Reviewing Resumes for an Agile Team: Start with Lifecycles

I spoke with a recruiter yesterday about how to hire people for an agile team. Her client had suggested she look for people with XP experience, and that candidates have “stand-up meetings” on their resume. Oh no. Looking for agile people is much more than keywords.If you’re recruiting for an agile team member, first, decide what’s most important to you. Do you care about the lifecycle or the practices? Which ones? Or, do you care more about the cultural fit of the person into the team and the ability to work with a team? There’s no right or wrong answer, but it’s worth knowing.Here are some lifecycles you may encounter:

  • Scrum: 4-week iterations. See Ken Schwaber’s site.
  • XP (eXtreme Programming): 1- (or 2-)week iterations. See Ron Jeffries’ site.
  • FDD (Feature Driven Development): iterations can be as long as 6 weeks (I’ve never been a part of an FDD project, so I may be wrong on this). See Feature Driven Development.
  • Crystal: Alistair Cockburn has a whole variety of lifecycle adaptations based on Crystal. Although it’s implementation by feature, I don’t believe there is a particular length timebox for an iteration.
  • DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method: See DSDM Lifecycle (free registration required). DSDM does have implementation by feature, but it’s not clear to me the timeboxes are of fixed length.

I’m most familiar with and comfortable with Scrum and XP (I’m a Certifed Scrum Master). If I’ve made any mistakes in this list, please let me know.So, when reviewing a resume for an agile, look for the lifecycle names in this list. If you don’t see any, don’t give up hope. Look for an iterative lifecycle, such as RUP, UP, Evo, or an incremental lifecycle such as staged delivery or design to schedule.Reviewing resumes is important. But don’t throw people out because they don’t have exactly the keyword you’re looking for. You’ll throw out a lot of qualified people that way. See Tips for Reviewing Resumes for more info. My next blog posting will be about agile practices that you might see on a resume.

P.S. Thank you to Jason Yip who updated my iteration time for XP.

2 Replies to “Reviewing Resumes for an Agile Team: Start with Lifecycles”

  1. The “official” iteration length for XP is now 1 week according to Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change 2nd edition. Kent calls it Weekly Cycle and explicitly suggests it as preferred over a 2-3 week iteration cycle.

  2. I’m rather disturbed by the notion that people hiring for agile teams should restrict themselves to candidates with experience on agile teams (of whatever colour).
    Agile development in such a purist sense is still a minority sport. There are many experienced people “out there” who would fit well in any such team, even if they can’t score highly on buzzword bingo.
    Remember that most of the concepts of agile development are not new, and didn’t develop in a vacuum. The people who could be excluded may very well have highly agile skill-sets under another name.

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