Week 12 Update

 

When you take a road trip, you plan out your stops, stays and side trips. You maybe plan too many activities or you pack the car a little too full.  You get better at road trips the more you take them. You figure out who you want in the car with you, who should navigate and who is better at planning the meals.  

As the first HR Agile team, we set out for a road trip of our own in some ways.  We got better at planning our work. We figured out who had what strengths. We didn't get lost as much.  When we took side trips, we knew why. 

Now, we are unpacking our bags and setting out for our own adventures; better prepared, better equipped, and far more agile. For this, we are eternally grateful.  We reached our destination, just a little sooner than we planned.

 

Our team is an example of a new paradigm pushing the limits of traditional business models. We have been navigating this new territory for weeks.  How do we recreate a process seeped in tradition and relationships? How do we work faster and adapt to changes quickly?  How do we influence teams to switch gears and adjust to new ideas, strategy, focus and direction?   

We've answered these questions with a question: "why not try?"  We've adopted new ways of looking at HR and clearly see and know how Agile methodologies can transform the industry.  This doesn't mean we haven't encountered speed bumps. We've shared our realities - we work with people, we need a simplified technology to visualize work and collaborate, Sprints are too confining but we also need structure.  

As we shared in our last update, Week 11 was all about re-prioritizing our work. We were in good shape!  Product testing on our 1st Release was underway and Release 2 plans were moving forward. Scrumban was our everyday normal.  Our groomed backlog was ready to go, we had a retrospective under our belts and momentum was building as curious customers came forward to ask more about our products.

And just like that, an unexpected ending. This week we learned that our HR Agile team will be re-deployed and with that, we will each shift to navigate new adventures. Over the next few months, we are focusing our energy on capturing everything we've learned, gathering our recommendations and asking ourselves how we'll infuse Agile in to our future work.

 

A note to our support team, leaders, and cheerleaders: 

Thank you for this opportunity to be a pilot in a pilotWe tested and we learned a great deal. Some of you are still with us and some of you have left the company. We hope you are reading this and have learned from our journey as much as we have learned from it.  Your support gave us the confidence to shoot for the starsYour challenge gave us the courage to tackle work in new ways. We learned, grew, and saw success in ways we wouldn't have, had we not felt you had our back. We are grateful for this experience and wouldn't trade it for anything.

To our fabulous 'customers':

Thank you for your encouragement, enthusiasm, commitment, and for testing our products!  Thanks for coming to visit our office and asking about our work.  We can't thank you enough for giving us the push that we needed at some key times in our work.  Keep iterating on our work. Play with new ideas, test and learn. Keep what you want alive and throw the rest out! 

A note to our coach, Doc List

Where to beginYou stood us up, you gave us the nudge forward and when we fell you taught us how to pick ourselves back up. Soon we ran, maybe even sooner than we thought we would, thanks to your easy going way of teaching. You allowed us to be us.  You were there, cheering us on, giving us words of wisdom and encouragement when we needed it most. We could not have done this without you by our side. You are our teacher, trusted advisor, our friend, our crazy father at times, and we love you for all of the roles you played. Thank you from the bottom of our heartsWe hope that we will always be a part of your hearts as you are in ours.

 

OUR WINS:

Coming up with ideas to flip hiring on its head

Learning a new way of working

Taking risks 

"Ocelots for life!" 

(**Ocelots was our internal scrum team name)

 

 

WHAT WE LEARNED:

The hiring process is old and stale and needs a transformation

Agile does work in HR

Stay focused and deliver work in times of change

Trust not only speeds up a team, it allows a safe space to nurture fresh thinking

 

 

A note from each Ocelot team member ...

Ashley - This assignment was so much more than a project.  It was a new way of learning, of doing, of implementing work, of delivering results.  This is an example of Gap Inc at it's very best:  innovative, risk-taking, cutting edge.  We did that and more with this HR AGILE team.  I am forever changed not only because of the way we learned to work, but because of these ladies:  Erica, Laura, Kaitlin, and Tannis - brilliant, confident, funny women.  We learned, laughed, cried, worked hard, and produced some game-changing outcomes.  No one else out there has been given the chance to flip recruiting on its head - we did that.  I am a better leader and person because of this experience.  Thank you Gap Inc and team for that.

Erica - I accepted this assignment knowing the risks and hoping the rewards would outweigh the risks.  They did. To say that I am grateful for this experience would be an understatement. What our team built and experienced is something that has forever changed who I am as a person. I am so proud of what we accomplished in our short time together.  I became WE.  We became a team, we came up with new ways of working and big ideas, we delivered great work in a quick and iterative way, we gave it everything we had.  We learned everyday - we grew - we saw ourselves in each other - we made connections for life - we learned Agile does work in HR.  Thank you Ocelots! Thank you Gap Inc.!

Kaitlin - All of my work with Gap Inc. has been navigating uncharted waters. This time, it wasn't just new for Gap Inc., it was unexplored territory in the discipline of HR. The praise and interest we received externally reinforced what we felt in our room every day: this work had the capacity to be game changing. For me, it was always about more than learning Agile. I learned what it feels like to be a part of a true high-performing team. I got to learn from Ashley, Erica, Laura, Tannis and Tanya - bright, kind, diverse, thriving women - while designing and delivering work with pride. I learned as much about organizational health as my own: how one can deliver success effectively, cope adequately, change appropriately, and grow from within.  It ended too quickly, and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. I'm left with deep gratitude for this opportunity and who it's made me. 

Laura -  It's very unlike me to make a career decision in a few hours, but when I was presented this opportunity, I couldn't pass it up.  My challenge was to do something unique in Agile - be a hybrid team member or 50% dedicated.  I will never regret the attempt.  And even though I was away from the Agile team a few hours of every day, I have learned more in 12 weeks than I could ever absorb and apply in years. I know I will never approach work the same way and I'm a better person and teammate for taking this chance.  We created something special, we created a team which threw out crazy ideas, pushed out work FAST and helped each other navigate life, while laughing a little bit along the way.  Our connections will remain as we explore new roles and for this, and so much more, I am truly grateful.  My efforts to divide my work would not have been possible without complete trust and support from both of my teams - Talent Tech Solutions, you were my home base and Ocelots you allowed me to fly - you create my 50/50 balance. THANK YOU!!! 

Tannis - Coming from a marketing background where being nimble and forward thinking was deeply ingrained in the work, I was drawn to the opportunity to be on this team and learn how to implement Agile in an non-software development team. It was a new challenge, not only for me personally, but a new challenge in the industry. Is it possible to work in a more efficient way? To deliver on priorities faster, and pivot to new projects seamlessly? As someone who lovesolving problems, and improving processes... was incredibly excited abouworking on this pilot team. I am so grateful to have learned agile and worked with this team, and know that the way that I work, and the way that I lead, will forever be better for having been a part of this. You don't often get offered the opportunity to step out of the norm... but once you do... it's hard to imagine ever going back. 

Week 11 Update

Vacation: Much needed. Much appreciated. But when you work on an Agile team, how do you prepare for your Product Owner (the person who sets priority and clarifies the parameters of the work) to be gone for a week?

Clarity like you've never had before.

 

We set aside time the week before to do what we really should whenever we enter a new release or when we are just feeling like we need more clarity: groom that backlog! Grooming the backlog consists of:

  • creating new user stories in response to newly discovered needs
  • re-assessing the relative priority of stories
  • assigning estimates to stories which have yet to receive one
  • correcting estimates in light of newly discovered information
  • splitting user stories which are high priority but too coarse grained to fit in an upcoming iteration

The purpose of a "grooming" meeting is to ensure that the backlog contains cards that are relevant, detailed, estimated, and prioritized. We shined up that old backlog, brainstormed new ideas, identified areas we needed more organization/documentation and created solutions for those issues. 

We also made time for a retrospective. There is always opportunity to improve and there is usually something that at least one teammate is waiting for a retrospective to talk about. We were proud to see that we've moved away from the Gap Inc. norm of focusing on the positive and pushing down the controversial. We're a high-performing, full trust, transparent team and that has made it safe to talk about things that aren't working. 

Week 11 Retrospective

Week 11 Retrospective

 

OUR WINNING: We are truly finding the flow of working in Agile. Daily standups are a sacred practice. No emails - put it ALL in the card. We don't have to Google, discuss process, or "phone a friend" to have a wonderfully effective grooming meeting. We have shifted the majority of our headspace from learning process to a focus on project.

It's like learning to ride a bike. Once you are up and riding confidently, you can finally focus on the road. 

OUR LEARNING: Agile in HR? It works. 

 

Week 10 Update

Continuously Inspect & Adapt
“Inspect and Adapt” is a slogan used by the Scrum community to capture the idea of discovering over the course of a project emergent requirements and ways to improve the overall performance of the team. It neatly captures the both the concept of empirical knowledge acquisition and feedback-loop-driven learning.

We will say it over and over again…you have to meet your customer where they are, then find ways to make their lives easier.  

We spent week 10 reflecting on why our work is tougher to get adoption on than a technology product/project.   We know we aren’t creating tangible products for hiring; we are creating experiences through our hiring process.  This does mean our product is much more malleable due to customers having different pain points, experiences and viewpoints of how something should work. 

We thought this would be a great time to inspect our work from all vantage points in hopes to learn and adapt.

·        Our Customer 

o   Candidates – we wanted to hear from our recent hires into GID/Gap Tech in order to learn more about their hiring experience; what they found enjoyable and where they would like to see improvements.  (survey results coming soon)

o   Hiring Managers, Recruiters, and Coordinators – we wanted to better understand what value they would place on our roadmap product features so that we can adapt our work appropriately to their current and highest value-add need.  (survey results coming soon)

·        Our Products: Testing & Measuring
Testing and measuring our work is an essential part of our process. The only way to adapt and add value is to capture data so that we (our team and our customers) can make more informed and better decisionsWe are capturing baseline data for our outlined measurements below.

o   Pre-Screening/Matching Questions (Release 1)

§  What we are testing: Currently testing role-specific questions within 2 job requisitions as part of the application process, every candidate answers the same set of questions.

§  What we are measuring:  Time it takes to screen for top candidates by Recruiter and determine if the pre-assessment questions bringing better quality candidates in for interviews.

o   Coffee Chat (Release 1)

§  What we are testing: Bring candidates in for a 1 hour casual conversation to assess for fit. Make an offer to your top candidate the same day.

§  What we are measuring:  The amount of time and number of interviews saved by doing coffee chats instead of interviews.  Candidate and Hiring Manager experience levels improve from the process being shorter and not as formal.  Are coffee chats producing better quality candidates. 

o   Transparency Tool (Release 2)

§  What are we testing: Driving clearer communications along the hiring journey between hiring managers and recruiters.

§  What we are measuring: Cutting the amount of time and emails that occur between a Recruiting team and the Hiring Manager/HRGs.  By building trust and between the Hiring Manager and Recruiter we will speed up the process and drive more accountability for all involved.

·        Ourselves:

o   As a team we completed the Agility Health Radar team assessment offered by Agile Transformation.  This gave us a good baseline on the areas that we could improve on and celebrate. (see below results)

§  Areas for Improvement: Clarity & Performance

§  Areas to Celebrate: Foundation, Culture & Leadership

o   As a team we each completed and share our career maps along with what we have learned about ourselves and how this assignment will mold us for future jobs in our career map.

o   Just as we learn about our customer, we also have learned about ourselves and how we each uniquely add value to this team. 

WINNING:  

We are getting calls from different teams and people who want to learn more about what we are doing, want to test some of our products.  They are ready for a new and easier way!  It has been super validating to hear from people all across HR and the business that they are truly excited by our hiring ideas.  

LEARNING:  

We're an Agile project experiment, pilot, experience, test – call it what you want, but we are people trying to change the way people are working to make things better for people. That is a whole lot of variables.  You can show a customer a new and easier way, but only the customer can choose to change their mindset, their routines, their ways.  We inspect that.  We adapt for that.  We respect that.

Week 9 Update

 

Second Product Review Meeting

At the end of every production execution, our team holds a Product Review Meeting to demonstrate working product increment to everyone who is interested. This is a live demonstration where work can be classified as 'done', and new ideas can be incorporated into the backlog. This meeting is our stakeholders opportunity to inspect products as they emerge, and refine everyone's understanding of the work that is taking place. 

We had 5 stakeholders join us in the room and 3-5 attend via dial-in. We presented out four main products that are currently in testing:

Questions that are added to the job application that help screen candidates for required experience and/or skills. 

Candidate Matching Questions

 

Bringing candidates in for a 30-60 minute conversation over coffee to assess fit for role in lieu of a formal interview. Resources available here (contact us if you would like the password to access)

Coffee Chats

 

Partnering with Loss Prevention and our vendor to test screen a true 3-day SLA. 

Expedited Background Screens

 

 

An online tool that allowed recruiters & hiring managers to communicate and review progress of job candidates

Transparency Tool

 

 

We will continue to hold review meetings every 2 weeks.
15 minutes max. Stand up style. All questions welcome. 

 

A note from the team:

As with any new adventure, there comes a moment when it gets real.  You can reminisce, become frustrated and throw up your hands, or continue your journey.  This week was our reality check.  

The simple truth is that we work in Human Resources; at a retail giant.  It is difficult being one of the first to pilot Agile in a non-tech team. It is easy for people to be skeptical, and question how exactly a software development workflow makes sense in HR. We ourselves, have each gone through moments of skepticism. But we work in the cut-throat world of retail, where one misstep in trend can make or break your year. Where being 'rapid and flexible in response' is absolutely necessary to maintaining a competitive advantage. 

 

 

 

 

Why wouldn't we try and work in the most nimble and results-driven way possible? 


 


 

 

As we find our flow, it is becoming clear how transformative working in Scrumban,  in a self-organizing, cross-functional team can be. Improving our hiring processes is not going to be easy. It is an uphill battle trying to bring in the hottest tech talent to a retail company, especially when we are surrounded by the Silicon Valley and our neighboring buildings are Google, Amazon and Salesforce.

As we each faced this reality, we shared, discussed and supported each other through “our moments”.  And with help from our Agile Coach (thanks Doc!), we turned the mirror back to ourselves and reflected on our journey the last 9 weeks.  The truth - we have grown and changed, individually and as team.  We work differently and we will never approach work the same way again.  And we know Agile can transform work outside of the tech world.  

Now we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and move forward with our work because our reality is more than an idea or notion, it is transformative.


Our Wins
Developed a basis of measuring Release #1. Prototyped coffee chats.
Planned Release #2. Rocked our second product review!

 

Our Learning
We can still have fun while having a bad day :).  We believe in our work. 

A weekly timeline of our work since our team came together in March 2015. 

A weekly timeline of our work since our team came together in March 2015. 

Week 8 Update

Last week Sally & Trisha from our consulting company, Agile Transformation, came for a visit. Agile Transformation helps companies implement Agile methodology in their business units and plan for how to scale across the company. When we first considered how Agile could be used in HR, it was difficult to find anyone who was using it outside of software development and IT functions. Agile Transformation was the first consulting company who excited about implementing Agile in HR, and had experience working with groups outside of the tech bubble. 

The most inspiring takeaway for us was to hear that we've learned, grown, and bonded extremely quickly compared to other Agile teams. They're incredibly excited to learn about the work and see how much has been done in a short period of time as we learned a completely new way of working.  They've already had a number of companies reach out to them wanting to learn how to replicate what we're doing here at Gap Inc. It was a great reminder that we are blazing trails and we have the opportunity here to be not only the first, but the industry gold standard. 

Trisha and Sally viisit our office.

Trisha and Sally viisit our office.

Each day our team is amazed at the impact working in an Agile environment has had on our careers (and yes, we do mean our careers!) Imagine a world where:

  • You have an opportunity to directly add value to your customers every day. 

  • You can dive deep into projects, re-architect, and cut out waste vs fixing what already exists.

  • Decisions are made as a team vs independently or by others.

  • The level of trust and transparency keeps you and your team motivated and excited to come to work every day.

  • Day to day work is no longer centered around email - in fact, Outlook is frowned upon.

  • You choose what you are in the mood to work on each day.

  • You know what your team is working on. You know how close you are to finishing a project at all times, you can measure how fast you work, and you can identify the exact place projects get blocked. 

OUR WIN:

We're the first in the industry to combine HR and Agile and we're already being celebrated externally for trying this. 

OUR LEARNING:

People are reacting to our ideas. We're interpreting this as "we're on to something". 

Week 7 Update

 

What happens when you mix Human Resources with an Agile Workflow?

...a serious lesson in flexibility

 

HURDLE #1:  JIRA
As a HR team testing out the Agile waters for the first time, we were committed to working within a Scrum framework. We began our first sprint working in JIRA, a project management tool used by our GapTech teams for IT and software development. After completing our first sprint, we knew that we were spending more time navigating through JIRA than actually engaging in the work.  Robust, and full of functionality that was beyond the scope of our work, JIRA was bogging down our non-programming team. 

