In a webinar last week with @PNSQC where I was that moderator, we discussed many topics as inspiration for abstracts for the upcoming conference. One topic brought up by @grandpacopland (aka Lee Copland) was Being Agile. Indeed, implementing agile is more about being agile than doing agile. If you just have daily meetings and doing properly define ‘done’ or ‘working’ software, you might as well go home. I’ve presented at conferences before on recruiting the ‘best’ for your team, and one of the key topics is personality. Of course this runs head on into what kind of people do you need for an agile team. You can’t just look at resumes, skills and experience. What kinds of qualities to you look for? How can you tell if a prospect will be ‘collaborative’? For agile, it sounds stupid or perhaps a ‘i know that’ but communication skills are paramount. The question is how do you know if someone has communication skills? One of the primary criteria we look for is listening skills and in particular body language.

Listening Skills - Body Language

Listening Skills – Body Language During Interview

During the interview, we watch carefully to see if they are making eye contact, or if they interrupt the interviewer before the questions is finished being asked. Very simple things, but they make a difference when you are holding a stand up meeting, and a team member is not paying attention to what the other team members say. People just don’t show up differently in different situations. Most of the time, it is consistent. If they are easily distracted or don’t listen well, it is usually not a peculiar situation but rather, most of the time.

So in the process of converting to agile, think about Being Agile rather than what processes you need. What kinds of team members do you need to Be Agile? Although the processes are important, if you are just going through the motions, you’re wasting your time.