Agile people development

Most companies have some sort of people development process often referred to as a CRD. In my past couple of jobs this process has existed in companies that have major aspirations as Agile organisations, but the process is anything but agile. So how can we expect people to develop an agile mindset when they are expected to work within an assessment framework that is anything but?

My biggest hate of the CDR process is the setting of goal for 12 months against projects and business strategy that can change at a drop of a hat. When I started my current role I had one team member who had to completed CDR objectives because everyone was aligned to a project or initiate that got cancelled. It took quite a bit of effort to get them to trust the process for the upcoming year and to convince HR that he was performing well!

Basics for a good CDR

  • Clear organisational strategy and priorities
  • Clear departmental strategy and priorities
  • Career view for the team member who is setting the objectives
  • Clear ownership of the objectives, they are the team members and not yours
  • Process and documentation that allows quick changes and easy tracking for both team member and line manager

The career strategy of the individual is important, get them thinking long term and strategic. One of my team has decided to treat themselves like a product as ultimately they wants to be a product manager. If this isn’t clear for an individual I suggest you work through it with them. When doing this don’t be afraid to look at roles that are outside of your department of even the organisation, people are valuable but good motivated people are priceless.

To make the objectives more agile I am tracking all for the year but encouraging people to change them. This will have a process of its own.

  • The objective can only be cancelled because the business doesn’t need it anymore. Responsibility for proof for this is with the objective owner.
  • New objectives will need to be prepared and validated with their line manager in the same way as the beginning of the year.
  • A completion % will be agreed for the objective cancelled. Part objectives are as valuable as whole ones.

SMART is still important and infact it is key to the approach I am using. have a great guide to SMART here. But don’t use this as a rule, using it as guidance. Sometimes the best objectives will be anything but the A in SMART, attainable. Feel free to shoot for the stars, you may just get the moon!

After all your hardwork review the objectives as if you are your own line manager. How do they align with your objectives? Do they support your objectives? And most important of all do they help your team to deliver against the organisation’s objectives and goals!

Why not go the full kanban and get a board running on one of the many tools available. I am using MS Planner but Trello is equally a great tool for this.

Give it a go and make sure you tell your learning and development team about it, they will love you!


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