HURDLE #2:  We work with PEOPLE. 
People with meetings. People with vacation time. People with competing priorities. People who are not working in an agile flow. We knew immediately that our work needed to be more fluid as we would not be able to complete projects that had dependencies on people outside of our immediate team. 

We brought these two problems to our consultant, Doc, and agreed that it was time to switch to a Kanban workflow while maintaining our Scrum positions & ceremonies... a little thing the tech world likes to call:

SCRUMBAN

Difference between Scrum and Scrumban:

Difference between Kanban and Scrumban:

As we made the switch to Scrumban, we had a moment of kismet and stumbled across the project management tool Blossom. Made to bridge the gap between software development, design, and marketing teams (and anyone else involved in the project!).... Blossom was a quick and easy way to re-focus our project in a BIG way. 

Armed with a new tool & a new workflow, we were able to quickly get back to our high-priority work. 

 

A little irony to hold you over until our next post: 



Week 6 Update

During Week 6 we completed prep for Sprint #1 and … drumroll please....

BEGAN OUR FIRST SPRINT!

Completing preparation for Sprint #1 consisted of finishing any remaining Spikes (a story whose purpose is to provide the answer or solution) and Estimation (coming to an agreement on the amount of time it will take to complete the work), and final prioritization. 

Estimation

Estimation

Once we estimated, we made sure that we had enough work for one Sprint and made sure our stories were prioritized. 

 

"Grooming" the backlog or "decomposing".

"Grooming" the backlog or "decomposing".

Wednesday morning we began our Sprint. 

A screenshot of our backlog mid-sprint in Jira.

A screenshot of our backlog mid-sprint in Jira.

We were surprised by our velocity: by Wednesday afternoon, we’d done nearly everything we’d planned on doing in an entire week!

On Thursday we had an excellent meeting with the GID Hiring Managers for our first test.. We talked to them about the overall vision for IdealHire and then about testing Pre-Interview Assessments Coffee Chats for an open role they have a hard time filling. They gave us some great insight in to the challenge that they have with filling this particular role, and what the ideal hiring process would be for them. For some roles, a lengthy interview process is the most painful part of the hiring process. For these managers (and surely many other Hiring Managers in GapTech), the pain comes from the speed with which talent is off the market. The window to capture their attention is smaller and often by the time we call them for a screening, they’re off the market. We heard their feedback and wrote some good user stories following our meeting:

  • As a Hiring Manager, I want the ability to review applications for Hot Jobs as they come in so that I can immediately reach out to superstar candidates.
  • As a Hiring Manager, I want to the empowerment to make the hiring decision so that I can secure candidates before they’re off the market.
  • As a Hiring Manager, I want to be able to schedule my own interviews so that I can prioritize securing a candidate before they’re off the market.
  • As a Hiring Manager, I want to be able to offer the candidate the position as soon as I decide so that I secure my superstar before another company does.
  • As a Candidate, I want to be contacted within 48 hours of applying so that I know whether Gap Inc. is interested in hiring me.
  • As a Candidate, I want flexible options (video, nights, weekends) to meet with a Hiring Manager or Recruiter so that I’m able to move through the hiring process more quickly.

OUR LEARNING: 

Adding too many stories or tasks dependent on information from other people will stall us. Also, we spent so much time getting clear on definitions of success and acceptance criteria that once we were at a place where we could execute, we flew! We now know we can bite off more during our next Sprint. 

OUR WIN: 

Getting to Sprint #1! A fantastic first meeting with our first GID hiring managers. Launching our HR Agile site. 

Week 5 Update

During our 5th week together we spent some time learning how to work as a distributed team in a ROWE environment.  As a team, we believe that it is important to have the flexibility necessary to live a balanced life while delivering your best work/results.  Over the last month we have spent the majority of time together in our room. We knew it would be an adjustment and a challenge to not be together all the time, but we are committed to making it work well for all.

The first day we had our fair share of technology problems and we began to look for solutions.  In order to have the feel of all of us being together we needed to have a camera/vidyo room up and running pretty much all day. This allows for any team member who may have a question while working can ask it without  missing a beat. Meaning, they don't need to stop what they are doing and call or IM someone, they just un-mute and ask their question.

