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Based on different experiences around the world there is a huge concern about the lack of soft skills in Agile teams. Indeed, soft skills are very important in each career because for instance you want to sell cars (or another thing) you need to get along with your customers (and colleagues as well) in order to have a good communication. I have just finished my consultancy in a client where I realised about the lack of empathy and soft skills between areas (and inside the areas, indeed). After talking with a manager that agree with me about the big issue that represents to deal with people who haven’t got soft skills I felt astonished about the idea that most managers thought that hiring people with soft skills is almost a miracle.
What are the reasons about that?
One of the most important reasons for me is the individual approach to get your performance bonus in many companies. If you want to adopt Agile you need to change the mindset of the company fostering team rewards instead of giving individual awards. In Agile the area of Human Resources play an important role to redefine the awards and most important the approach to motivate people. In fact, most of the time Human Resources are more concerned about hiring the best technical guys (i.e. developers) and assuming that soft skills are not mandatory because you know that most of them are “nerds”.
Great book about motivation
Other common mistake is to think that you will be able to motivate people only with money. If people earn a good salary that allow them to cover all their needs you have to use intrinsic motivators.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us written by Daniel Pink tells about the most important intrinsic motivators: Autonomy (let the opportunity to your employees to demonstrate why they were hired as intelligent people), Mastery (create the environment where people can excel their skills) and Purpose (the company has to provide a common goal in order to everybody should pursue a focus).
To conclude, Agile is focused on Individuals because of that soft skills are very important. If you want to discuss in detail reach me at metlucero [at] gmail [dot] com or Skype (metlucero).