• Chris Stanzione

Deconstructing the Manifesto For Agile HR Development



The Manifesto for Agile HR Development says…

"We are uncovering better ways of developing an engaging workplace culture by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

  • Collaborative networks over hierarchical structures

  • Transparency over secrecy

  • Adaptability over prescriptiveness

  • Inspiration and engagement over management and retention

  • Intrinsic motivation over extrinsic rewards

  • Ambition over obligation

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more"

When I started looking into getting to know and understand Agile, I decided to begin with the Agile Manifesto. This document was originally written in February of 2001 in the Wasatch mountains of Utah by seventeen people who decided to try to find common ground in the cumbersome waters of software development frameworks. What emerged was a new way of thinking in that the customer co-developed the end product through a series of continuous customer-centric interactions and activities. Sixteen years later, the Agile HR Manifesto was born. This version of the original document was penned by 27 individuals using the original Agile Manifesto as its framework.


As a veteran in the HR and Talent Acquisition space, I was eager to learn how to apply these Agile principles to my own career and overlay the findings into a method I can use to help my teams and organizations achieve enterprise agility. In order to do so, I thought I would benign by doing a deep-dive into the deconstruction of the Manifesto itself.


Let’s begin with Part One...


The original version of the Agile Manifesto reads, “We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:”


The HR version reads, “We are uncovering better ways of developing an engaging workplace culture by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:”


On the surface, the only difference is that in HR we are developing an engaging workplace culture as opposed to software. No small feat at all, right? Here is where I tell you that I am not a software engineer and I will make some assumptions that if I were a software engineer I may argue against differently. But to that point, I am an HR person and I study how people behave. Organizational psychology has always fascinated me because I see how people interface with situations, stress, success, and one another change over time and due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control. I would take a guess that software development styles may change, but the basics of writing code still involve objective, binary inputs with predictable outcomes. In HR, we have nothing close to predictable outcomes; instead we have fluidity.


So what does an engaging workplace culture look like?


According to the HCI Article, Six Elements of an Engaging Workplace Culture, involves connecting “...with what’s most meaningful to employees, becoming an irresistible place to work and achieve financial success”. The global employee recognition and engagement firm OC Tanner surveyed over 10,000 employees around the globe and developed a workable culture model built on six key Talent Magnets: Purpose, Opportunity, Success, Appreciation, Wellbeing, and Leadership.


The Agile HR Manifesto states that we are “uncovering better ways of developing an engaging workplace culture by doing it and helping others do it. If we believe in OC Tanner’s Talent Magnets (and why wouldn’t we?), then the goal is to create a function that is continuously uncovering better ways to achieve this goal. The punchline here is that “uncovering” is a present tense verb that has no true ending. We, as Agile HR professionals, will always be uncovering something new because we are working within a dynamic environment that changes. Because, well...People.


The key takeaway I have from the opening statement of the Agile HR Manifesto is that Agile HR is a forever journey and the “uncovering of better ways” is a way of life. Read the full version of the Manfiesto for Agile HR Development here.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of Deconstructing the Manifesto for Agile HR Development: Collaborative networks over hierarchical structures.


Chris Stanzione is an Agile Coach, Forbes HR Councilmember, Principal Consultant at 360 AgileHR, and most recently the Head of Global Talent Acquisition for the Management Consulting firm, North Highland Consulting. Read Chris’ executive Bio here.

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