There’s a push in the agile community to recognize women and see if we can’t get more women on agile teams. Whatever you think about the program, the goal is a laudable one. Hiring women creates a diversity that is difficult to match with an all-male team. Women tend to bring more collaborative skills and more empathy skills to a team. (That’s a gross generalization. I realize that.) Rick Scott in his, Response: Diversity in Agile twitter convo said something profound:
Diversity’s Not My Problem
Screw that, it’s everybody’s problem.
He’s correct. That’s why I have several drafts lined up to discuss diversity.
The problem with hiring women is that if only about 20% of new college grads in computer science are women, are there enough women to work on our teams? Do we need to find women somewhere else? Is that what we want to do? I don’t know. (I am getting involved in a program to talk with middle- and high-school girls, so they can see that technology is a field to consider.)
Women are not the only disempowered group. Look around your workplace. How many people are white men? How many are not?
I want to hire people who are capable of doing the job. I don’t want to hire people to fill a perceived type of vacancy, an unfilled diversity bucket. But we need to do a better job of finding people who don’t look just like us to work on our teams. I don’t have all the answers. But I do know this: if you are a hiring manager, look inside yourself. Do you discriminate against people based on their gender or school affiliation or first or last name? If so, please reconsider.
P.S. In case I wasn’t clear, I never advocate hiring anyone who is not capable of doing the job, just to fill a diversity bucket.