We found an extra laptop and put it at the end of our tables on top of a chair so we could look at it as though the team member was sitting there.  It worked well and so we began to see how we could get a bigger screen, better technology etc. After some conversation with Laura Crosby she asked if we would be up for testing some new technology solution for our future more collaborative work space - we said YES!  We are very excited to test the Steelcase collaboration solution out and will share more on that front as we learn.

Here are a couple pictures of us working remotely as a team (doing our morning stand-up)

By day 3, we had a good rhythm down and felt a sense of urgency to get our first sprint (time-boxed activities and work) prioritized, estimated and tasked out.  So we did just that! We re-prioritized our meetings and spent the afternoon landing our first sprint.  After some healthy debate as a team and getting our project setup in Jira (Thank you to Lang in IT for your help!) we feel ready to go!

In Agile it is important to complete planning and any spikes (research) that may need to be done before starting your sprint.  Also, you never start a sprint of work on a Friday or Monday (due to holidays etc.) so after some discussion with our consultant we landed on starting our first sprint on Wednesday, April 27th. We decided to try a 1 week sprint at first to see how much we can get done and how well we estimated.  Then we will start our regular 2 week sprint cycles of work. 

Sprint 1

  • Conversations with key stakeholders on the current background check process
  • Starting on the framework for coffee chats and potentially doing some mock-up coffee chats (using folks from our TSS & CF team) and video taping them as training for our GID hiring managers

  • Creating and testing some pre-coffee chat interview questions (job assessment questions) with a hiring manager in GID

Jira: Is the tool that IT uses for their Agile projects. They were kind enough to set us up with a project.  
All employees have access to Jira and you can follow our work in detail if you wish.  

Squarespace Coming Soon: We also made the decision to build out a Squarespace page in order to share our work out to the broader HR and Gap Inc. community in a different way. 

Our Team Learning: that we all need to keep asking questions about our work, sharing our thoughts and past or current experiences.  Every piece of information we learn is essential to how we define and understand the work as a collective team.  We all need to be super clear about what the work is that we are doing so that anyone can pick up a task and know exactly what they are supposed to be doing.  Don't presume, just ask!

Our Team Win: We didn't give up on technology, kept trying new things until we found a way that worked for all and we committed to keep tweaking, talking about what is working/and not.  We are prepared and excited for our first sprint of work too!

Week 4 Update

At the start of our week 4 we felt the pressure to get "started" on the work.  After some great conversations in week 3 with our Sponsors (Tanya & Sylvette), we realized our work needed to have a Big Idea, not just tweaks to the current hiring process.  We were seeking our north star, a big idea or in Agile what would be called the Product. 

Typical Agile IT projects are started because there is a required product to be built.  In our case, we were asked to come up with the product that cuts the hiring process time in half and have better quality candidates.

On Monday, we kicked off our week with a couple of brainstorm session to forward big ideas.  Once we had a few big ideas (see attachment ), we took just one idea (Kill the Interview) and did a focused brainstorm with specific questions in order to define:

1) what you like about the idea

2) what concerns/obstacles may exist

3) what could you do to remove the obstacles.

Tuesday morning while reviewing our work on "Kill the Interview" and trying to decide how to break down the idea into chunks of work that could fit in a few sprints (2 week cycles of work).  Our consultant (Doc) helped us look at our work in a slightly different way.  Instead of only doing work on the focused idea, what if we prioritized the work across the big ideas and did pieces from each idea?   This approach would get us traction on the different components that need to exist in order to have 1 Day Hiring. 

Prioritizing work across the big ideas led us to what we would call our first Release and pilot with GID;

  • Coffee Chats instead of interviews (Kill the Interview)
  • Job Assessments - need to exist if doing coffee chats instead of interviews so Hiring Manager has additional data points/assessments on the candidates
  • 1 day background screening - would need to exist if we want to do 1 day hiring

With our Big Idea of 1 Day Hiring formulated, we spent the rest of the week breaking down the above release (our first project) into user stories.   

An example of a user story for assessments would be: As a hiring manager I would like to use an assessment tool so that I can select the best candidate for my job.  

From this user story we would break down what some of the additional stories or tasks are.

Tasks - We need to research assessments, talk to the hiring manager to understand their assessment needs, make a decision on a tool, create a guide on how to use/read the assessment as a hiring manager. 

Once we have the stories for our release, Ashley as Product Owner will prioritize the work and the team will estimate how many stories we can complete in one sprint/cycle and this first release may take us multiple sprints to complete. 

