Just thinkin’

Johanna has been blogging about finding candidates who have experience with agile methods.

So I’ve been thinking about the “typical” resume sifting process and how that might work/not work when you’re looking for candidates who have worked on an agile team.

Typical resumes focus on specific technical skills, languages, tools or on functional experience. These are important, but might not be most interesting to me in looking for candidates if I’m using Agile development methods. Also, typical resumes rely on keywords. Keywords make for efficient searching, but not necessarily effective hiring when you are looking to integrate people into existing team or start adapting and adopting agile methods.

What I suggested to Johanna was to focus on agile principles rather than looking for specific “agile” keywords…which got me thinking: So why not write a resume around the principles behind the Agile Manifesto?

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer
through early and continuous delivery
of valuable software.

Welcome changing requirements, even late in
development. Agile processes harness change for
the customer’s competitive advantage.

Deliver working software frequently, from a
couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a
preference to the shorter timescale.

Business people and developers must work
together daily throughout the project.

Build projects around motivated individuals.
Give them the environment and support they need,
and trust them to get the job done.

The most efficient and effective method of
conveying information to and within a development
team is face-to-face conversation.

Working software is the primary measure of progress.

Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

Continuous attention to technical excellence
and good design enhances agility.

Simplicity–he art of maximizing the amount
of work not done–is essential.

The best architectures, requirements, and designs
emerge from self-organizing teams.

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how
to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts
its behavior accordingly.

For each of the principles, the candidate describes what he or she’s done–what practices and behaviors show that he/she understands and can apply the principles to developing software.

Even when you (as a person hiring) don’t have resumes that focuses on principles of agile software development, ask questions that get a candidate talking about how they’ve applied the agile principles, rather than focusing on languages or specific practices.

Here are some of the question areas I suggested in my comment on Johanna’s hiring blog:

Can she describe how her team adapted to changing requirements and delivered business value?

Can he describe how he and the team inspected and adapted both the product and their methods?

Can she give examples of how the team self-organized and worked collaboratively?

Can he describe how the customer worked with the team?

Just thinkin’