The Scrum methodology of agile software development marks a dramatic departure from waterfall management. In fact, Scrum and other agile processes were inspired by its shortcomings. The Scrum methodology emphasizes communication and collaboration, functioning software, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities — all attributes that suffer in the rigidly ordered waterfall paradigm.
Hopefully the title of this blog post got your attention. Culture seems to be at the core of what is important these days. Many authors like Dan Pink, Steve Denning and Jurgen Appelo are making strong cases for the import of recruiting and retention programs as a means of building ground-up innovative companies. Many of the arguments from these thought leaders have been built on shoulders of the top management thinkers of yesteryear. Folks like Tom DeMarco who claimed that workers were different than say machines because of humans’ non-fungible characteristics. If you haven’t read Slack yet, please do go out and buy it. It’s well worth the money and time and would make a perfect stocking stuffer.
When you do recruiting for your team, what are the criteria’s you choose your candidates by? How highly ranked is culture versus say competence? See what Brad Feld of WSJ has to say here. Do you agree?
While I was the President and Co-Founder of Danube, I did a lot of the recruiting. But, really, I only looked at three things. Here they are in order of priority:
- Culture Fit. Our office in Portland was tough. There were a lot of very strong women working in a collaborative sales environment. This was very intimidating to many of the salesmen I interviewed who were used to individual quotas and goals [incentive structures are a topic for another blog post I am sure].
- Type-A personality or a Willingness to make decisions. Was the person a slacker or a go getter? Really – I have nothing against slackers but I can’t work with them in the business world. I am simply not interested. Moreover, I hate it when employees don’t feel empowered to make decisions – big or small. As I always told employees, I may be temporarily angry with you for a decision you’ve made that I didn’t agree with, but I’ll terminate your employment contract for not making a decision when a decision was called for. I can’t be everywhere always – so the groups I manage need to think for themselves given the nature of the information in front of them and act.
- Intellectually curious. I want people who have a thirst and desire to learn new things every moment of every day. If you’re not having rigorous debates and learning through exploration –you wouldn’t have been a fit at Danube.
You will see that I simply didn’t evaluate based on keyword experiences. Sure – it matters, but ultimately you can learn just about anything (Salesforce, QuickBooks, Ruby, Scrum, etc). So – to me, culture is way more important than competence. Do you agree or do you think that culture isn’t material when building a business? I would love to hear from the readership in the comments section below.
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