Next up - planning our first sprint!

Our Learning: That the amount of planning and discipline in Agile has been super helpful to moving us along in the work.  Agile ensures that you are thinking about those involved in the process (our customers) and that you are delivering the most valuable products to them in each piece of work that you do. This takes time, effort and focus from all of on the team - we are slowing down to speed up later.  Lots of upfront planning.

Our Win: We felt great that we gave ourselves time to come up with some big ideas and we are excited about our Big Idea and can't wait to see it come to life!

Week 3 Update

We were rejoined by our consultant Doc this week, as we continued our Sprint Zero. 

(In Agile, there is a ton of preparation that goes into the team and discovery of the work before you actually start the work. This is called Sprint Zero, the sprint that happens before your first actual sprint.)

Definition: A sprint is a time boxed cycle of work, that is typically 2-4 weeks long.  We will be trying for 2 weeks sprint and will see how those go before adjusting.

The first part of the week was spent prioritizing our work for the week, finishing up some team charter work and stakeholder meetings and preparing for our Wednesday session with the team we're piloting with in GID.

As we prepared for the GID session we reviewed the hiring process value stream map done previously. It is now captured digitally -  The Hiring Process on Prezi

We talked a lot about what would success look like in the session: what activities would add the most value? Every time we jotted down an agenda item we analyzed it through these filters:

- Does this add value to our participants' experience?

Do we gain any critical information by doing this exercise? 

In the past, we have found that we create agendas with an ice breaker activity, a breakout exercise and then gather back up and have each team share out.  When we asked ourselves why we were doing these things, we realized we were doing them to be "nice" or "get to know folks".  The most important thing to accomplish with GID was to understand their current hiring process, pain points, insights and ideas.  If we left the room not knowing these things, we failed. 

One of our team members came up with a great idea to engage our participants: instead of asking them a boat load of questions about their process, why not let them illustrate the process themselves? We gave them index cards with all the steps to the process in no particular order (plus some extra blank cards) and had them piecetogether their process by moving the cards around.  Then they recorded the activity time of each step, the time between each step and any pain points or solutions they had.

Not only was everyone engaged the entire time, but we received the information we were looking for to help us with our next step of aligning on what the most valuable items are for us to work on first with our pilot group. Here are a few pics from our session: 

 

Another win for us this week - we dedicated time to brainstorming how to get to our vision (1/2 the time with the best candidate possible). It felt great to build a big exhaustive list of every idea we'd been holding in. We found it hard to choose just one idea; the options for improvement are limitless! We're continuing to refine our idea for our first sprint and could not be more excited to land what we're working on.

There is more work to do in Sprint Zero to be fully ready to go, but we are feeling anxious to get to our first sprint!

Our Win: We each have unique strengths that when leveraged we can get great work done AND come up with some truly winning ideas.  Building the content and executing on the GID session was a huge win for our team this week. Winning means learning - we learned a ton about each other, the content and our pilot group this week.

Our Learning: That people and interactions, are valued over process and tools.  Not that process doesn't need to exist, but that if the people are having the right interactions it will improve the process.  This is part of the Agile manifesto and we realized that this is great to keep in mind when we work as a Agile team AND when we work on the Hiring process.

Week 2 Update

During our 2nd week we were left to WORK and LEARN as a team without our consultant Doc for the first time.

  • We spent time getting clear on how we will work as a team - from the tools we need to use, to what we will call ourselves. 
  • We met with stakeholders from our brands that were a part of the previous Streamlined hiring project team.  It was great to talk to them about what they were leveraging from the original project and what their current recruiting pain points are. 
  • We also had the opportunity to attend the Sourcing Forum that took place on Thurs/Fri to hear about the work happening and network with folks in our sourcing community.
  • We also had a ton of work to do in order to get organized and ready for the next 2 weeks with Doc (our consultant).

Here are a few additional highlights from our week...

