NOTE: This article will soon be updated to reflect the evolution of EUP to be based on the
Disciplined Agile (DA) tool kit. Please stay tuned.
The Enterprise Unified ProcessTM
(EUP)'s People Management discipline extends iterative/agile processes such as
Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD),
Extreme Programming (XP), or Scrum, defining how to manage and
improve the effectiveness of individuals within your information technology (IT)
organization -- it basically defined a human resources (HR) approach for IT. Today organizations are competing for survival on two different
fronts: one for their products or services and the other for talented people to
perform them. There is far more to managing software development efforts than
the technical tasks of creating and evolving project plans and schedules. You
need to manage your staff, help them to grow, and mediate their interactions
with others. This discipline describes the process of organizing, monitoring,
educating, coaching, and motivating people to ensure that they work together
well and successfully contribute to projects within your organization.
People management is one aspect of enterprise discipline, a critical
scaling factors for ensuring that
agile approaches scale to meet the needs of your full IT organization.
Table of Contents
- Plan staffing
- Manage staff
- Guide careers
- Plan succession
People management is critical to the success of all aspects of your
enterprise. Our focus is on the issues pertaining to your IT staff. Our
experience is that you need HR strategies that reflect the unique nature of the
IT community. We recommend that the HR and IT teams work closely together on
implementing concepts presented in the People Management discipline, the
high-level workflow for which is shown in Figure 1 and the detailed
workflow in Figure 2. Furthermore,
an important message of this discipline is that in order for it to succeed your
organization must be as agile as possible: it is possible for
enterprise-level professionals to work in an agile manner, but they must
choose to do so and be allowed to do so.
Figure 1. The People Management
Figure 2. The amalgamated workflow of the
People Management discipline.
It is important to assess the needs of the business from an enterprise
standpoint when planning the staffing for your IT department. During the
planning process, remember that staffing comes down to three points: Get the
right people, make them happy so they do not want to leave, and turn them loose.
While not directly involved in the staffing of individual projects within the
portfolio, the portfolio manager can help recommend aligning required resources
across the various programs and projects in order to help maximize returns for
You need to recognize that IT people are different from many of your other
staff, they tend to be highly specialized (although the best ones are actually
something that is becoming more and more common in the agile community although
the traditional community still struggles with this) and relatively mobile (they can easily leave your
organization for better opportunities). Because many IT professionals are
focused on technical work and aren't interested in becoming managers, you need a
technical career track in addition to a management career track. The result is
that you may have senior developers who have been with you for a few years; they
may have benefits equivalent to a senior vice president who has been with you
Your HR department must assist in managing the staff
much like any other department within your organization. Some IT organizations
try to form self-contained units, where they basically ignore any formal HR
input. This is not a good idea; remember that the HR specialists bring many
areas of expertise into the process, including HR legal risks, skills tracking
(and assessment), and other trends, such as the use of contractors or
consultants, that can help reduce IT uncertainty. However, many HR departments
struggle with dealing with IT staff so you need to be prepared to work with
them. Figure 3 depicts the fundamental activities
required to manage your IT staff.
Figure 3. Manage Staff workflow details.
The staff can include a mix of both contractors and full-time employees. Why
do organizations need to utilize contractors? There are several possible
reasons. The most obvious is staff augmentation: sometimes you simply cannot
hire people fast enough to fulfill your needs. Contractors become a short-term
solution to staffing problems. You may also not have a consistent enough need to
justify hiring full-time people. If you only have an occasional need for people,
hiring contractors may be more economical for you. Using external contractors
and consultants to smooth the fluctuations in staffing needs is one way that
organizations deal with this issue. Another reason is to acquire a
particular skill set. One of the best ways to get the most for your money from a
contractor is to assign him or her to transfer skills to employees by means of
mentoring. By doing this, you can grow the skills of the full-time employee,
which helps them, and the organization, grow professionally.
The goal of this activity is to have both the IT and HR
departments working together to ensure people on the various teams are being
guided along their careers. Although everyone should realize that their own
professional career is in their own hands, it is up to the organization to
foster growth in their employees. There are several ways you can do this:
Hands-on experience. The staff member
learns by doing, which is often the best way to learn a new skill, and
producing work at the same time.
Training. This focuses on teaching
people specific, narrowly focused skills that are often immediately
applicable to their current position. Examples of training courses include
courses focusing on a particular vendor's implementation of an Enterprise
Java Bean (EJB) application server, on Microsoft Windows user interface
design, and on working with the new version of a particular vendor's Java
integrated development environment (IDE).
Education. This imparts longer-term skills
and knowledge that are typically applicable over someone's entire career.
Examples include attending conferences, talking with or working with
experts, using new tools and techniques, and applying concepts in real life.
Mentoring. This is the process of
having an experienced professional impart his or her expertise to others
following a hands-on basis. Mentoring is typically used to support both your
training and education efforts: effective mentors must understand the
fundamentals of their jobs as well as the skills needed to perform their
jobs on a day-to-day basis and be able to transfer those skills to the
people that they are mentoring.
When people gain new skills, they also need to be rewarded to reflect their
greater value to the organization. This does not always need to be monetary.
Make books, magazines, and online subscriptions to various reports available.
The worst thing you can do is cut your training/conference budget because this
part of the budget is important for the long-term viability of your
organization; however, this is often the first thing that gets cut when times
Succession planning is a serious challenge for most of today's organizations.
The goal of succession planning is to make sure that your organization is ready
for future generations of your IT staff to take over when your current staff is
no longer with your organization. This includes both management and key
Your organization needs to do this for key technical and management people.
It is probably more important for the technical folks, but this is often
ignored. If you are in a position of maintaining and developing COBOL systems on
mainframes, and many organizations are, you must recognize that many of the
people with these skills are retiring within the next decade. This is good
because it gets the traditional thinkers out of the picture; however, you'll
lose valuable domain and technical experience. You need to either transition
away from those technologies or start transitioning new staff into the
appropriate positions. In doing this for either the technical or management
positions, one of the key areas that successful organizations focus on during
succession planning is the need to keep it flexible.