, so when you're trying to make changes to a process or product, consider your employees' reactions. By being flexible, you allow employees to make changes that can facilitate their ways of working.

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