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Introduction   »   Overview   »   Your People


Your people are the engine that drives your project forward. Unsurprisingly, this is a very big topic.

However, we subdivide these into two very simple sets of people: people on your project and people not on your project.

People on your project should be fully bought into the process and the ethos of The Big Agile Toolkit. If they are not, you will convert them. If you cannot convert them, then you will change them. In this instance you will change them, into people that are not on your project i.e. move them or get them moved off.

With respect to the people skills, a good agile project manager will prepare and issue appropriate job vacancy descriptions, attract suitable applicants, perform skilled interviews, hire skilled people, induct them and provide suitable on-boarding, regularly fire their interest and motivate them, assess their performance across the project but importantly weed out any poor, and retain all good, performers.

If you can retain the able people for your next project then it will be beneficial to you and to your project if you can try to minimize the gap before the next project starts.


Some agile methods recommend an appropriate convalescent rest break between agile projects to recuperate after the rapid pace of activity on the project. This guidance does not line up with our experience. We find that building a team to operate at high efficiency will demand you maintain the team at that high efficiency. You have spent great time and effort to build a team that has shared vision, developed leadership skills and shared their responsibilities as well as maintaining customer focus, welcoming change and feedback.

You have built and developed a thoroughbred racing team that demonstrated it can deliver guaranteed wins with high-performance. Why on Earth would you wish your team to drop this performance? It is wise to allow team members to attend and enjoy the project delivery celebration and to go back to their project teams, for no more than a couple of days. This allows you and your method some significant positive feedback across the other teams. This is an appropriate convalescent break but beyond that there is a risk they will go to grass.

You will get those good team members back on the next project, hit the ground and run. This of course means you have already made a request to their line management near the end of the previous project and done enough forward planning to warrant their involvement in the next project. It also means there is another agile project waiting in the wings which is always a neat trick if you can pull it off with style and precision.

When we hear that a specific agile project or method recommends a convalescent rest break between agile projects it makes us think the method or the project is failing. If it is apparent that a team of people are in dire need of physical rest at the end of a project, this would indicate that the project was at fault. We would look to see was the project disorganized, out of control, poorly managed or lacking appropriate agile management. When we are asked to examine failing projects we also look to see was the project lacking finance or people, lacking executive support. One source of adverse influence is a project, or the project manager, allowing old waterfall behaviours that introduce or promote blame. Very rarely is the cause because the pace of activity is inappropriate or too fast for humans. It is oftentimes directly caused by a governance failure or an organisational issue.

Managing people is a topic of significant volume and we address the behaviours necessary to deliver your projects in the Toolkit. Success in delivering your project will invariably call for some command and proficiency in motivational and guidance competences. One of the key expertise essentials is the ability to convey confidence and you will be called upon, as a project manager, to demonstrate and communicate your confidence that the project and its associated benefits will be delivered within assigned measurements.

Thankfully, you will see throughout the Toolkit we regularly demonstrate this and provide a set of techniques that instil and bolster the confidence of all the project team members and your stakeholders. Your sharpness and ability to seek out and destroy issues before they become damaging is an important implement to deploy. Another of these capabilities is risk management.

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