Amazingly Agile

Posted by Doc List
May 07 2015

I’ve been privileged (yes, seriously) to work with a group in the HR department at Gap Inc.

Yes, the HR department. Not software development/IT/technology, HR.

And it has been amazing. They built a team.

Going back to last year when this started, they had me come in to do Agile basic training. It was a three day class, and at the end of day one they said “While this might be very relevant for people in IT, it’s just not resonating with us. Could you do it differently?” At which point I threw away the Powerpoint I’d been using, found out from them what topics they were interested in/concerned about, and made it up as I went along.

They loved it!

The following week was aimed at doing some coaching, working with their pilot team. When they introduced me to that pilot team, there were Directors, Senior Directors, a Vice President, and a couple of Senior Managers. Lovely people who know a lot about the subject and care about it.

But they were the wrong people. They had too many responsibilities, too many demands on their time and attention, and would have been hard pressed to get things done. I told the Executive Sponsor this.

And so they built a team. They agreed to identify people who could be dedicated to the project. In some cases they searched the rest of the organization to find the best people to fill out this team of five. One of the members of the team has never been in HR. This process took months. I patiently-but-eagerly awaited the results, and finally got to meet the team in the last week of March.

This is a remarkable team. Their tenure at Gap ranges from 25 years to one year. Most of them have been in HR for a significant period of time. All of them are smart, personable, committed, and eager to learn. Oh – and they’re all women.

I’ve been working with the team, on and off, since the end of March. I’ve spent one week, two weeks, one week. We have a team room. We’ve done much of the usual kickoff/inception stuff. This team has struggled and learned and demanded more and more from me to satisfy their desire to learn. We’ve explored Scrum vs. Kanban vs. Scrumban (and – at least for the moment – settled on the latter).

They’ve tried cards+stickies and a few different electronic systems for managing the backlog and workflow. It’s been a whirlwind and an adventure.

Here’s one of the things that excites me the most: they’re making everything they do public!

Take a look at their site. I’m so impressed with what they’ve done, both as an agile team and in publishing the experience and their work.

It’s f’ing awesome! I’m so proud.

Trackback URL for this entry

%d bloggers like this: