2023 Agile Skills Survey – Another Reaction

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2023 Agile Skills Survey – Another Reaction

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The Scrum Alliance and the Business Agility Institute partnered on a client survey focused on—Skills in the New World of Work released in October 2023. You can get a copy of the report here

As a follow-up to the last article I shared on this topic, I thought I’d share something that Jesse Fewell wrote reacting to it.

His reaction was posted on the Scrum Alliance blog, supporting the report.

In it, Jesse highlights three fundamental pivots that agilists should be considering based on the report’s findings. I’ll share my thoughts on each pivot next.

This recommendation aligns with the number one human skill recommendation from the report—communication skills.

Tooting our own value horn is something that nearly all agile practitioners are uncomfortable with and under-skilled at. But it’s an essential skill in a qualitative and perception-based world.

An essential part is meeting your managers and leaders…where they are…and in their language and not ours.

And, please, please, please don’t fall into the quantitative-only communication trap. While data is an essential tool in your value conversations, I’ve found that the qualitative, perception-based side is much more critical.

So, become adept at two-sided broadcasting of your impacts.

While I agree that moving from T-Shaped to Pi-Shaped skills is a value add for all of us, I don’t think the emphasis is right.

For example, I can focus on becoming Pi-Shaped by taking as many certification courses as possible and accumulating letters after my name. You all probably know of at least one person on LinkedIn that falls into this category and trap.

It’s not just educational-based skills. It’s experiential and practice-based skills that matter. I’m alluding to your being a superficial Pi or a deeply practiced and experienced Pi. From my perspective, the latter will increase your value.

That being said, the pivot takes time, hard work, and perseverance. Attributed that many want to short-circuit.

This is another beautiful recommendation from Jesse. One that many practitioners have missed in their agile journeys.

Many years ago, I hired technology managers for my team. One of the paths that I thought made for fantastic managers/leaders was spending time as a Scrum Master and sharpening and honing your leadership skills there before moving into a direct leadership role.

I can see the same skill remapping being possible in crisscrossing many of today’s organizational roles. So, don’t get trapped into the—I am only a Scrum Master, Product Owner, Or Coach role constraint thinking.

To be clear, I love Jesse’s interpretation and thinking around the article and a few inspired actions to consider.

This is how he wraps things up—

Bottom Line

The agile job market has shifted dramatically in the last year. While conventional agile roles are under attack, agile skills are in higher demand than ever. These three pivots can help you avoid the next layoff or capture your next career victory.

The only thing I want to add is that these pivots will probably not impact you in the near or short term.

Why that disclaimer? Because Jesse titled the article—Avoid Agile Layoffs. These pivots will not help you to avoid a layoff in the next 3-6-9 months or more. They’re more strategic and fundamental. And they require time to develop those broader and deeper skills.

But NOW is the time to begin these shifts to build your longer-term resiliency and flexibility.

Remember that YOU are a brand, and your only security to weather the turbulence that all of us will encounter throughout our careers is OURSELVES.

Stay agile my friends,

Bob.

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