08 February 2009

Extreme Interviewing - An Agile Aptitude Test?

How do you hire for an Agile team?

Does an Agile aptitude test exist? Does traditional interviewing work when it comes to finding people suitable for an Agile team?

Scrum proponent Gunther Verheyen, a member of Scrum Practitioners on LinkedIn, pinged our group about an article on hiring people to an Agile team.

In Hiring Software Developers: The Agile Aptitude Test, Richard Sheridan and Lisamarie Babik of Menlo Innovations explain to CIO Magazine how "Extreme Interviewing" helps hiring managers select Agile team members who posses the requisite Social Intelligence to apply Agile principles.

The gist of Extreme Inteviewing is that candidates are gathered and paired off to solve a problem.

Here's a distillation from the article of the 3 most important characteristics of Extreme Inteviewing:

  1. The interviewers are not interested in the outcome of the problem solving;

  2. The interviewers are looking for good "kindergarten skills"; and

  3. The interviewers are seeking pair-partners who "make their partner look good"
#3 is intriguing because it gets to the heart of teamwork.

Take-Away Tips
  • If you're hiring to an Agile team, consider Social Intelligence as well as Technical Prowess.
  • If you're already part of an Agile team, think about ways in which you've made your teammates look good. A well-placed assist is as satisfying as an acrobatic slam dunk.
  • If you're part of a dysfunctional team, reviewing kindegarten skills might be revealing fodder for your next Retrospective.