  • We researched the tools we wanted to use for our team's work and made the decision to use the following;
    • Box + Box Edit to keep all of our team and project documents
    • Trello – to have our current To do/sprint priorities as a team in one place (we all had a love affair with this tool – so amazing)
    • Sprint.ly or Tiny PM - to house our User stories, we will align on which tool this week
      • What we quickly realized was that selecting the right tools would enable us to work virtually anywhere as a team (in ROWE) which is very important to us.  We also had to quickly learn how to use the toolsso one of our filters for selecting tools was to look for software that is intuitive, pretty and simple toallow for seamless collaboration no matter where we were sitting.
  • We got organized! This meant getting files organized online and digitizing the documents that had been hanging on the 6th floor walls.
    • One example of this was to digitize the hiring value stream map and we did so using Prezzi – to be posted soon.  We will continue to leverage the value stream process work as we start to pilot new solutions in hopes to cut time out of the process.
  • We completed our Team Charter. This included making a decision on our team name, purpose, values, elevator pitch and our project name.
    • Team Name: HR Agile Team (external) and the name we gave ourselves…you’ll have to come by our office and see if you can figure out our secret team name
      • We felt it was important to remind folks we are a HR agile team and we also wanted to create an identity for just our team as well.
    • Project Name: Ideal Hire (we are currently working on a logo for this) – thanks for voting!
    • Team Purpose Statement: Through an Agile way of working we will deliver solutions that will organically impact our organization’s culture
    • Team Value Statement: We support and respect one another, putting our team first as we work in a fun and nimble way.
    • Elevator Pitch: We are using Agile methodology to develop a faster hiring process and deliver quality candidates to our pilot customer, GID.  As we achieve rapid results, we will organically impact our culture to focus on delivering value, quickly and effectively. 

Tell us what you think!

Our Win: We accomplished everything we set out to do this week and learned a lot about how we will work together.  Two of the best quotes I heard this week from our team were...

"I LOVE the work I am doing right now, this is so fun!"
"I didn't feel like I contributed as much yesterday",  response from fellow team member - "that is ok, because as a team we delivered a ton of work!"

Our Learning: While we had many learning's, we FAILED FAST this week!

During our first stand up of the week we had a couple folks remote and while we did commit to using Vidyo we felt the camera looking up at us from our laptops was a bit awkward and we decided as a team to sit down.  What happened...well we fell into the natural meeting feel and started talking/solving things we were working on. By the end of the meeting (40 minutes later vs. 15 minutes) we realized what had happened and committed to each other that no matter how awkward the camera or standing up felt, we had to stand up.  When you actually stand up it makes it obvious when someone talks for too long or when it becomes a conversation, a team member will inevitably call out this when it is happening.

  *Stand up meeting defined: Is a meeting that takes place daily (same time/same bat channel) and you review what you did yesterday, what you will be working on today and what is in your way of getting work done (if anything).

Week 1 Update

As a team we have committed to sharing out our work, learnings, wins along our journey.  
We will update Jive weekly as just one way for us to share and be transparent with our work.  We would love to hear from you (our community) on anything - feedback, ideas, thoughts, what you like about the work etc.

Week 1 - March 23rd

Our team’s first week together was amazing – a balance of hard work and fun together!  See a few of our pictures loaded to Jive to get an idea of the work and fun we had.

Here are a few headlines our team would share…

  • We got settled in our new team room – located on the 6th floor next door to Sylvette at the corner of Spear and Folsom (come by – we love visitors and always have snacks!)
  • We spent time with our key HR Stakeholders – Eric Severson, Dan Henkle, Paige DeLacey, Sylvette Sawyers, Julie Weinstein, Trish Collins, Heather Gille. 
    • Thank you Stakeholders for sharing your thoughts and ideas you have on the hiring process, we look forward to an open and continuous dialogue.
    • Curious about what we heard/learned?  Check out our notes from those meetings (uploaded to Jive; titled LT Meeting Notes)
  • We have organized all the great research and work done previously by the original Streamlined hiring team on our Box site. During our 2nd week wwill spend a lot of time reading and discussing this work.
  • Doc (our Agile consultant) trained our team on Agile methodology and we had lots of great discussions about how we are going to work and apply the agile methods and practices to our own team. 
  • We have our backlog (a list of stuff to get done!) prioritized for our 2nd week – see backlog image loaded to Jive
  • We got started on our team Charter.  The Charter includes coming up with a new project name, our team purpose, values and how we will work together and make decisions as a self-managing team. 

Community help needed: Please submit your ideas for a project name, right here on Jive OR come by our office and write it on our door. 

Our Weekly Learning: There are many great ideas and processes being tested, which everyone could benefit from trying out.  And there is a great deal of passion around the work.

Our Weekly Win: We were able to create a strong bond as a team in our first week together and we got work done too!