People Management

People Management

People management goes by many names, including human resource (HR) management, talent management, staff management, and work force management to name a few.  The fundamental goal of the People Management process blade is to attract and retain great people who work on awesome teams.  This article addresses several topics:

Why People Management

There are several reasons why people management is important for your IT organization:

  1. People and the way they work together are your primary determinant of success. Software-based solutions are built by a team of people working together, and IT organizations are a collection of teams working together to support the rest of your enterprise. The implication is that you need to attract and retain the right people and build awesome teams comprised of these people.
  2. You want to support people’s career aspirations. To retain top talent your organization needs to help these people remain so by providing opportunities for fulfilling work, training and coaching in new skills and new ways of thinking, and in mentoring.
  3. Greater employment flexibility attracts a wider range of people.  To what extent will your organization support flexible working hours, flexible working locations (e.g. allowing people to work from home), flexible device options (e.g. BYOD), job sharing strategies, and many more strategies?  Greater flexibility increases the attractiveness of your organization at the cost of requiring more robust collaboration, management and governance strategies.  One employment strategy does not fit all.
  4. Many people-oriented activities fall outside the scope of what occurs on your work team(s). The hiring of people, people leaving the company, moving between teams, getting trained in skills not directly related to their current team efforts, and many more activities partially or fully land outside the scope of an IT delivery team. Yes, a team should be actively involved in the decisions surrounding who is on the team but that doesn’t imply that they do all of the work surrounding the hiring process.
  5. Legal requirements.  Every organization must conform to the laws of the territories in which they operate, and there are always laws around how organizations can treat the people that work for them.  These laws vary by country, and sometimes even by territories within countries, and evolve constantly.  The laws pertaining to how you hire, reward, and fire someone in San Francisco are different than the laws for someone in Toronto which are different again than the laws for someone in Moscow.
  6. Organizational sustainment.  Your organization has long-term staffing needs, including succession and capacity planning. Succession planning focuses on identifying and supporting the people who are being groomed to fill key positions in the future. Capacity planning focuses on ensuring you will have enough people with the right skills in the right places at the right times to get the work done in the future.
  7. You need to manage your staffing mix.   There are several employment options available to people: They may be full-time employees (FTEs) of your organization, they may be independent contractors working for a defined period of time with your organization, employees of external service providers who are assigned to work on your teams, or they may be consultants working with your organization on more of as-needed, ad-hoc basis.  Each of these employment options have advantages and disadvantages and your organization needs to actively manage their overall staffing portfolio to ensure that they are meeting their long-term needs.  This is an aspect of capacity planning.

The Process

The following process goal diagram overviews the potential activities associated with disciplined agile people management. These activities are performed by, or at least supported by, your people management (often called a human resource) team.

Disciplined Agile People Management

The process factors that you need to consider for people management are:

  1. Manage staff.  Your organization needs to perform basic functions such as hiring (onboarding) staff, letting people go (offboarding), promoting, demoting, transferring them and providing benefits to people.
  2. Organize IT.  What is your strategy for organizing your IT department?  Do you do it by job function (e.g. have a business analyst group, a project management group, and so on), by geography (e.g. a North American IT department, a European IT department, and so on), by business division (e.g. an IT group to support Retail banking, an IT group to support brokerage, and so on), or by value creation (e.g. an IT group to support a specific product line).  Or combinations thereof?
  3. Guide careers.  Your organization should support the career aspirations of its staff, providing opportunities to people and supporting their efforts to achieve their goals.
  4. Staff IT.  You need to identify, and plan for, your organization’s staffing needs.  This includes succession planning for senior IT people, critical technical positions (yes, that includes all those legacy COBOL programmer positions), and other critical roles such as product owners.  This also includes staff capacity planning/forecasting as well as determining your mix of full time employees (FTEs) and contractors.
  5. Reward staff.  There are many ways that people and teams can be rewarded, including base pay, bonuses, and non-monetary rewards.  For some people in some organizations their pay is publicly known (for example, in Canada public employees who make over a certain amount have their salaries published annually) whereas for most people their remuneration strategy is private.
  6. Form teams.  There are different types of teams that can be formed to address IT functions, each of which are (self) organized differently.
  7. Evolve teams.  Team membership and structure evolve over time, and there are several common strategies that enable this.  Some teams are ad-hoc, forming when their needed and disbanding when they’re not, with little or no management intervention.  Sometimes people are assigned to teams and sometimes people volunteer to be on a team.  Some organizations are holacracies where teams are self-organizing and have defined strategies for enabling collaboration and communication between teams.
  8. Govern people management.  Your people management activities, just like all other activities, should be governed effectively.  An important aspect of people management governance is the definition of roles and responsibilities (see Roles on DAD Teams and DA Roles at Scale for suggestions), as is the usual measurement and monitoring activities.  Governance of IT HR is an aspect of your overall IT governance strategy.

External Workflow With Other IT Teams

This section is a work in progress.