Posts Tagged “hiring”

There is one essential interview question I ask any agile PM or ScrumMaster:

What is your process?

Typically, I then elaborate:

With the average size team, the average size project, and everything else being equal, how would you plan, track and execute the team’s activity? How would you report progress and issues both inward and outward? What activities would you encourage, mandate or ban?

This question begins the one discussion I have learned to have with any candidate who will be responsible for leading projects or teams. The answer can be agile-minded, scrum-heavy, lean-wise or even waterfallish. Typically it will be colored by the candidate’s latest experience. But, as the discussion continues, we will fold in earlier experience, hypothetical situations, and the experience of others. I listen for the candidate’s gut-level approach to planning, execution and tracking. I inquire about the candidate’s management toolbox — the practices adopted and techniques fashioned to get projects done and keep teams whole. I listen for toolsmithing — what will the candidate adjust or invent to keep the whole project healthy, balanced and on track? I look for the signs of management craftsmanship.

Yes, every organization has a process or set of processes that must be followed. And, yes, I want to know that the candidate can adapt to the approaches of others. But what I find in surprisingly short supply are team leads and project managers who — left to their own devices — introduce and tailor healthy process to fit in the place of chaos and broken process.

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I’ve been looking at a lot of resumes lately. I like to look at every resume that comes through — briefly — because I don’t really trust resume screens (automated or human). However, there is one resume screen that I have started using that I now wish I could automate. It goes like this:

  1. Open the resume
  2. Search for agile, scrum, and extreme programming
  3. If these terms show up in the skills section AND NOT in any other part of the resume — such as work experience, training or education — delete the resume

To be clear, if none of those terms appeared anywhere in the resume I will continue to look at it.

It is a unfortunate milestone for the agile community that agile can now go alongside CMM and OO as part of the requisite resume boilerplate.

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After a year of great work our latest maintenance guy headed back to Iowa to be closer to his daughters and grandchild. So, last Tuesday evening, my wife posted an ad on craigslist for a new maintenance guy to handle the issues that inevitably crop up with our rental properties. We offered $20 an hour and the maintenance guy has to have his own vehicle, his own tools, and general plumbing and electrical experience. We offered only part time work — five to 40 hours a month depending upon demand.

My wife published the ad at 9:50 pm Tuesday evening. Read the rest of this entry »

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